Many moons ago I stumbled upon a fellow rider located in Scotland blogging about his bicycle adventures under the name “drjOn’s Wanderings”. It’s become a staple of mine to see what Jon’s up to half a world away every now and again. It seems as though Jon and I share some similar riding styles and preferences which makes his blog and adventures that much more appealing. Fast forward a little bit of time, and when I started 44 Bikes, I took note that Jon was one of the first to start following along and commenting on my own adventures both on and off the bike as 44 Bikes got rolling. Every now and again, we’d exchange pleasantries online, or comment back and forth about this and that. Fast forward again to a few weeks back and I received an unexpected email: “I was wondering how your wait list is going… The 29+ frame you just finished hit a real chord.” Stoked is an understatement to be getting a chance to build Jon a custom bicycle. His spot came up and I got down to business… Turns out Jon has entered the Highland Trail 550. That’s 550 miles of mixed singletrack through Scotland’s toughest terrain all to be done solo as a bike packing race. That’s a serious endeavor. The race has spirit. I also like that it’s a “SOLO” effort. To explain this in clear terms, the website add’s this great disclaimer: “NOTE: A time trial completed with friends, family or media following the ride, effectively acting as a sag-wagon, is not a true self-supported effort.” Now THAT’s my kind of race. More of a personal challenge. You. Your bike. Your gear. The trail that lays ahead. No B.S. No help. It boils down to grit, determination and self reliance. Backtracking a “wee bit”, it seems Jon was riding and enjoying his Surly Krampus but one of my bikes was the tipping point. Long story short: We made quick work of putting together a spec that would suit Jon’s riding style, his terrain and how he intended to use this bike. 29+, 16.75″ stays (gave him a little extra room for that fine Scottish weather and mud they get..), Matching Custom Unicrown Tapered True Temper steel fork with 2 water bottle mounts at 5/7ish o’clock, Paragon Machine Works hooded slider’s (PM + Shimano Specific), 150mm rear spacing and 83mm bb width. Flat black of course with matching gloss decals. Lucky number “DGM3”. Here’s some before paint shots: Before heading off to powder… Arriving from powder… And of course, a few from the studio! So Jon’s bike is finished, packed and waiting at the shop door right now to be picked up by Fedex on it’s journey over seas to foreign lands. I can’t wait for Jon to get his frame and fork, finish the build and get out on one of his prep routes or even just take it out on the Scottish back country for a ride and put it through it’s paces. I’m really excited to hear his feedback about the ride I’ve built for him. And looking forward to following along as all the adventures unfold as he pilots his 44 Bikes custom to points beyond the horizon. Made to Shred. That’s Guaranteed.