Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Marin County

On the same trip to San Francisco, we spent some time up in the Marin Headlands. You may know of Marin County as the birthplace of the mountain bike. Well it turns out to be a stunning place to ride a road bike, as well. I found myself really itching to ride. We drove up to a nice lookout spot below a set of disused WWII era fortifications and looked out over the Pacific and the Golden Gate bridge. While we were eating lunch, a guy stopped on his Rivendell Rambouillet to catch his breath and enjoy the view. I talked to him and drooled over his bike for awhile. Unfortunately I didn't get to ask to take a picture of his bike in this backdrop. But this is the kind of road you just need a bike for. A road bike, that is...


I just got back from a trip to San Francisco this weekend, which included a stop at Rivendell Bicycle Works, home of some of the very nicest lugged steel bikes on the planet. I went hoping to get a chance to ride an Atlantis, which looks like it could be my next bike (down the road). The guys at the shop were super helpful, friendly, and knowledgeable. Marc Brandt, the nephew of Jobst Brandt (of The Bicycle Wheel fame) helped me fit and test a couple of bikes. The quality of these frames cannot be overstated. They really are beautiful, and lighter than you would think considering how often Grant mentions that lightness is not really a design feature. "They're as light as they need to be." The shop was so low key that it was difficult to find.

Rivendell don't post an address most places and say "call us for directions." I can see why. It's tucked off in a building with a few muffler shops, upholsterers, small-time auto repair, etc.

So for general impressions of the bikes I road: extremely comfortable. I got the feeling when i came home that my Peugeot is actually perhaps a little small for me. After riding the 64cm Quickbeam they set up for me, I discovered that it was so comfortable that I wanted to take one home on the spot. Well, that didn't happen, but I now have the bug for sure. I road those odd-looking mustache handlebars, too, and they turn out to be just as comfortable as Grant claims. But they're weird looking, so don't expect to see a set on my Peugeot any time soon.

If you're even in SF... drop by Rivendell in Walnut Creek. It's very much worth the trip.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

I'm Back

After a vacation and short hiatus I'm back and cycling. It has been wet this week in Portland and I'm going to finish installing my Vélo Orange fenders so I don't get filthy riding on damp roads. I may make a stop to pick up a decent rain jacket for riding as well. I'm intending to ride all through the winter, otherwise known as "the rainy season." We'll see how it goes.

On another note, I am going to be building my wheels finally this week. With everything going on it seems I have just never gotten to it. I'll post pics of the process and the finished wheels.

The Raleigh Competition I picked up just before leaving for England for two weeks has not yet been touched. I may build it up with parts in my bins, including the Shimano 600EX cranks I picked up when I got the Fuji. Pics as that progresses, too.