Contributing Writer: Rasmus Helt Poulsen @Traedekongen
I was recently on a challenging 8 day cycling trip in Northern Spain. I was riding in the most beautiful and remote surroundings in Basque country, The Pyrenees, and Cantabria with steep climbs, mixed roads of asphalt, concrete, gravel, and something that used to be roads years ago. Full of animal waste, potholes, rocks, slippery corners and you name it. Probably the most technically demanding riding I have done to date. I wanted to put my entire focus on nature and the hard effort required to finish 200km and 5000HM rides for 8 days in a row. I wanted to enjoy the ride as some sort of reward, though it felt like punishment at times. It was the hardest and most amazing ride of my life.
In times like these, focusing on the road is key and you have to trust your equipment – if your mind starts to wander you risk losing the front wheel grip while descending. I did that a couple of times as I reached the limit of my own capabilities on the bike. I had a double flat after hitting a grind in the middle of the road quite hard– nothing serious happened and I was lucky enough to manage to land in soft grass.
However, I was alone in the middle of nowhere with two flats and a twisted handlebar. There was no phone signal and no other riders or cars nearby. Having tools to fix this was critical as the alternative was to walk 8 kilometers down the mountain. I live in Denmark – the land of Flintstone. I am used to fixing punctures and in 2019 I had minimum of 30 – but standing in a remote place with shaking hands after managing a wobbly bike with speeds of 60kmh without major injuries – is just different. 15 minutes later it was all fine – back on the road descending into to a small village. Had a coke and some fried squid. Everything was fine. The highs and the lows. That is what cycling is about for me.
I have been riding with my “emergency” kit from SILCA for years. Two latex tubes, durable tire levers, some patches, a chain link, and a mini tool all nicely packed into the Premio Seat roll firmly attached with the Bora locking system under the saddle. The best kit out there in my opinion. On long rides, I don’t use CO2 canisters as I find them too risky to bring – hence I chose the heavier more durable solution with the Impero frame pump. Has worked perfectly for years in all conditions. It doesn’t make me climb or bike faster, but it keeps my mind on the road as I know I can deal with most issues that could occur. I have been riding for 25 years, owned a lot of different bikes, tried all kinds of equipment and seen almost every situation that could happen out here. Having equipment and tools you can trust makes a big difference for me and lets me focus on doing what I love: riding my bike.
Thank you SILCA! #mySILCAstory
PHOTO CREDITS: @jonnyhinesphoto @pasnormalstudios