Wow. Such a great day on the bike with what is really a fantastic route. 60 miles of mixed terrain riding and packing in a bit over 4000′ of climbing in 2 climbs.
I drove out with my good buddy Jack and we parked the car about 5 minutes before 10, got our stuff together, grabbed some coffee and a restroom break and headed out. I didn’t print a route sheet, nor did I worry about starting about 30-45 minutes after most folks. That part was actually kinda cool. I usually start with everyone and find myself into one of the faster groups off of the front missing most of the field. Starting late, I got to catch up with a lot of folks on that first climb, seeing many familiar faces.
The climb up Dalles Mtn rd was wonderful. Nicely maintained gravel, wide open views of the Columbia River Gorge and near zero auto traffic made the climbing go quickly enough. Chatting with a few riders on the way up and generally taking it kinda easy made for a truly pleasant warmup.
We finally crested and I was beginning to get a feel for how FaTRoB was handling the turns and the Vee Rubber Speedster tires were handling the somewhat loose gravel. The first few corners were taken rather cautiously, but after getting used to the handling I was able to open ‘er up and let ‘er rip. I quickly found myself off the front and at that point and the terrain leveled and then picked up on some rollers so I put down the hammer a bit and caught back up to Jack, who was getting a bit sideways in the corners and getting way too rad for me. Prior to today, I had only ridden the bike about 2 blocks after assembly the night before.
We meandered along the plateau above the Columbia River until we found our descent. We took the Merryhill loops rd down to the Stonehenge memorial and grabbed a sandwich from our jersey pockets. A quick reprieve and some sustenance and we were back on the bikes and headed back into Oregon and towards our final climb. Moody rd was one of those that has you wishing for one more gear, I’m sure, no matter what you have. But the climb is over soon enough and we are on a bank of the range overlooking the Gorge again and feeling almost like we’re on the edge of the world. This meanders for a few miles before a ripping descent takes us down to 15 Mile rd and our final turns into The Dalles. At this point, FaTRoB was like an old friend, reliable and something to be comfy around, though I did find myself occasionally looking for the down tube shifters. Jack and I used the final miles to trade stories and tell crappy jokes and goof off, making those final miles pass with ease. This is exactly the type of riding I had in mind when designing FaTRoB. Climbing, gravel and paved roads, fun and fast descents and a bit of distance. I’ll have more about the specifics of the FaTRoB build in a future post.
Soma just announced a promising new 650x42b tire. The Grand Randonneurs are claimed to be the lightest true 42 width available. The tread design is interesting too. Smooth center section and fine file tread on the “corners”…It’s as though they had access to BQ’s recent article about tire design.
Another cool thing is they offer a slightly beefier version. It’s unclear wether or not this version has the same casing or if its using a different one, but the sidewalls are coated and the tread is a little thicker for more protection in gnarly sections of “road” riding.
I’m hoping to get some in the shop soon for testing.
ps, all photos shamelessly lifted from the SOMA blog.
I have an abandoned project that needs an owner. It’s a 650b randonneur that measures 59×58.5 on center. Custom front rack with low-riders, Honjo fenders, Miche needle bearing headset, powder coated in a black cherry finish that looks Oh-So-Sweet. Due to the lightweight Kaisei tubing used, there is a recommended rider weight of 175lbs. Asking $1800 OBO. I’d rather not deal with ebay on this one, so snag it up here.
I’m gearing up and getting some projects together for Detroit Bike City! coming up in March, so these last couple of weeks have been a blur of activity. I had a brief break today, so in spite of the weather I got out on a short ride. Having company on such a cold, wet day makes for a much more pleasant time of it.
I’ll have some photo’s of some cool projects in the coming weeks, and I’m also getting another batch of hats this week. They’ll be going with me to Detroit, but if you as nicely I may be able to let one go…
I’m also selling a couple projects. The first is my personal Randonneuse. I’ll get a build list together, but I’m asking $4000 OBO for this dandy little fella. This one’s 58×56.5 measured on center…
The second is a frameset that the project fell through on. It’s a 59×58 cm measured on center and a recommended rider weight limit of 170lbs. Normally this would go for about $3k these days, but I’m looking for only about half that, so $1500 OBO.
Ryan graciously agreed to share some of his CF Project photos from a trip to Gifford Pinchot last summer.
He had a few days off work and was able to get out and explore some great light traffic roads, both paved and gravel. He managed to get some camping in for his extended weekend.
This certainly has me stoked to get up there and explore the wonderful network of public roads and NFD roads this summer. Count me a goner as soon as the snow melts enough.
See the rest of his pics here.
It’s an exciting newsweek for tire offerings. Mostly in the 650b flavor, but some 700c options as well. First off are the new Compass Tires. The same tread design on the entire range, these tires come in the following options of either regular supple casings, or extra light supple casings, and the extra light comes in a black sidewall.
700x 26, 28, 32, and a much needed 38
650b x 38 and 42
These tires, I’m sure, will be one of the best on the road tires out there. I can’t wait to get some of the 650×42 in black for the coming up FaTRoB build.
The next tire is going to fill a niche/size that is currently missing out. A gravel specific tire that purports to measure in at 42, with a more pronounced corner tread for stable cornering. This one coming from the rad folks at Soma Fab are due out sometime in July. These will definitely make it on to FaTRoB for some summertime NFD road exploring/ ultralight camping.
In a word: Details! What sets these beauties apart is how much I’ve stressed every point on the bike to optimize the experience for the rider: YOU!
- Traditional French Sizing: Not much seatpost showing means that you get the bars up high without resorting to odd looking or overly exposed stems.
- Proven geometry. Based around the custom bikes I offer that were tested by Bicycle Quarterly a few years ago and further testing by myself on the road both gravel and paved.
- Frame features that are well appointed and consider making the rider’s life easier when on the road, such as a Columbine quick changer to ease in flat repair, or adequate fender clearances to keep your wheels spinning free of abrasion.
- Custom fitted racks that are durably chrome plated and easy on the eyes, flowing with the overall aesthetic of the bike. Making carrying the things you need easy and at hand.
- Options for custom sizing… Don’t see a size you think might fit? Get in touch, I’m happy to work with you on sizing needs. Not everyone has the same build.
- Rider tuned tubing selection. I work with you on what type of riding you are doing, your height, weight, cadence and riding style are all considered when making tubing selections for a dialed in ride.
- Designed to make for easy assembly, should you just get a frameset:
- Bridges equidistant from the axle centers so fender mounting is easy (or better yet, get us to do the mounting for you.)
- Wiring run through the frame for you to plug into or we can install an entire lighting system.
Custom Fitted Racks
Designing bikes for long distance riding that are as much fun to wander as they are to ride in a spirited manner are what I aim for. It’s the type of riding I do most and the type of riding that I geek out about, always trying to optimize the experience. The last things you want 18 hours into a ride is for a fender to rub, or the bike to wander towards the road’s edge as you are growing more tired. But the experience that exposes weaknesses at this hour also have their benefit in shorter rides. Namely, you will likely forget about the bike, which is precisely my goal.
Untouched by a file. Keeps the cost down, but looks pretty slick. Wiring exiting before BB to ensure that no snagging happens when installing the BB.
It is my aim that the CF Project will disappear beneath you, becoming but a beautiful tool to realize your dreams of the freedom that wandering, camping, spirited riding with friends and longer distances bring. Try one for yourself.
Modest, yet slick details on the dropouts. Notice the chaincatcher to ease flat repair.