It’s no secret, we all love our Baum!  My Cubano and I are inseparable friends who enthusiastically seize any opportunity to explore new roads, anywhere, anytime.

In hindsight I wonder how they did it…. and I laugh as I recall the impossible task I unwittingly set.  I was somewhat unprepared when, during the design process, Ryan asked me to describe how I wanted my Baum to handle, what I wanted her to do?  I was heading to France, and I was buying my life-long bicycle, so as you would expect, I responded with “comfort, I want to be happy to ride her day after day, mile after mile, in rain and shine, she needs to climb like a goat, descend like a dream, and be responsive enough that she screams ‘Hell yes, let’s GO’ when the sprint is on”.

Looking back, what I had actually asked for was a Bugatti Veyron that I can happily take on 4WD adventures.  Well, I’m pleased to tell you that’s exactly what I got, and I describe my many subsequent hours in the saddle with words such as inspiration, motivation, confidence, satisfaction, excitement, and pride…… but as time went on, I discovered that there was something much more, seemly hidden within the very fabric of the frame itself.

My Baum journey has been just like growing up all over again.  At first I was consumed by the joy of discovery, becoming more adventurous and straying from my regular weekend routes to ride longer, steeper, windier, rougher roads.  The more I explore, the more I discover, and the bike seems to just keep on giving.

As I matured (a little), I remembered I have family out there, and I began to feel curious about other Baum owners, who are they, what did they build, how did they choose the colour, why do they ride?

So in late 2013, when Jodie asked if I could make it to Sydney to ride with the Baum team in the Rapha Gentlemen’s Race (RGR), it appeared my curiosity might been answered, and I jumped at my chance to take a sneak peek at who these people really are.

Rapha Gentlemen’s Race Sydney 2013

Rapha Gentlemen’s Race Sydney 2013

 

RGR Sydney was a fantastic Rapha cycling event which took us through the rolling hills from Windsor to Wiseman’s Ferry, past striking sandstone cliffs and along the banks of the Hawkesbury River…. but as much as I’d love to share the specifics of the RGR with you, this is not the right time.  The things I discovered in Sydney that are far more important are as follows:

Ryan could back a minivan down a one way lane in Paris; he has an inbuilt GPS that could navigate him safely through a Spanish bull run; he can assemble a bicycle single-handed in 3.5 minutes, and his kryptonite is heat.

Darren loves to ride as much as he loves to weld! If it makes him smile he’ll do it, he could probably back a minvan down a one way lane in Paris, and assemble a bike in 3.5 minutes, but why would you when Ryan can do it?  He is made of Ti, and does not need to drink or eat to stay alive on the bike, but if you don’t drink on the bike he will pour it down your throat.

Jodie makes it happen….. if it weren’t for Jodie, we’d all still be talking about it happening.

Back at home, and two months later, I have developed an interest in MTB.  I enter the 3hr twilight Enduro at the You Yangs as the easy single track course would allow my lack of skill to be compensated nicely by my old fashioned road bike fitness.  Coincidence (or was it) would have me run into Darren and Ryan again.  They encourage my MTB interest, and meeting with the guys at the You Yang’s a few times I learn some more things:

Don’t over think it, if it makes you smile just keep doing it. (Darren)

If you fall behind at night, the kangaroos will knock you off your bike and eat your brains out (Ryan)

Darren is a true gentleman, if you fall off and leave half your elbow, knee and hip behind he’ll only take photos of your elbow and knee.  Afterall, it would be most inappropriate to take photos of your arse.

I’m clearly making new friends, and finally, 29 March 2014 RGR comes to Melbourne!  It began like any other Rapha Ride, Jodie organises entry, food, times, all details really.  I’m very excited about making new friends, discovering new roads, and having an opportunity to admire some more Baum bicycles in the flesh.

But very quickly I discover this was no ordinary ride.  There are no long climbs, but this is the Brisbane Ranges, I hear whispers of winds that will make you feel like you’re training in Holland.  Darren mentions he’s feeling nervous about the route, Ryan is a little nervous because he’s been eating his way around Europe for 6 weeks (although we discover he did ride a hire bike around the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, at night!), I’m nervous because they’re a little nervous, and my imagination has decided the other 3 team mates are at least A grade cyclists.

Then we receive the start list, we are team 27, of 33…… hang on…. don’t they rank the team anticipated slowest to fastest!  How did this happen?

The morning of the ride was fantastic, the weather was beautiful.  The plains surrounding Little River were still and were forecast to remain that way.  The sun rises to reveal the Brisbane Ranges silently looming in the distance.  You turn the corner and you’re there, the car park is buzzing, coffee is flowing, and you run into old friends and meet new ones…..phew, my teammates are not untouchables….. They are real people, real baum owners, just like me.

We set off, 5 guys, 1 girl, 4 Correttos, 1 Ristretto, 1 Cubano.  The ride was filled with chatter, laughs, and again I learned many important things.

Real teamwork is letting the men [Ryan] share the women’s toilets before a bicycle race.

Ryan was the course setter, and his onboard GPS unit works just fine.  We did not go the wrong way at the start, we were just warming up.

We were ranked 27 of 33 teams because we had 2 riders who stood on the podium at a recent 3hr MTB event…..sometimes it does not pay to be well-known?

Darren is still made of Ti, he can come directly from the couch and take tremendously long turns at the front setting a steady pace, whilst keeping an eye on everyone else’s wellbeing

Ryan is scary fit, because after 6 weeks of ‘fallowing’ he can still talk his way around a 180km course, pull wheelies, and sprint ahead to take fantastic photos of our team.

Your true friends come to see you suffer up Godzilla [Jodie]

It’s perfectly reasonable to leave your post ride alcohol and food with a tall guy with a laptop and a Bommadore

Ryan is a Ninja, I watched him spontaneously catch an empty coke can with 2 fingers, as it fell out of Darren’s jersey pocket

Darren is a comedian; I was taking my turn at the front, quietly listening to Ryan chatting away in the group….. when I asked Darren if he ever stops talking Darren put his arm on my shoulder and said, “Kettle, meet Pot”

Sometimes you should take your Baum shirt off when visiting the sleepy hollow of Meredith…. again (it doesn’t always pay to be well-known)

You should learn to do wheelies with ordinary shoes on, but once you get it up it’s all good.

Jeremy and Jon both have more than one Baum! I think they all have day jobs, except perhaps Jon, as Strava says he rides over 400km / week!

The team rocked the atmosphere was fantastic both on and off the bikes

I would love to tell you more, especially some quotes from the day, but sometimes what goes on tour must stay on tour.

Forgive me if this is the longest blog in history, but until yesterday I didn’t really know what a blog was.  I’ve rambled long enough, so for those of you who are still reading, and looking for a punch line, well here it is:

My Baum is not just an awesome and beautifully crafted machine, it’s addition has taken me on a journey into a cycling nirvana, and along that path to Nirvana I have met many Buddha’s who are all laughing and having a fat time.   We are all riding our own race, and we all get a little nervous before race day.  But if you’re smiling doing it, you can be sure you’re on the right road.

By Joanne Crane, she is a Baum Cycles’ customer and a lifetime friend.