In the last ten years, wool cycling jerseys have become widely available in a variety styles from classic retro reissues to microlight, itch free performance merinos. I prefer my cycling jerseys to be made from a thick wool and resemble designs which date back to the 1920s (interchangeable with shirts designed for camping, tennis or golf). Something like this:
As a female cyclist, however, it is still semi challenging to source a quality jersey that is not simply a unisex version of a gent’s model. Ibex, for example, makes nice, lightweight wool cycling jerseys but succumb to the idea that women want cap sleeves and contrasting color panels (often in pastels or apple greens). I’m currently field testing the new Standard Cycling Jersey by Cedar Cycling. A version for gents is also available. This made in California jersey was designed and patterned with the input of a number of local cyclists.
I’ve been testing out the Cedar Cycling jersey on early season randonneuring events (aka “brevets”). The three features that I like most are the the full length zipper, reinforced pocketing and bright red color. Unlike most jerseys, the wool-nylon blend fabric is on the thick side making it fine for cold weather use when paired with wool arm warmers and a wind vest. I can also imagine wearing this jersey in the heat of August thanks to the extra wicking power and breathability of the fabric.
On the flip side, while I like how wool nylon blend provides extra durability and helps the garment keep its shape, and wicks moisture, I would like to see the wool content increased in this jersey. On longer, rainy rides (on Saturday I was riding a 300k) the jersey started to feel a little clammy against my skin after 8 hours in the saddle. By comparison, even when wet, 100% wool jerseys keep me warm.
This jersey has some of the best pocketing I’ve ever seen on a jersey for women. All the pockets are double stitched and reinforced. And unlike most jerseys for women, this one comes with three rather than two slots. On my all other jerseys, pockets are the first thing to fail. I don’t think that will be happening with the Cedar Cycling jersey.
Now, I just need Cedar Cycling to final a local source for chainstitched lettering so I can add the Oregon Randonneurs logo to the front of my jersey.
PBP spectators in Villaines, France
I just got back from the 17th edition of Paris Brest Paris, an ultra distance cycling event held every four years in France. I always say that I record and erase my memory of rides longer than 600k. I can confirm via official records that I successfully covered the 1200k course in a time of 86 hours and 55 minutes. My primary setback was a series of intense drowsy spells that left me convinced that I was pedaling in my sleep, but overall I felt strong.
First night. 1200k to go
Scenic views and slumbering cyclists
During PBP, I did my best take photos of my practiced obsessions: people, bicycles and food. Snaps of the scenic countryside are in short supply. For interested parties, here is visual evidence of my participation in Paris Brest Paris with some fragmentary notations
Maya. Organized first randonneuring events in Japan
Amused Breton bystander
Audax England rider (designed the club’s jersey)
Photogenic Bryan on his Box Dog Bikes
Pelican (SF Rando pal and AC stockist, Gabe, offscreen)
NC rider on one of the last Coho rando bikes
Duane Wright on his Peugeot fixie
Snappy French (?) gent riding a Gilles Berthoud
Riding buddy Jeff on his lovely Boxer Bicycles custom
Jeff “I’m having the time of my life” Tilden
Bill, Oregon rando pal, at the ride start
Charismatic control worker
Food is one of the great motivators in cycling. On PBP, you can forage from Boulangeries on the course for your primary fuel (for me, pain au chocolat and jambon sandwiches). Jeff’s strawberry tart was a visual highlight of one boulangerie which we liked as much for the free coffee. Fatigue and the need for forward movement often drove us to save time by eating at the official PBP controls. My photos reflect the matter of fact nature of this food.
One control from the finish
Jeff’s brevet card (so much suffering to go)
Sample view. Vanilla at rest.
Full PBP 2011 flickr set here
Tomorrow, I (Lesli) leave for France for Paris-Brest-Paris,”the most famous long-distance randonnée.” During the ride (which covers 12oo kilometers in 90 hours), I will be off the grid and out of communication with Archival readers. In lieu of a live broadcast, I’m providing some placeholder photographs documenting my experience.
