September 24, 2015

Checking in from beyond... bikes I want, stuff I've done, and random.

Things have been... that ole story?  everyone is busy, dude.

Yeah, so, I have finally come together with a plan for the stable.  I acquired a gravel bike finally in late April, and now have taken steps to prep it for fall commuting duty.  The Kogs is great, but hey... sometimes N+1 makes good sense.  Fatter tires, lower tire pressure, room for chunky and un-compromised studded tires for ice and snow AND fenders.  YES.  Finally.  A great fit, and a great multi-purpose - to quote the Jellyfish: Swiss Army bike. 

 Josh... The Stad-man... The man goes by many names, and has talent.  I've spent a lot of miles with him over the last few years, and it's become one of those relationships where everything starts to blend a little over time.  When we rode that 400k, or was it the 200?  or... ya see?  It starts to blend, but, the elements of time when it comes to long distance cycling don't necessarily follow the normal flow.  Right now, I can just pop back onto 335th Street near Rutlader on the return from Drexel.... or watching him, er, his taillight, disappear into the darkness of an Iowa summer night.  It's a comforting feeling riding with this guy, whom I can only describe as a shaman... or like, I dunno, a cool old surfer.  He's new to the sport of randonneuring, but, he talks, acts, rides and eats like he's done it for decades.  He knows training, wattage, he practices what he reads and applies it to the rides.  He jokes, smiles, rocks out, and then suddenly starts talking finance, politics, science... There is ne'er a dull moment riding with Josh.  Nosir.

 Now, if I wanted to combine all of this into a single bicycle... well, it'd be this:

The VO Campeur.  VO makes specific front and rear racks for this frameset, and every inch of it was purposely designed to be a "Swiss Army bike".  The price point will astound you.  If you don't instantly dive for your pocketbook, there's something wrong with your sense of value.  It's an absolute bargain.  On the white background, you can really see what this beauty is all about.  Note the third bottle cage under there, the pump peg, the abundant braze-ons, the big - but not TOO big - tires.  It looks good.

I like to pimp the blogs I like, especially when they can write a WAY better review than I can, especially since I have the small problem of not yet owning the bike itself... yet...
Check this out for a great follow-up review on the Campeur, and some great photos of how it should look in the wild.  

...and here's a cool, artsy shot of how the Campeur should probably look once built-up.  Step one, buy Campeur.  Step two, quit job.  Step three, ride to British Columbia.  ...and back...    Rinse.  Repeat.

...or it can look like this.  Look at those meats!!!   This bike just looks STUPIDLY awesome no matter how you roll it up.  Smooth... classic... bad-ass.... full-tilt purposeful... It's just a great bike.  Daddy want.  NOW.

And, this is a snake.  No reason.

For NOW, however, I have a Swiss Army bike - fully capable of just about any darn thing I want to do.  The Kogs can now be focused on pure rando... and the occasional commute for good measure.  But, hey... if it keeps a few extra miles off the "fancier" components, all the better for my bottom line.  It meant spending a little cash now, though, to get the Retrospec up to... er... "spec", for daily duty, night-time use, and the usual trim of fenders and rack.  All is removable:  I kept this in mind everywhere... no weird zip-tie arrangements, no perma-glue - when DK comes around, for example, an hour in the garage puts her back in super-light (riiight) "race trim", ready to get wild and dirty.  Stuff like mixed-terrain brevets (which , get ready KC... we're workin on it) will be a snap on the Kogs OR the Retro... it just depends on the mileage on tap.  I'm excited.


(stop it.)

SO, I took the Retrospec from stock spec:

Stock!  A great deal... Kenda Small-Block 8 tires, decent hubs, decent rims... I wasn't expecting to be impressed, but, then again it was only ever going to be a template for the plans ahead.
And the more-or-less finished product.  The 130mm crankset has since been replaced with a 110mm crank and a 34t chainring, to match the Shimano SLX 12-34 cassette.  Pushing through snowdrifts and climbing ice cliffs?  No problem.  Standard-for-me drop bars, same brand and model as the Kogs, Specialized's new, grippy and rad-neon "Roubaix HD" bar tape, which almost perfectly matches the neon green accents on the frame.  Bomb-4130 TIG-welded tubes, beefy dropouts to support any drivetrain I like, old Blackburn rear rack, gen lights.  It's the weekday special, no matter the weather.

Maybe I've been watching WAY too much anime lately, but, I keep having these visions of being on a ride and this whole troupe of female cyclists in green and orange skinsuits who accompany us on brevets and fight the forces of evil and darkness (read: traffic) with various weapons, magic power, and coy sexuality.  I've always wanted to date a girl called "The Power".

I think I'm dehydrated., anyways, that's what's been crawling around in my head lately.  Bikes, bikes, snakes, girls in skinsuits, and bikes.  

I'm not sure I'm paying my therapist enough for this.

I still owe this blog a post about the last, adventurous 214km perm from August, the Border Patrol.  Still a great route, but, in need of a slight redo, I think... more on that in that particular post.

Stay tuned, bitches.

Love ya, k-bye.

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