Words and photos by Chris Hahn (@christhehahn)
Hello! I’m Chris and I live in Calgary, Canada. Biking has been a fixture of both my and my partner’s life for a while. We met through biking, toured the Karakoram Highway together (nothing like continuous food poisoning in rural Pakistan to confirm long-term compatibility), and got engaged on the back of a bike. With the arrival of our two kids in the last two years (and COVID), our biking goals have changed.
Long trips to countries with poor satellite coverage are much harder to pull together and so our focus has shifted to adventures in drive-able distance. For me, this has especially involved shorter trips throughout the nearby Rockies and more urban exploration from my front door. Calgary is blessed with a ton of parkland and river valleys and I spend more and more time piecing together the best of the city’s singletrack and gravel trails into mixed terrain loops that conveniently end at a brewery. It reminds me of being a kid exploring the neighbourhood on my 8-speed K-Mart ‘Sledgehammer’ but now I get a bike with slightly more gears and a dropper post.
My bike is a 2014 Honey Packmule. I was living in Boston in 2014-15 and had plans for bikepacking trips to Peru and the Dalmation Coast but nothing apart from an old cross bike to do them on. Honey was ahead of the game at the time as one of the few companies I could find that offered a wide-tire-compatible, drop-bar touring bike with S&S couplers for easy travel. They also happened to be local to Boston. It’s not the lightest, prettiest, or fastest bike, but my Honey has taken me through Peru, China, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan (x2), and on lots of local rides/trips in Canada. It’s gone through multiple iterations, including a switch to a flat bar (after I took a pounding in the drops on the long gravel descents in the Cordillera Blanca), a stint as a winter commuter with skinny studs, a packhorse towing a chariot full of kid/stuffed animals, and its current life as an almost plus tire, dropper-equipped fun machine.
- Frame Honey Packmule with S&S couplers
- Fork Surly Steel Fork
- Rims Raceface Arc 27
- Hubs DT Swiss 350
- Tires Surly ExtraTerrestial 29 x 2.5″
- Handlebars Salsa Cowchipper
- Headset Chris King
- Crankset White Industries ‘The One’ (28/46)
- Cassette Shimano 11-speed 10-36
- Derailleur(s) Shimano Ultegra (front) / Shimano GRX (rear)
- Brakes TRP hybrid disc
- Shifter(s) Shimano Ultegra
- Saddle Brooks C17 Cambium
- Seatpost PNW Pine Dropper
- Stem Thomson
- Front bags Porcelain Rocket
- Frame bags Porcelain Rocket Roll Top
- Rear bags Porcelain Rocket Mr.Fusion
- Accessory bags Revelate Feedbag
- Other accessories Wolf Tooth Drop Bar Remote
The spread in gear ratios (28 to 46) on the front chainrings always draws a few stares at the local bike shop but was a good way to get a wide gear ratio in 2014. You have to be a bit gentle with the shifting at times, but it works! The S&S couplers are great on a travel bike. With a bit of jiggling, everything fits in a single portable suitcase with no baggage fees. Just make sure to tighten them regularly, especially after rough descents, unless you want to suddenly experience what it feels like to ride two unicycles at once (been there, do not recommend). The cables are all coupled as well, so switching handlebars is pretty fast. My back and I prefer flat bars if expecting some long rough gravel descents.
You can find Chris on Instagram @christhehahn.
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