Arrival at Brest
On the train
Lining up for the August 21st start (8 p.m.)
Traveling along a road in France
Overnight control in Loudeac
At the finish (August 25th).
Interested parties can track my progress via the Official Paris-Brest-Paris site. The Vanilla and I are registered as US frame number 4641. Eight riders from my club, the Oregon Randonneurs, will be making the trip. After PBP, I will be spending a week in Paris recovering from the ride and shopping from the present.
As prep for the night start of Paris-Brest-Paris, a small group of Oregon Randonneurs decided to do an all-night 200k on Friday. Friends Susan, Theo, Marcello, Bill and I headed out from Hillsboro, Oregon at 9 p.m. for a sub 24 hour brevet. Our route would take us out to Dallas, Oregon (about 65 miles away) and back again in under 9 hours and 55 minutes. After a few hours in the dark, my brain starts rattling around like a ball bearing in a spray paint can. I take photos to keep myself awake and as evidence of my participation. Here a few snaps:
9 p.m. Last bit of light
Temperature dropping. Adding layers
Theo, bravely bare knee’d
Most Oregon towns seem to go to bed by eleven
Refueling in Dallas, Oregon. Around 2 a.m.
Heading back to Hillsboro
Another pause in Dayton, Oregon. 4 a.m. ish
Mist + dawn
7-11 finish. 9 hours 55 minutes later. Theo says we looked like hobos
I (Lesli) just formalized registration for Paris-Brest-Paris. In 70 days 22 hours 6 minutes and 3 seconds I’ll be joining 6000+ cyclists from around the world for a 1200k Grand Randonnee. The ride will take me from the suburbs of Paris to the coastal town of Brest and back. Riders will have 90 hours to complete the course. Several friends of Archival friends will also be participating including Gabe Ehlert of Box Dog Bikes and Chris Kostman of AdventureCorps.
Post PBP, I’ll be staying in Paris (in the Marais) for a week. Please send along shop, tour and food recommendations. I’ll be on the hunt for archival office supplies and the perfect French work jacket.
I propose a future edition of PBP requiring city bikes and street clothing
My wool jersey line up for P-B-P
Vanilla will be going too
It has been a happy, hectic spring. Archival operations continue to expand. We’re now shipping out sizeable orders to domestic and international retailers. New bag styles and colorways are in the works. We’re looking for commercial space and planning to bring on a production manager this summer. In the midst of the “blooming, buzzing confusion,” I’m working to qualify for Paris-Brest-Paris – the premier randonneuring event – a 1200k brevet (or bike ride) held every four years in France. I’ve completed my 200, 300 and 400k rides. The 600k remains. Here are a few snaps from last week’s 400k, a loop from Wilsonville to Eugene and back. ST, Archival Clothing’s tab numberer, joined me on the ride.
Archival travel baggage (AC, Filson and vintage Land’s End)
5 a.m. ride start (24+ hours to go)
Kevin, a first year randonneur, and his front loaded touring rig
The only Hill-Side
kerchief on the course
Joel and Sara. Early information control
Acorn saddlebag. Bill heading towards Sweet Home
Saddlebag adornment. Joel’s Carradice
Lane County. No nukes!
Marcola. David countering the cold with ice cream
Harrisburg. Pause to add supplemental wool layers
North of Albany
Around 1 a.m. Rallying against the chill
at the Plaid Pantry in Salem, Oregon
More reasonable transportation at this hour
Return to La Quinta. 24 hours and 24 minutes later
Chromed Canadian custom by rider/builder Nigel Press
On Friday, I head up to The Dalles, Oregon, to participate in the Oregon Randonneur’s Oregon Blue Mountains 1000k brevet. If all goes well, this will be my last brevet on The Pencil, my trusty Rivendell road bike. In September–or so–I’ll be taking delivery of a custom randonnee frame by Sacha White of Vanilla Bicycles (details to follow).
