Since we’ve been on the subject of randonneurs and coffeeneurs in Alaska, I thought I’d start out the week with a long overdue Bikes to Like, featuring my flickr friend and RBA of the Alaska Randonneurs, Kevin Turinsky. What kind of bike does this Alaska randonneur choose for the varied conditions Alaska offers? Read on and find out!
1. What kind of bike do you have?
A 2005 Rivendell Atlantis 61cm.
2. Where do you ride it?
I live and ride in and around Anchorage, Alaska. However, I’ve taken this bike all over Southcentral and Interior Alaska. We’ve got some beautiful roads up here. It’s been ridden down in Homer (the “End of the Road”), up in Denali National Park, and up around Delta Junction and Tok.
I use it as a road bike, primarily for commuting and riding brevets, but I also ride it as a mountain bike on the trails up here. I’ve even raced a full season of ‘cross with it, and I didn’t come in last!
It’s gone to Maui with me three times. I’ve put on a ton of kilometers there. The riding in Maui is just incredible. I couldn’t go back without the Atlantis.
3. What do you like about your bike?
I was really torn between getting a Rambouillet and the Atlantis. I’m glad I got the Atlantis.
What I like most about it is its versatility. I have three sets of wheels that totally change the personality of the Atlantis. I have my Velocity Synergys that I commute, mountain bike, and ‘cross with; Aeroheads for brevets; and SnowCats (44mm wide) for winter.
The Atlantis has an incredible amount of wheel clearance; it has super wide chainstays, and a big, tall fork. This alone lets me have one bike to do most everything with.
I don’t know of another conventional road-type bike that I could put SnowCat rims with 52mm WTB Nanos on and ride winter trails with. Granted, it’s not like riding a real Fatbike with 80mm rims, but it allows me a lot of winter riding! Packed trails are great!
I like that it’s stout too. This bike gets handled a lot. Initially I was afraid the tubes were too beefy. But this bike can handle being put in the back of a pickup with some saw horses, chainsaws, and crab pots and getting jostled around a bit.
4. If you had to describe your bike in one word, what would it be?
5. Fenders or no fenders?
Oh, definitely fenders! I’m known for having a fender fetish. My roadie friends tease me about it. Fenders are critical here in Alaska. I went to school in Seattle and discovered their benefits there. I just use the plastic ones because I’m always changing my tire sizes and wheels.
Fenders are so key during brevets with hours of cold rain. They keep you so much cleaner and drier. I think you’re crazy to ride without them.
I do wish SKS made extra-long fenders. I noticed they have a new, longer set on the market now. But I’m experimenting with extending my own, a la zip-ties.
I don’t really use fenders in the winter, of course. However, I do put little sheets of Coroplast on the bottoms of my front and rear racks. The only time I’ve ridden without fenders is on Maui.
6. What is one of your favorite memories with this bicycle?
Late fall S24Os (sub-24-hour overnight) up in the Chugach Range behind Anchorage, not making the summit and riding home through the snow.
Summer beach riding camping trips down on the Kenai Peninsula along Cook Inlet with our daughter.
Pre-dawn starts from Haiku, Maui to Hana and back.
A brutal 400K, riding at night through howling wind and driving rain, exhausted, alone, and too afraid to stop and rest because I knew I’d die of hypothermia.
7. Does your bike have a name? If so, what is it?
Nope. We just refer to it as “The Atlantis”
8. What is your favorite accessory on your bike and why?
It’s a toss up between the Nelson Longflap, the Nitto front rack/basket combo, and the Crane bell.
If I had to have just one favorite, it would be the basket. It gets back to that versatility thing again. The basket is great for camping. It’s wonderful for commuting. It’s carried a lot of salmon. I put two rose bushes in it for Mother’s day.
Every bike in our family, including our tandem, has that rack/basket setup. Our daughter rides to piano lessons with her music in her basket. It’s also the best way to carry almost enough beer on a bike!
For brevets I just snip the zip-ties and put my Berthoud bag on.
9. If your bike could talk, what is one thing it would say to you?
“Kev, you don’t ride enough! Get off that damn computer, do some wrenchin’, and let’s ride!”
10. What did I forget to ask that you want to tell me about your bike?
What kind of grease do you use? Phil.
What’s with that bar tape? Cinelli cork, double-wrapped.
Why do you ride a 61 when you could really be riding a 64? It’s much safer dismounting in soft snow from a 61.
Thanks so much for your insightful and entertaining post, Kevin. My husband loves his Atlantis, too, and it’s great to see how you make it a bike for so many things throughout the seasons.