Swedish bike makers turned their backs on XL Biking, American brands were just too big and couldn't care less about a fat guy in Scandinavia trying to get more people into cycling. Suddenly an email from Finland...wait, what?
Althoug it might not suprise many of our readers, we are thrilled to announce that we've just renewed our partnership with Pelago Bicycles. There are several good reasons for this, and I still remember how speechless I was when I read the email from Helsinki stating that Pelago would love to work with XL Biking! How unreal! A bicycle company that listens to a group of riders often despised by others?
I began to understand why, year after year Finland ranks number one as the happiest nation on Earth!
The secret of finnish happiness could be said to be found in the way they approach the challenges of daily life, and how they envision, for instance, their own reasons for making bicycles or anything other thing for that matter! They go beyond copying the rest of Europe and Scandinavia to working hard for a possible and better future. Modern adventurers, they balance a great work ethic with a proper load of fun and curiosity! Finlands cold weather seems to not be able to stop them and they thrive in finding creative solutions for the more diverse problems. When the sun shines in the archipelago, there they are shredding on skateboards and, of course, on their amazing bikes as well!
The following quote from the Pelago webpage explains their philosophy a bit further:
"Pelago was founded to cherish cycling as a genuine mode of transport. We ride to deliver a breeze of fresh air to the urban gridlock, bringing joy and freedom to the daily journey"
Founder Mikko Hyppönen means that Pelago bicycles are made to serve their purpose as reliable, beautiful, durable and low-maintenance machines that also are easy rolling, versatile and meet the demands of Art and Design, Outdoors, Street culture and uncompromising cycling! That's impressive, and that's exactly what they deliver!
I have now spent an entire year riding the Pelago Stavanger Outback, their do-it-all platform. Before I say what I've done with the bike I need to mention what it dit to me: it put the biggest smile back in my face! From the geometry to the components, this bike worked flawlessly and at almost zero maintenance cost! I am a 187cm tall (6'1) and 143 kg rider (313-ish lbs) and after talking to Pelago about the bike's total weight limit (130 kg) I was well aware that things could go really wrong - except they didn't. The more I rode this bike, the more I realized that this was not the work of chance or coincidence; these machines are made to last and keep working! So, bikepacking, gravel rides, pavement, urban, microadventures, this bike took me there and back again in comfort and with a decent amount of response to each pedal stroke, considering my size! Yes, I could feel the freedom, the independence, the versatility and reliability, I felt like I could explore more with this bike - and, that's what i did!
XL Biking's 2021 Gravel/Adventure and official blog bike.
In line with Pelago's and XL Bikings philosophies for sustainability, reliabilty, versatility and happy cycling, I've decided to keep the Pelago Stavanger as XL Biking's gravel bike even in 2021. There are more things I want to try, test and discover with the bike and about the bike. Of course, if other bike manufacturers decide to embrace the future of cycling instead of being stuck in the past and, say, want the XL Biking blog to test their gravel bikes I'm Open for it (pun or ping?). I want our community to have options. At the same time the proven Pelago Stavanger is here for the long run, it is the Blog's official bike and Pelago is NOT paying me a single Dollar to write that - that's not how we roll. I don't control how they make bikes, they don't control what I write and we both like that! Our discussions are open and free from any bull or attached strings.
"You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I'll come running, to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I'll be there
You've got a friend" (Carole King - Tapestry.)
Pushing the boundaries
XL Biking is about pushing the boundaries, gathering people for the inclusion, integration, participation, and full acceptance of all riders of all shapes and sizes into the cycling cultures. For that we need partners that see the people of our community not as a "lose weight", before and after story, but instead as passionate cyclists who love freedom of expression, riding and creating sustainable relational models that last. Long story to say that we want to be seen as equals. For that we cross frontiers and approach brands, businesses, influencers, the media and also the cycling clubs inviting them to collaboration so more people will find what they need to go cycling, specially the youth.
I want to thank Pelago Bicycles, Ana Valtonen, Timo, Mikko, Nikke, Kajsa, and the rest of the team for not turning your backs on me and the XL Biking community! It means the world to us! Thanks for bringing happiness back to cycling! - Ebbe Silva Founder, XLBiking. Family Counselor & relationships speaker.