Travelling multi-national distances by bicycle isn’t new, but it’s encouraging to see more and more intrepid riders loading up a bike and setting out for the horizon. A credit card might not take up too much space, but for complete self-sufficiency you need a little more luggage room than a jersey pocket. For Belfast’s Bruce Watson, a trailer or longtail bike was overkill and detracted from the joy of the ride and so his Mountain Mule Cycle evolved into a fun and functional workhorse.
There’s plenty of muddy trails to be found around Ireland, but once Bruce designed and fabricated his mid-length longtail bike, it was loaded up with supplies for a two-week tour across Romania and the Carpathians to the Black Sea. Not a bad testing ground for his space trellis frame design, which, Bruce says, can be built up to a reasonable trail weight of 32lbs and can fit into a regular bike box or bag when dismantled for air travel.
Bruce built the Mule in his spare time from 4130 cromoly with a TIG’d aluminium rack. The ‘direct mount’ front derailleur position came about after an internal rear hub was swapped for a 27-speed setup — more in keeping with its MTB roots. Bruce has now laid out a universal frame design, which will be tested to European mountain bike standards, before being offered as a production frame with options like children’s seats for urban adventuring, custom bags and even a camping stove.
If you like what you see, contact Bruce through the Mountain Mule website.