Pal Ruth is heading out on an epic three bicycle tour (launching in Pueblo, Colorado, and motoring west to San Francisco). Lastely, she’s been loading up on cool, made in USA gear. Since she will be pedaling over mountains on a fully loaded touring rig, she’s looking for gear that is lighweight, functional, and built to last.
During our ride today, Ruth showed off her latest find: a new ultralight sleeping quilt by Enlightened Equipment. Designed and made in Winona, Minnesota, the sleeping quilt combines the down fill warmth of a sleeping bag with the flexibility and ventilating properties of a quilt blanket. You can order a shelf ready product or wait a bit longer and customize your creation, selecting down count, color and weather stripping.
Pal Ruth (adventurejunky on IG) and her new, balsa-weight sleeping quilt (and optional accessory sleeping cap).
From dawn to door, friend Erin took delivery of a new Coho frame in less time than my wait for a custom, high flange Phil wood hub (with q/r axle) for my forthcoming Riv (3 years, 1 month and 10 days in the waiting)(albeit, ordered by way of Australia–the hub, that is). Coho was built by fellow randonneur, Charles Lathe, who also built up a black randonneuse frame for friend Tom. Chuck’s red randonneuse was the envy of the brevet circuit this Spring (well…the envy of me).
Now, I just need how to figure out how I can make a living as an unpaid spokesman/spokesmodel for other people’s product lines.
After three years and a few days, I just received word from custom frame builder Curt Goodrich that my 650b frame and rack are finally finished and ready for paint/plating. After putting over 6,000 on my Goodwill Trek randonneuse, I’m thrilled and desperate to ride something which was actually built to accommodate the mixed dimensions of my mini monkey donkey body.
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:
This weekend, during a nine passenger cargo van type fieldtrip to SFMOMA, I made a brief detour to Rivendell Headquarters in Walnut Creek, Ca. With no specific consumer agenda, I ended up purchasing a lovely beta version of the Nigel Smythe “country bag” and test riding a few stock frames (our helpful Rivendell rep pointed out that he had helped fit a past President and his wife for a pair of matching Rivendell mixtes). My friend and travelling companion, Lauren, chitchatted with one of the Riv staffers and–in the brief flash of the final seconds of our visit–traded one of her belly button photographs (to be exhibited next Spring in her terminal BFA show) for a lovely rusted Rivendell lug.
Though I prefer bikes with lugs, leather saddles and canvas luggage I’m starting to appreciate those ones reflecting elements of contemporary campus bike rack style (what I identify today as a tendency towards slap-dash utility, care worn parts, historical paint schemes and accidental or eccentric ornamentation). Here, I’m sidestepping away from an homage to the emerging herd of ostenisbly stylish bikes (my friends’ bikes–well cared for Japanese and French made ten speeds converted into sporty commuters–often pared down to fixed gears or single speeds). Current campus bike rack style emerges when bikes are locked up and left alone over winter, over the course of an academic term or four year career (or twenty year employment stint). Campus bikes need to be functional, invisible, theft resistant and garbed in some way against wet Oregon weather. Over time, the combination of natural forces and bike rack mayhem (scratching, dinging, jockeying, tipping, falling) work on the surface of the campus bike burnishing its total look and bringing out a quality of (what the folks at Rivendell refer to as) “beausage” or beautiful usage.