A couple weeks ago two young, fit looking, American guys visited WorkCycles Veemarkt shop to look at bikes. Their wishes were clear: the bikes must be simple, very durable and able to carry a decent load. That pretty much describes most of our bikes so the conversation continued and they test rode a number of bikes. After a while it became apparent that these two bikes were not just going to be ridden around the city. No, they’ll be ridden around the world, in no particular hurry, and they don’t seem especially concerned about the challenges that await them. A tough city bike does actually makes a good touring bike and we do periodically sell bikes to be toured on. There have even been some good stories such as the couple who rode a classic Dutch trike (bakfiets) all the way back to Copenhagen, but riding WorkCycles bikes around the world is a first as far as we know.
After some discussion of the bike options they decide to go for almost identical Secret Service NND’s. This is a variant with Shimano’s largest roller brakes front and rear but with a single speed freewheel. I convince them to gear the bikes at least a little on the low side: 38/18 or 19 if I recall correctly. The bikes get our usual frame-mounted front carriers and very heavy duty extended rear carriers. They look suspiciously like modern versions of my old Swiss Condor Military bike.
With the important choices out of the way we get to talking about their plans. I’m curious about how two quite young Americans end up in Amsterdam to buy bikes and can then take several years to ride around the world. At least to my untrained eye these are not rich trust-fund kids. Actually they seem more like military types and that turns out to be the case.
The rough summary is this (please fill me in here so I can correct myself in your next update): These guys are former US Marines. Either one or both performed missions so noxious and dangerous that they’ve been honorably discharged and retired from service. The military apparently doesn’t expect them to live long though they brushed those claims off nonchalantly. Whether it was out of self knowledge, youthful optimism or bravado I’ve no idea.
In the photo above they’ve hit the first hills in England and they intend to remain in the UK for a couple months. I’ll post more updates of their travels as they come in. Of course I’m looking forward to seeing them in exotic locales, such as slogging it across the Urals. I’m also very curious to see how the bikes do and how they get modified along the way; Will the fenders and chain cases get jettisoned? Will the gearing be changed or will they be content to just push the loaded bikes up the mountains? With some luck we’ll see.
Happy travels guys and keep the updates coming!