A few months ago Rob picked up his Signal gravel road/all-around adventure bike and has been putting it through the ringer even since. He recently texted me after finishing the Oregon Stampede. The dude was crazy high on endorphins and I asked him to compose a guest blog post and share some pictures. The words are pure Rob, excitement and energy booming in each sentence. Thanks for the report, Rob, and thanks to Matt Danielson for the great photographs. Enjoy!
When I was maybe three or four years old my step-dad and his buddies would gather on the weekends to enjoy High Life and cowboy movies. Legend has it that during one film when the requisite stampede started, I shot up and loudly exclaimed something to the effect of, "Look at those sonsabitches run!" I learned a valuable lesson that day which is that doing awesome things is totally worth an ass-beating.
I guess thats why I love me some gravel riding; some of the best examples of which are Velodirt rides here in Oregon. Velodirt's Donnie is the Kool Keith of PNW gravel rides, a real mad genius. Ride the Rapture about 70 miles of Coast Range, loose gravel, up and down, no support, logging road, soul sucking hell and see if you disagree. If that isn't long enough for you, the crown jewel ride, the Oregon Stampede will take you across just under 130 miles of the best of Central Oregon's old west looking terrain.
After pushing a carbon cross bike up the Old Moody Road during the Dalles Mountain 60 a couple of years ago it dawned on me that there may be a better tool for the job. Maybe a bike that wouldn't shoot me to the outside of fast descending corners like cross bikes seem to do, geared LOW and with big fat tires, 35-40c. I wanted eff all to do with mechanical disc brakes despite their current popularity. Where I ride, I don't want to attract any undue attention with pig-like squealing. You know what happened to Ned Beatty and I look too good in stretchy pants to take chances. When it came time to get serious about a custom gravel rig I went to Signal Cycles and I'm glad I did.
My Signal is exactly what I had in mind. It fits my stubby legs and long torso perfectly. It doesn't kill me when I spend 11 and a half hours on it pedaling like the Yeti and I did on the Stampede this year. It rails corners at speed, hell yeah. It's a great West Hills road bike with Grand Bois Cypres tires on it, bonus. The paint scheme that Nate cooked up while I was gone fishing (thanks buddy) looks great even when filthy. I can put Clement MSO tires on there for some monster trucking which makes me giddy. My bike was born about 2 miles from my home by a dude who I've had beer with which means something to me. Like I said to Mr. Meschke after the Stampede, Signal has fatty road bikes figured the fuck out. Do yourself a favor and get one, even if you have to sell your car/pets/kids/mountain bike. You can thank me later.
Thanks to The Yeti, Matt Danielson for taking such kick- ass photos while on the move. I credit all the stoner metal he listens to for his cool hand.
Rob "Sr. Chilidog" Chapman