While I don’t need another bicycle I’ve been air shopping for Alex Singers and Rene Herse randonnee frames via ebay. Here’s a beautiful 1975 randonneuring bike from the Rene Herse workshop. If you’re a pure road cyclist and you’ve never seen a Rene Herse, check out all the bike’s unique, rando specific features: custom front rack, integrated lighting system, polished mafac racer brakes, full metal fenders, maxicar hubs, etc. In the event of a zombie apocalypse, a Rene Herse randonnee would make the perfect getaway rig.
As Hurricane Irene nears my apartment in New York, I’m once again longing to be back home in temperate Oregon, where the only natural disasters we fear are the rare earthquakes and volcanos.
That said, we’ve always believed here at Archival that the apocalypse is an excellent opportunity to hone your packing skills. The contents of my Bug-Out Bag is one of my favorite subjects to ponder during a sleepless night, far better than counting sheep. Even Mayor Bloomberg is talking about them!
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.
It’s not often that you get follow through on shopping from the past. Hunting World NYC closed its doors in 2008, and currently seems to sell only in duty-free airport shops in East Asia. However, if, like us, you’re still shopping from Hunting World and need a safari tuxedo, eBay seller cowboywest currently has a sizeable stock of NOS trousers and jackets. The seller, bless him, provides excellent measurements on the auction pages, and I ordered a pair of pants based on my shaky tape measure figures. The trousers are terrific – a nice mid-weight gabardine, quality details, hand-finished buttonholes, and not too baggy in the seat. Since we’re always stocking up on quality provisions for the apocalypse, I promptly ordered two more pair and a pair for Lesli – at $20 a pair, you really can’t lose.
-100% cotton -Made in China (Surprised? Us too). -Seven belt loops (earns top marks from Tom) -Hand-finished buttonholes -Frenched outer side seams, butted inner seam (for ease of tailoring) -Allowance for taking in or letting out waistband -Double front closure (helps fly to lay flat) -Top-opening front pockets -Sits just above waist -Fitted in seat, straight leg -1975 price: $85 ($330 adjusted for inflation!) –Buy It Now for $26 shipped from cowboywest.
Now we’re lobbying for other eBay sellers to continue this trend of offering dream products for reasonable buy-it-now prices. I’m hanging up a horseshoe in hopes of finding a few dead stock sweaters, in a wide range of colors and sizes, from Montgomery Ward c. 1947.
I love the look of SNS Herning knitwear, but if you need economical Scandinavian woolens for your ice-cap expedition, try Devold of Norway.
I’ve been using Devold Aquaduct baselayers for cycling for years. In colder conditions, and in the rain, I wear mattress layers of Devold plus a light wind vest. I’d rather get damp than overheat in a fully sleeved shell. Aquaduct knits can also be worn off the bike as a spread-collar type top layer in the style of Alexander of Fanny and Alexander (Bergman 1982).
For arctic conditions, I recommend one of Devold’s Blue Marine (Blaatroie) sweaters. Worn by North Sea fisherman in some past era, blue marine sweaters are knit from pure new wool using tightly knit worsted yarns. The sweaters are super durable (non-pilling) and work well for wear under waxed cotton jackets or vests. What I like best about the Blue Marine series is that they retain their original historical styling save for the patriotic addition of a Norwegian flag patches. That being said, here’s an example of a Devold nautical model I would not purchase from the past:
Devold Blue Marine w/zip and pockets
While I prefer shopping from the 19th century, Devold is offering a few “modern” tech woolens I might try. I’m a little unsure about the overarching look of the “Optimum” hoodie but I do like its use of a knit grid pattern and thumb loop holes. The optimum might make a nice addition to my post-apocalyptic layering system:
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.
Now that I’m almost done finalizing my wardrobe for the apocalypse, I’m evaluating my preferred mode of bicycle transportation. Ever since Jan Heine published The Golden Age of Handbuilt Bicycles, a pictorial history of French bicycles and builders, I’ve been a fan of “porteur” style bicycles. This 1947 Alex Singer, for example, is a stunner. Aside from delivering newspapers, the porteur would be well suited for transporting quantities of food and supplies over long distances in trying times.
In play form, I participate in the sport of randonneuring which is a practice way of preparing for the apocalypse by bicycle. Randonneurs ride for hours, even days, following a cryptic cue sheet directing left and right turns, as dictated by the Department of Defense or Dr. Strangelove. Our rando bikes are semi-slimmed down versions of the standard porteur model. Here’s a link to friend Peg’s new Tony Peirera. And here is Winter Bicycles latest “Audax” model (to debut at the San Diego Custom Bicycle Show).
If transmissions from this blog taper off a bit in the next month, it’s because I’m preparing for the suitably named Eau de Hell 2009.
In lieu of a porteur or brevet bike, I might opt for the fixed gear hauler friend Rick and I test rode at Clever Cycles in Portland, Oregon (photo below). The Clever Cycles hauler would work perfectly for mission critical cargo transports–as long as post-apocalypitc conditions did not force us into hilly territories or escape scenarios which required ultra rapid transport.
During the winter months, I console myself by watching some of my favorite post-apocalyptic films. Stanley Kramer’s On The Beach (with the amazing cast of Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Anthony Perkins and Fred Astaire) is always the first one to be screened (followed by Children of Men and crossover genre film, Alphaville).
Inspired by these films, I prepare a mental packing list for the apocalypse (items and objects I’d could carry on my bicycle while living on a stashed supply of summer sausage and aged cheeses).
Aside from the expected, tin cloth exterior layer and lace-up ankle boots (brand TBA), I would include at least three to five thin wool shirts (in crewneck and zip-neck styles) which I could wear alone or in crazy, mismatched layers. Though Devold and Rivendell sell terrific, pure new wool baselayers, I’d go with Ibex since they offer their shirts in a classic heathered grey, and in a striped version, in sizes for men and women.
Mid-October. Official reintroduction of winter weight wool. When the cold comes my dress code is dictated by the idea that whatever I wear must be versatile enough to work as my permanent post-apocalyptic/nuclear winter outfit (think Fred Astaire’s safari suits and gentlemanly neckwear in On The Beach). I’m working out the details but the basic gist for my survivalist get-up is a pair of Filson whipcord trousers (substitute Levi 501s), layered Icebreaker or Ibex zip-ups and an outer layer of Filson “tin cloth” or Barbour waxed cotton (to which I would add crucial internal pocketing for matches, a manual camera and my make-do cuisine of unpeeled carrots). Still shopping from the movies (Flight of the Eagle, Indiana Jones, Alphaville,) for my shoes.
…but worthy of notice as an archival clothing artifact. If one were shopping on my movie set for items to drag down into the bunker before the apocalypse–this would be the album playing on the portable turntable.