Last week, lovebirds Adriana Bogaard and Shawn Larkin began a 25000km bike ride on their Wabi Specials—a journey they will cherish forever.
The couple took off from Victoria, BC on August 10th as boyfriend and girlfriend. “If we arrive in Santa Barbara on time, in one piece, and not terribly angry with each other, we’ll be getting hitched at the Santa Barbara courthouse on the 11th of September,” they said.
Before they rode off, we asked Shawn to share a bit more about the couple embarking on this awesome journey and what inspired the pre-wedding test trip. Here’s what he had to say:
I started riding a bike when I was a kid, and got into mountain biking when I was pre-teen living near the mountains of Santa Monica. Similarly, Adriana, my fiancé, grew up [riding] a mountain bike in her hometown of Nelson, British Columbia.
About five years ago, before I met Adriana, I was living in Montreal, Quebec. Montreal is an intense biking city, and everyone I hung out with biked as their primary form of transportation. So I started looking for a single-speed bike and found Wabi Cycles. I called and talked to Wabi’s founder, Richard Snook, who was perhaps the warmest and most knowledgable person I had found in relation to fixed-gear cycling. I had only briefly ridden a single-speed bike, but liked the idea of trying to ride a fixie, and Richard was really passionate about it. Our chat turned into a discussion over exotic, lightweight steel bike frames. Ultimately, I nudged Richard to make me a prototype Columbus Spirit frame, which was eventually released as the Wabi Lightning SE. I had one of the two prototypes he made before the production run. Richard rides the other.
A few years ago, I moved back to Los Angeles, where Wabi and Richard were based at the time. He took me on my first real ride and that got me more serious about cycling. In fact, I think it was after joining the unofficial Team Wabi — a group of guys that would ride their Wabi bikes together on Sundays in the hills of LA — that I really fell in love with this very specific kind of cycling. There was something wonderful about the intensity of our rides, as well as how we would blow by the other roadies with more expensive, geared, carbon-fiber bikes. Having only one gear to turn and trans-like rhythm to follow is so fun when you have a bunch of guys spinning in a pack.
Preparing for a lifelong journey
A year ago, I found myself working back in Montreal, where I met Adriana. We started dating, and I got her to ride one of my fixed gear bikes. She was anything but comfortable, and I didn’t think she would take to it. But she tried it again when we were in LA, and that’s when she started to open up to the idea of riding fixed gear more aggressively. We decided to tour the west coast on a set of fixies that were belt-driven with fully customized components that we put together with Matt, one of Wabi’s current owners. He really went above and beyond for us, to the point that he custom-machined some one-off splitters to fit the belts on our bikes. So far, Adriana seems to really enjoy the bike.
We’re actually training deep in the country of British Columbia, on and around a farm where Adriana is working as a theater set and costume designer, until we start our tour. I am a web developer using the company’s wifi connection while we prepare for our journey.
This trip will be a giant leap of faith on both me and Adriana’s parts. She's just getting comfortable with climbing hills and going long distances on her Wabi. And I’m planning a fun and not-too-difficult route for us. We’ll start in Vancouver, British Columbia, and do about 100km (60 miles) per day as we bike through Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Big Sur, Santa Barbara, and Los Angeles.
The couple started an Instagram account @adrianacorne so you can follow along to see cool pictures and updates from their journey! Here are some recent shots with their Wabis
Check back soon to see details about their Specials and a list of gear they took on their trip!