Since I’m a slow randonneuse, I rarely spend time with other riders or their bikes (save for Pal Peg and her newly built Tony Pereira). I try to grab reference shots at the beginning of brevets or during rest controls. As I’ve already documented, I adore randonneuring bikes for their visual elegance, purpose built design, uber-durability and post-apocalyptic use value. I also love that a brevet bike is visually incomplete without a well made, canvas duck front handlebar bag.
Here are a few of my sample brevet bike snaps.
Beautiful custom bike by rider/builder Corey Thomspon
Steve Rex custom at start of SIR 4 Passes 600k
Steve Rex custom front rack
Peg’s Pereira (rare flat repair)
Tournesol after SIR Bremerton 400k
Jack’s vintage 650b Grand Jubile Motobecane
Amy P’s Rivendell Rambouillet (in ghoulish a.m. hotel light)
Tom’s custom Coho
Robin P’s Waterford custom (mark down for minimalist baggage)
Sara’s Velo-Orange Randonneuse (early Johnny Coast prototype)
Trusty Pencil on 3 Capes 300k
Friend Peg W., PBP finisher and ten year randonneuring veteran, just took delivery of a beautiful Tony Pereria handbuilt bicycle. I got a chance to check out Peg’s Pereria during the first official brevet of the Oregon Randonneuring season, the 200k Birkie Brevet. Given how well Peg’s bike handled the rough roads and wretched weather of the ride, I’m nominating it as an honorary member of my apocalytpic bicycle stable. The Pereria has many fine, function-first design details including a custom front rack, braze-ons for an integrated lighting system, clearance for wider tires and metal fenders. Although Peg took delivery of her Pereria last month, it looks like a bike she’s already owned and ridden for many seasons. My only complaint is that it lacks a Brooks saddle.
Random Or Rando 200k ride shots from my flickr set.
And here’s my nomination for Archival Gent of the Or Rando Birkie brevet:
124 miles wearing a waxed cotton Carradice rain cape.
Note: Archival Clothing will be in reruns for the next two weeks while I participate in the Eau de Hell brevet series in Canada. Assuming that I survive the ride, posts will resume at some point around April 20th. In my absence, please send along heritage brand updates, lost product gossip, refab projects, archival bicycle and guest baggage shots, etc, for inclusion in future archival posts.
Just back from PDX to Glacier. Completed 638 miles (official route plus “bonus miles”) in 71 hours 45 minutes. Unseen stat here is my total (lack of) sleep time: less than four hours over two nights.
During the brevet, I faced a number of micro obstacles which kept my focus on immediate goals rather than big picture mileage: colliding with a fellow rider 15 minutes into the ride, breaking my derailleur cable and having to ride in my high gear for a little less than 100 miles, scaling each endlessly ascending hill, dodging Montana trucker traffic, managing heat/direct sunlight (my main nemesis), avoiding dodgy rumblestrip placement, navigating in the dark with only one light, staying awake after dark, finding adequate nutrition from microwaveable minimart offerings (Bomb burriots and push-button lattes), losing my wallet in Plains, MT, and managing various low grade medical maladies best documented in a nineteenth century medical handbook.
Two days after the finish, I’m realizing how relieved I am to have actually completed this brevet (one which a friend oddly referred to as “the easiest 1000k you’ll ever do”). In retrospect, despite my intensive Spring prep, there were quite a few moments, mishaps, which should have sent me over to the DNF column.
Since I’m not doing PBP (saving up for funds to pay a mortgage), I’m going to take the rest of the summer easy and plan for a big 1200k in 2008 (Boston-Montreal-Boston, if it’s held next summer). Also, I’m definitely looking forward to the arrival of my custom Rivendell (sometime this Fall?) which should make completing these brevets a little more cushy, a little more do-able.
No medal at the end of the 1000k (just bad news from Amtrak that one cannot board a train without picture id)(see note about lost wallet). But here’s a simulated image of my post-ride podium moment:
And a half finished flickr set