In June last year, a 31-year-old named Mike Hall arrived in Greenwich after riding around the world — a distance of 18,000 miles. He completed the ride in 91 days and 18 hours and, in doing so, broke the previous world record by a good couple of weeks, according to the rules set down by the Guinness Book of Records. His vehicle of choice was a carbon fibre On-One Dirty Disco frame, set up to his own specifications. After a successful Tour Divide race in June this year, he’s about to set off again: to ride across Vietnam aboard this custom frame by Matthew Sowter of Saffron Frameworks.
Mike has an engineering background and collaborated with Matthew on the design of the frame, and the final result reveals the wisdom of each. The curved seat stays and top tube, formed from a straight gauge cromoly, offer an amount of flexibility which will be appreciated on the ride across Vietnam. If you look closely, you’ll see a pin at the junction of the seat tube, around which the tubes’ malleability will pivot. That seat tube is also detachable, making international travel more convenient. The half-link chain is only temporary — the Paragon slider dropouts will eventually accommodate a belt drive.
Saffron Frameworks offer custom paint via an in-house studio, where the matte-black shade was applied to the frame and forks. The seat tube has been copper-plated, however, so it’ll be a pleasure to see how the South-East Asian humidity will affect it after Mike’s journey. As a reminder of what he’s already achieved, the logo of the World Cycle Race was carved out of the stainless steel seat stay bridge. Mike shouldn’t need much more, he’s riding across Vietnam to raise funds for UK-registered charity, Newborns Vietnam, which supports Vietnam’s Da Nang Hospital for Women and Children.