Of course we all love riding BMX bike any and every chance we get. As we get older and our bodies start to feel it, many of us also ride many forms of “bigger” bikes as well. For the first time in NE history, we’re looking at the other bikes and who better than to start this off than one of AB’s finest, Cary Lorenz.
A young life full with bicycles brought passion with community, eccentrics, overall diversity and love.
In 1999 I had certainly realized riding small hand built ramps, possibly some dirt, and the local skatepark were a large distraction from any other expectation. As it came, BMX was the center of my mind in regards to its attraction for aesthetics, or ride style, its characters, and definitely its uncertainty. As time went on and riding often, some skill for myself developed and the ever growing community of people grew and I started to travel further with these bikes. Having ignited the desire to maintain far off geographical relationships, I went out west a lot, eventually arriving at the open doors of a NoBikes trip, bringing me further into the depths of riding and its characters.
As time kept rolling as it does and stale feelings arose with these types of bikes, my adventure driven persona had been fully unleashed. The upbringing of camping, fishing, or general outdoor pursuits outside of BMX had brought what I like to say, adventure cycling, to the table.
Bikepacking is a loose term we hear out there, or bicycle touring. Realizing I was capable of riding a bike further by willpower and strength, I had desired to throw my gear on my bike, but I didn’t have a strong idea of how that would work.
My first “big bike” was a FBM Sword I had bought from Matt Desson in 2014. This is a track bike with loads of fun packed into its characteristics. That bike has been fantastic, and has brought me plenty of joy. What really came of this experience though, was finding a bicycle that was packable and had more capabilities to explore.
After trying out a few stock bikes in this realm, I noticed there wasn’t a personal connection to catalog bikes for some reason, possibly because my BMX bikes were always built ground up. Mostly I wanted a rad bike of my own vision. Eventually I developed ideas of a custom bike, capable of loose rocky terrain, mud, sand and snow. As we know in BMX, companies like FBM and S&M are and were building their own frames, and with the strong community of frame builders still out there, I had really loved the idea of a hand built frame with all the parts I had read about for durability, sustainable manufacturing and putting my money in good peoples pockets.
Having gone to a few frame building expos in Vancouver, I had continuously been drawn to the artisan craft. This had taught me loads about various design and concepts that surround the wacky world of bikes. Tuning in on “gravel” or “adventure” bikes, my design started to unfold.
Knowing that other BMX riders had similar interests, it didn’t take much time to find those people. Nick Lindstrom of Terrace, BC and now Vancouver, BC was building frames alongside his tapering BMX interest. Fillet brazing was his choice of fabrication, and his ideas of bikes were loose, creating whatever he thought was possible for the client and their vision. The bikepacking world had shown that wider tires, loads of cargo space and simple design was key, although none of that is simple once you have the torch in your hand.
Nick and I had created a off road touring machine built around 27.5″ wheels with clearance up to 3″ wide in rubber, making this bike a useful tool for backcountry cycling and long days in the saddle. The process to create this bike was personal in its own, flying to Vancouver and chasing ideas on BikeCad to finalize the geometry. Eventually this frame came to my door, and was built up raw in an urge to take it on a 10 day rural Alberta tour. This trip was boundary pushing and rugged as ever. Since then I have adored this bike through other backcountry adventures with my fly fishing gear and even my little shotgun. I’ve slid through our Edmonton winters in -30 cold snaps on the my daily commute to work and even towed prizes in a kid trailer for a local BMX jam! Since the creation of this bike, i’ve spiralled right down into other bicycle experiments, trying new parts on Nick’s frame and more recently getting another frame done of similar concept.
The point in all of this, is how the principles in BMX have taught me that there are plenty of other doors in the bike world that are wide open. I’ve found that pleasure, community and ease of travel are still quite present. Meeting people is very on point with how we have met others in freestyle that always welcome us into their homes, or show us their favourite swimming hole. Next thing we knew, we have found a life long friend that we may spend time with twice in our life. Whether we have a particular injury that makes riding BMX difficult or just a sudden boredom from it, we can safely assume that other bikes have our backs, quite literally.
One other quick thought of lately is how many riders have opted for mountain bikes in their life. Countless people I know have bought their first full suspension mountain bike and ride the hell out of them. The beauty in this for any BMX rider is that these big goofy bikes are quite easy to ride with BMX under our belt, and we can also avoid the full immerse into MTB culture, because a chunk of our old buds that you sat on the deck with, are now riding these bikes.