On the Road: The right tech for the territory
October 4, 2005
Walking up into the Collegiates on a fall day in 2001, we encountered a ruffian of sorts, a modern-day mountain man. “These are the Rockies,” he warned us, a pair of day-hikers in shorts and T-shirts. “The temperature can drop five-oh in 10.”Imagine that: “Five-oh in 10.”Well, the temps didn’t plummet so dramatically Monday night, but the weather definitely took a “These are the Rockies” kind of turn. Tuesday morning in Carbondale brought dark skies, thunder, lightning, pelting rain. Hello, fall.Even if I wasn’t in a remote high-country valley, the inclement weather messed with my day. I was in a situation in which I either had to ride a bicycle across town or walk through the rain. While many a local (me included) would hesitate to take a $2,500 ($5,000 if you bought it in Aspen) road bike out in the rain, most of us have other options.My other option is a mountain bicycle known as the Terra Tech. Made in Japan in the mid-1980s, the Terra Tech isn’t cluttered with accessories such as shocks or phat tires. It’s truly a pure form of the machine, featuring early Shimano components and plastic pedals along the lines of a ’70s-era Schwinn.The chain is already rusty, the seat shredded, the paint chipped. A little rain, even an early fall pelting halfway to the top of the world, wasn’t going to harm a beast of a bike like my Terra Tech. It made for a worry-free ride through the rain of Carbondale to my mechanic’s shop.Our research indicates the Terra Tech has nearly gone the way of the dodo bird. Mine may be the last of the species. But don’t begin mourning the brand’s extinction just yet, as I reckon it’s got a good number of rides left in those old spokes, regardless of what the weather is up to.