I’m riding a borrowed turn-of-the-century (this century) aluminum Ibis Alibi hardtail. The beautiful Ibis comes christened as Lolita. Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. My borrowed blue steed, Ibis to the world, Alibi to the aficionados, but between my legs, always Lolita.


Lolita got a new drive train for the trip and a stem change to raise her bars to a level more to my liking. I come from a rich tradition of very upright road riding, and the mountain bike geometry of the nineties is long and low. Too long and too low for my creaky neck, knees, and hips. To reduce all kinds of fatigue, the new stem and bar configuration will have me much more upright. Lolita is equipped with a 1997 Rock Shox Judy XC coil fork, V-brakes, and because I ride in street shoes, big flat light blue pedals. My beloved, well-worn Brooks saddle perches proudly on top. I’m running Schwalbe Marathon Extreme tires, durable and puncture resistant but knobby and wide.

For my scant belongings, I have two scuffed (loved), orange Ortlieb panniers on an Old Man Mountain Cold Springs rear rack, which hopefully is indestructible, and more to the point, it mounts to bikes with no eyelets. Old Man Mountain makes expensive racks, but they are some of the very few that will solidly attach to mountain bikes. Since my gear weight is low, I hope to get by without adding a front rack. I have a handlebar bag, a handlebar map case, two water bottle cages, and a cycling computer to keep track of time and mileage.