Down Under Holiday!
Written by: Andy Oleson
Ok, This story can’t progress another word without giving a HUGE shout out to Kath n Kedan Griffin, fellow BBR test pilot, Chris Zito, and MURU Cycles head man – Wayne Chapman! For without their great generosity and help this story would be non-existent. I’ve had the good fortune for the past twenty plus years to have a great job that gives me the opportunity to see the world and meet great people from all walks of life, but until this past week I have never been graced by such a convergence of hospitality, coming together for nothing more than sharing some good times, friendship, and riding bikes.
In early March I got the word I’d be hitting the road for a month heading off to New Zealand, and Australia. The first thing that went thru my mind was, “Damn that’s along time away from my family”, then the schedule came thru…”Damn I’m I going to miss the Barry Roubaiux race I’ve been training so hard for”, then it sank in…”Damn I’m going to NZ and Oz”!!!!
The word got out among my fellow BBR crew, and Zito stepped up saying he would hook me up when I get to Australia, and sure enough… I was bombarded with e-mails from Wayne Chapman the man behind Muru Cycles, and Kedan Griffin. Turns out they are the major players in the Aussie Fat-Bike scene, and were more than happy to hook me up for some awesome rides and scenery over Easter weekend. Kedan offered to have me up to his place in New Castle for the weekend for some good times and awesome fat-bike riding.
Kedan is about as crazy about Fat Bikes as anyone I’ve ever meet, owning no less than 7 fat bikes!
When riding with Kedan his love of fat bikes was evident with every person we met, as he was more than happy to spread the message of Fat is where it’s at, spending time to answer any questions and offering up a chance to hop on a Moonie and take it out for a quick spin.
Which is a good thing, as Australia is prime for a fat bike invasion; there are so many great places to ride, thousands of miles of beach, great-forested trails, and deserts that go on forever. The Simpson Desert race is a great example of the need for fat bikes, and is continuing to see more and more fat bike entrants every year.
Kath n Kedan, Worlds best hosts!
Kedan and his lovely wife Kath opened their little slice of fat bike heaven for me to share over Easter weekend, I got to New Castle mid-morning on Friday and was given a great guided tour of everything that New Castle has to offer. It had this awesome totally laid back surf vibe and beautiful beaches as far as you could see. Kedan’s front room was strewn about with bike packing gear in the works. The other rooms in his house made me feel right at home, as frames, half built Ti Muru bikes, and bike components laid everywhere, I mean really! Does it get any better!? Yeah it does! Just around mealtime when the Kath n Kedan stepped into the kitchen and whipped up gourmet meal after meal, if you never see me back in the U.S.A, you’ll know where to look.
Saturday morning Kedan loaded up the Moon-Landers and we headed out to the local single track, which were quite a bit like what I’m used to riding just about anywhere…until you pop out of the woods, and there you are looking at the ocean from atop the bluffs! We took a seat on the park bench and just took it all in, the smell of the ocean mixed with the smell of the pine trees that we had just rode through made for a great morning, we hopped back on the bikes and dove back into the trails and then back to their place for some giant Prawnzilla’s and cold ones!
Sunday was Beach ride day, and the weather was perfect! What a change – from the frozen shores of Lake Michigan to the balmy Australian coastline!
Kedan explaining to me,
“If I trials ride in on the rocks, he’s not going to drag me out of the water if I bail”
How can you not just want to ride Fat Wheelies all day long! The Last time I rode my fat bike prior to this trip it was in 8” of fresh snow and below freezing! Nice change of pace.
As mentioned earlier, Wayne Chapman of Muru cycles was instrumental in getting me hooked up, and a big part of the plan was to get a Muru Ti Witjira built up for me to test ride, but due to the time constraints and the limited availability of fat bike parts, unfortunately, it just didn’t come together (I’ll be heading back later this year and hopefully we’ll get you the low-down on this beautiful bike) although it wasn’t finished I did get a good look at a couple of the frames and forks and they look amazing, beyond that, Wayne also gave me some insider info an a new 29er + that is in the works (the Mungo 29+ now up on their web site) So look for a part 2 on this story!
Kedan, is more than just a Fat Bike fanatic, he is a entrepreneur setting his sights on hard core bike packing gear, making some of the coolest gear I have laid my eyes on, his attention to detail, innovative tweaks, and one on one customer service stands to put him on the map as a force to be reckoned with. In fact much of his gear was being torture tested the weekend I was there, by multiple riders in a 750 km off road race called none other than the “Hurt”, Kedan’s buddy Steve Timbrell stopped in on Saturday evening after winning it with a time of a little over 4 days, and laid out a story line of his adventure that left us in Awe!
Aside from riding In New Castle, I was fortunate to be able to do some serious down hill riding in New Zealand aboard a full blow custom Ibis Carbon Mojo, and got to ride the Common Wealth Games race course in Melbourne aboard a sweet 29er hard tail Carbon Cube mountain bike, and although the trails were full blow – F’in amazing, and the bikes were great, the one thing I lacked was the massive traction and shock absorption of my Fat Bike.
So if you are looking for a great epic journey Australia may be the place to go, just pack a couple extra bucks for beer! As the cost of living is a bit more, and the cost of beer may put a damper in your alcholiday, not that we advocate drinking here at Fat-Bike.com (technically it is carbo-loading)
If you get a chance…look up, Kath n Kedan on facebook and give them a shout out, check out their gear, and drop’em a line! Thanks again to the Fat-Bike brotherhood for the hook ups, I will forever remember this trip, and the people that helped make it so special!
Cheers! and no worries Mate!
Bike Black Ribbon Test Pilot