Australian Mountain Bike - - X Factor - WORDS: ANNA BECK PHOTO:GE­ORGE GUILLE

In Bike­land, where many of us re­side (whether it be through our hob­bies, work or on­line daily dis­trac­tions) we are of­ten sold the lat­est and great­est. That’s fine; technology is mov­ing swiftly and we have seen the de­vel­op­ment from 26” to 29” and now 27.5” in less than 10 years. There seems to be a new in­dus­try stan­dard with each year’s models. Tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vances mean we now have 160mm travel bikes that can pedal up­hill, some­thing that would have been mind­blow­ing a decade ago. We have light­weight, more pro­tec­tive hel­mets and bet­ter fit­ting cloth­ing. It’s the hum­ble back­pack. Dur­ing the past decade’s evo­lu­tion of wheel sizes I have had one hum­ble cran­berry-coloured friend ac­com­pa­ny­ing me on long day trips, seem­ingly end­less hikes, bike path jaunts with tod­dler­friendly pic­nics and in­ter­na­tional travel. about how long the old girl would last. Most fea­tures are work­ing well but she’s begin­ning to show the wear of many years of love and abuse. The con­sid­er­a­tion of a new back­pack takes some time and com­mit­ment, you can’t just go and pick one and ex­pect it to serve you well for 10 years. A true back­pack-lover will spend time por­ing over de­tails to make sure it’s the right one. I looked at mul­ti­ple brands, dif­fer­ent sizes, new fea­tures as well as old. In the end I came back to the same trusted brand. There are not many things I have loy­alty for in this fast-paced, con­sumer-driven world, but it ap­pears back­packs and bikes are the two I seem to care about. The new rig ar­rived on my birth­day; she fea­tures a slightly retro feel, yet re­tains most of the fea­tures I have come to know and love. An­other women’s spe­cific de­sign, she fits like a glove straight away. She’s not quite cran­berry but sim­i­lar, per­haps she could more ap­pro­pri­ately be de­scribed as aubergine. Though I don’t use old cran­berry any­more, I can’t bring my­self to chuck her on the scrap heap; she’s too good, we have been through too much to­gether. Think­ing about the op­ti­mal back­pack and rapidly re­place­able bi­cy­cle technology and the en­durance of things, I’m com­pelled to draw com­par­isons to life and re­la­tion­ships. Some­times it feels like there are just so many peo­ple to meet, whether it’s through work or dif­fer­ent so­cial cir­cles. You make friends and some will stick, but many won’t. The ones that mat­ter are the ones that have your back through the rough times and the good - the ones that sur­vive the test of time and are ir­re­place­able.

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