Did you hear? As I sit pondering over a plate of brisket nachos, there was a whisper in my ear…did you hear about the Ocoee Baseline?
Roughly, 10 years ago, I started mountain biking after a long hiatus. I am fortunate enough to live in Chattanooga, steel town turned mountain bikers dream. One-hundred miles of singletrack within minutes of my front door. Turn right, turn left, there is singletrack abound. Now facing a new question, not where to ride, but what is next. What is the next step forward as a cyclist? Needing to expand my base mileage, as well looking for new adventure, I asked myself several questions.
Roads are not just smooth blacktop and lame energy bars. They dot the surface of our landscape in all shapes and sizes. Quite seldomly traveled paved routes, secret fire roads maintained by what could only be forest trolls and gravel…miles and miles of gravel roads dancing through backcountry and suburbia. Roads like the Swiss Army Knife of my childhood scouting trips. I needed a bike that would willingly accept the challenge of mountain biker turning all-road cyclist.
One bike raised its hand, not just a raised hand but jumped up and down in the back of the classroom with both hands up pining to answer, that bike was the Ocoee Baseline All-Road.
Equipped with Shimano’s 105 groupset and Panaracer Gravelking 32s, the bike dances the razor’s edge of baby smooth legs and baggie shorts. The Ocoee Baseline wants and delivers on it all!
Swinging by the headquarters of American Bicycle Group, I became the proud owner of the first Baseline. Slapped on some additional carbon guard to keep the frame in group ride envy shape. I was off on my first all-road adventure, to the Dirty Sheets 20 route in Chattachoohie Hills, Georgia.
Just follow me…words spoken by cyclists with the truest compassion mixed with wicked intentions.
The Dirty Sheets 20 route consisted of twenty miles of mixed surface with an optional short singletrack finish. The hard packed gravel lead to quiet sections of rarely traveled paved roads. With ease, the Baseline transitioned from dirt road to chipped asphalt to loose gravel, not once objecting to the demands of the surface. It was hard to imagine that the buzz of Atlanta was a mere 30 miles north of those quiet roadways twisting through horse farms and homesteads. Stable geometry combined with smooth handling, the Baseline breeds rider confidence. My only complaint, not enough time for 40 miles. Not shy to pull up to an all-you-can-eat buffet, the Baseline will put away some fast miles.
As we passed through the back gate of Cochran Mill Park, the road lead us to familiar singletrack. Why not…a section of singletrack on drop bars? The final piece to link together a blissful ride. With ease, the bike climbed over roots and rocks, resulting in laughter and a few odd looks as we emerged in the parking lot. That’s a road bike…nope, it is the OCOEE ALL-ROAD BIKE.
Already looking forward to our next adventure.
Craig Lawson is an avid cyclist and adventure seeker in the Chattanooga, TN area. You can find him managing youth cycling teams, engaging in his local SORBA chapter or even lending a hand building a new trail.