Harris tweed castoff
I love it when Archival customers emerge from the ether to visit our headquarter in Eugene, Oregon. This weekend, Patrick H., a longtime AC reader, dropped by on his way back from a Victoria, BC, to San Francisco bike tour. Patrick first reached out to Archival asking for SF shop recommendations (we have many!). It was great to hear about Patrick’s trip and his work at MEC – the Canadian equivalent of REI. Unsurprisingly, Patrick and I share many mutual obsessions – from lugged steel Rivendell bicycles and Filson field bags to notebooks and fine writing instruments. Documentary evidence of Patrick’s visit below:
AC friend and Rivendell General Manager, John Bennett, sent me photos of his unworn Sidi touring shoes. Unlike modern “carbon” models w/velcro strap adjustments, John’s Sidis come with an old fashioned lacing system and walkable soles. Though these Sidis come from the past, several of my randonneuring friends wore them during this year’s edition of Paris-Brest-Paris. I think they’re stunning enough to wear with cords knickers and a wool pullover to work.
In April, I’ll be pre-registering for Paris-Brest-Paris. Although the Pencil was an early front runner, I’ll be riding my custom Vanilla lugged randonnee on the August 2011 ride. Acquiring the Vanilla was a bit like mail ordering from the future. I submitted a deposit in 2006 and took delivery in September 2010. The bike is a bit of a Rivendell remake (more Herzog’s Nosferatu, less Van Sant’s Psycho). I switched over from 650b to 700c tires, requested lighter weight tubing and integrated lights, rack and fenders. Sacha White, the bike’s builder, was kind enough to borrow a mandrel to give my front fork a nice, low radius bend (à la française).
Here’s an out-of-the-past preview courtesy of the Vanilla Workshop’s flickr photostream:
Updated views from an unusually balmy MLK Day ride:
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.
Peg’s Pereira (rare flat repair)
Tournesol after SIR Bremerton 400k
Jack’s vintage 650b Grand Jubile Motobecane
Tom’s custom Coho
Sara’s Velo-Orange Randonneuse (early Johnny Coast prototype)
Trusty Pencil on 3 Capes 300k
And a missed opportunity to mail order a Bridgestone X0-1 or RB-1 from the past:
I’ve been using cycling musettes on and off the bike for over decade. Musettes were originally designed as feed bags for cyclists during road races. If you search for musettes online, you’ll also find references to WWII canvas, military fieldbags (“musette bags”) and other types of pocket-sized canvas shoulder bags.
Gilles Berthoud sells a musette made of the same canvas as his famous Berthoud handlebar bags. However, the Berthoud musette is a bit boxy and I’m not fond of all the contrasting leather trim. I prefer the first generation Berthoud musette (picutred below).
Here are a few more examples of traditional musettes (promo text ads to their appeal):
I’ve been using cycling musettes on and off the bike for over decade. Musettes were originally designed as feed bags for cyclists during road races. If you search for musettes online, you’ll also find references to WWII canvas, military fieldbags (“musette bags”) and other types of canvas shoulder bags.
The Pencil and I did not quite make the RUSA 5000k distance award this year. We did complete our first Cascade 1200, survived a few Seattle International Randonneurs death brevets and pedaled through a very drowsy, 24 hour fleche Ouragan (on the same day Eight Belles broke down in the Derby).
Plans for 2009 remain hazy. Most likely, I’ll be heading down to California for the Davis Gold Rush 1200k or staying in the Northwest for the SIR iteration of the Seattle-to-Glacier 1000k (a ride I did two years, on the Oregon side, from Portland to Glacier).
On a localized level, I’ll be focusing on improving my navigational skills (actually monitoring the line-by-line elapse of my cue sheet) and conducting more micro saddle adjustment experiments (I’m in brand limbo between Brooks and Selle An-Atomica w/a Brooks Imperial in consideration).
The Pencil and I remain on good terms despite the fact that its retro, Bicycle Quarterly inspired drivetrain still terrifies me during slow shifts on super steep grades. At some point, in the next year or so, the Pencil may be readied for rando-retirement in a muddy pasture with cyclocross tracks.
Archival confession: I must admit that randonneuring requires the use of some synthetic clothing layers. I try to make use of as much wool as possible–namely jerseys and extremity warmers. But alas, I’m sadly sold on the superior, wind blocking, moisture repelling properties of tech treated plastic fabrics (in the form of jackets, vests and shoes). There is one gent in our club, Drew, who builds his own bicycles, makes his own sports drink, designs his own bike luggage and wears brown leather lace-up dress shoes, full wool outerwear and a cycling helmet that was ANSI certified in the 1970s. He remains a randonneuring hero to me though I know I can no longer follow his dress code on rides longer than 40 miles.