The paved roads in and around Kelowna provide a bounty of scenic routes for the road cyclist through the city and to the orchard footed hills surrounding the gorgeous Okanagan Valley. The local logging industry provides a whole other realm of fun, however, clearing gravel paths into wild and forested areas. These roads to adventure do require a slightly more specialized machine to navigate, and that’s where the Soma Wolverine comes in.
I spoke with Meshkat at The Lions Cyclery and told him what I wanted – a bike that could easily handle gravel and light single track, as well as carry me across the pavement to get me to trailheads. Reading one too many Bicycle Quarterly magazines also put the idea of multi-day road and gravel touring into my head as well as the desire to try out some 650b tires. We assembled a bike that would carry me and my gear across paved roads, then easily make the transition to fun, relatively traffic-free gravel roads, and even occasional single track.
Gearing choices were made to handle loaded down touring, as well as fast, fun descents on trails and road. The White Industries crankset features 52/30 rings and the SRAM cassette is 11-36. For simple shifting, I went for SRAM bar end shifters to control the front and rear SRAM X0 derailleurs. The Time combo pedals let me wear my sneakers to work and around town, but I can clip in when I want to have more serious, speedy fun.
The wheels are what you would call “skookum”. Velocity Cliffhanger touring wheels with 36 holes wrapped in Compass 650b x 48mm Switchback hills provide a durable and plush feeling ride. The rear hub is White Industries and the front is a Schmidt SON dyno hub. TRP Spyre cable brakes provide stopping power to 160mm discs.
Drilled TRP levers with tan hoods offset the black a bit, as well as the brown Brooks Cambium bar tape. These are mated to the Salsa Cowchipper bars which were chosen for improved aero on fast descents, increased hand position options for touring, and for control when the roads get rough. A Brooks B17 saddle in black rounds out the build to provide comfort and a touch of style.
My first adventure plan for this August is to spend a week touring and camping on southern Vancouver Island. I went for a full complement of Apidura dry bags to help me haul my stuff around, even in the rain. I can’t wait.