I will be offline for a few weeks while I’m away participating in Paris-Brest-Paris for the second time. And randomly, NPR included a sound bite of me during a random report onthe sport of randonneuring.
If you are curious about randonnering, a form of ultra distance cycling w/roots in France, here’s an NPR report on the history of the sport (w/a soundbite at the end by me). I’ll post a gallery when I get back, emphasizing custom bikes, canvas bike bags, roadside eats and wool jerseys.
Over the years we’ve been posting on our favorite kerchief projects. We originally declared our admiration for discharge printed kerchiefs sourced via ebay, thrifts and Japanese web shops. Two years ago, I discovered Cornell University’s collection of political american kerchiefs. Our current kerchief favorite is the wave kerchief made by our Archival friends and stockist, General Quarters. Stay tuned for a new Archival kerchief launch coming soon. Here is an evidential visual of Tom transporting the new Archival Kerchiefs by way of packboard and his custom Coho city bike.
Last week, I took a few snaps of custom frame builder Eric Estlund’s latest project – a modern interpretation of a WWI military bike. Dubbed the 1918 afterArmistice day, Estlund’s bike is an homage to the Columbia Military Bicycle models that were issued by the US Government during the war. While Eric worked from drawings of the original Columbia Military Model, he updated the design and fit of the 1918 to make it more practical for use by a modern rider (in this case, a female Marine and WWI historian). For studio snaps and a full report on the 1918, check out Eric’s site.
Double top tube for strength and durability
Modern update – stem mounted shifter
Internal cable routing to preserve the historical profile
5 speed drum brake – another modern touch
Client supplied pennies that bracket the war – one from 1914, and one from 1918.
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).
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.