Several years ago I went through a small-wheel bike phase. I was enamored of their appearance, the twitchy steering (compared to a full-size bike), and the ways they folded into more compact sizes for storage and transport.
My Dahon Hon Solo is one of the bikes I own as a result of that phase. A limited edition single speed model Dahon came out with in 2006 (500 total made), this bike rides on 20-inch wheels and came stock with Nitto moustache bars and leather grips, a Brooks B-17 saddle, and dainty lace-wood fenders. Full specs of the original bike can be found here.
It’s been just over one year and around 5,500 miles since Felkerino and I said goodbye to our Co-Motion Speedster and began riding our Co-Motion Java tandem.
Now that we’ve put both of these tandems through their paces, I wanted to compare the two bikes and revisit the choice we made to replace our Speedster with the Java.
Lately I’ve been on a mission to ride all of my bikes more often. This is partially due to needing to clean the Surly LHT as well as change out a tube, but also because if I’m going to own multiple bikes I feel should make the effort to ride them all.
The past couple weeks, I’ve commuted almost exclusively on my Velo Orange Mixte, built up from a frame set I purchased over two years ago.
The Velo Orange is a great town bike. Reasonably priced and built up primarily with existing parts in the Dining Room Bike Shop (most of them coming off of my old commuter, a Novara Randonnee), I’m happy to be riding it again.
For those unfamiliar with Bike Friday and their bikes, the Pocket Rocket is a high performance folding bike. It is not a fast folder, like a Brompton or a Bike Friday Tikit, but rather a packable folder. Ours are built with 20-inch wheels and they are designed to break down easily into a standard-size suitcase.
I purchased my pre-owned Pocket Rocket directly from Bike Friday in 2005. It was a year or two old when I became its owner.
I had just gotten into cycling, including riding RAGBRAI the summer before I bought it, and was enamored by the idea of a packable road bike that I could use on supported tours or when I went on travel for work.
Felkerino and I celebrated New Bike Day at the Dining Room Bike Shop this past weekend. New Bike Day New Bike Day!
This edition was particularly exciting, as 1. the bike was for me; and 2. I purchased the frame and fork in June of last year, but took another ten months to get the parts for the bike in order.
The bike I purchased is a Rawland Nordavinden, designed by Rawland Cycles out of Danvile, California. Unlike the Rawland dSogns that Felkerino and I own which are a mix between a mountain and cross bike, the Nordavinden is meant to be a fast-ish
touring “all road” bicycle.
Photo by Felkerino
While I think it could be a little duplicative of my Rivendell Romulus in some ways, the Nordavinden appealed to me for several reasons.
Some people have inquired about the various steeds that call the Dining Room Bike Shop home. You can check out most of mine on the “My Bikes” page. Over the next few weeks (or however long that actually translates in terms of time I have to blog) I’ll be featuring the bikes Felkerino rides.
These reviews will not be uber technical so if spec description overload is what you seek, best go check out some other blog. Rather, they will be descriptions through my eyes, my eyes being those focused on the practical and other aspects that catch my attention.
First up is Felkerino’s aluminum, made in the USA, Cannondale T700 tourer. This bike, of 1992 vintage, is one of the first road bikes Felkerino ever owned as a grownup, and serves as his primary commuter.
I tend to have an overall preference for diamond frames, and never considered myself a mixte sort of person. However, a couple of years ago Velo Orange was selling off a batch of their mixte frames at the attractive price of $300 so I mixed up the bike stable by adding a mixte to it.
Velo Orange Mixte, acquitting herself well after climbing a steep hill
Over the next year Felkerino and I (okay, mostly Felkerino) built it up with a variety of parts from the Dining Room Bike Shop, including the front Rivendell Mark’s rack by Nitto, Nitto S83 seatpost, gearing, pedals, Tektro brakes, handlebars, and the bags.
Due to unforeseen circumstances (to be discussed in another post), our Co-Motion tandem will not be around for a while. In the meantime, Felkerino and I still want to tandem together so we decided to put our original brevet tandem, a Cannondale mountain frame, back into service for some summer rides and any upcoming fall brevets we do. Because of its industrial dark gray hue and bulky aluminum tubing, Felkerino nicknamed it the “lead sled.”
Cannondale tandem, back in service
Felkerino invested some serious time this past week to make the Cannondale rando ready. He put on new tires, transitioned our saddles and handlebars over from the Co-Motion, and measured and remeasured to mimic our Co-Motion measurements as much as possible.
This weekend we took the lead sled out for a 73-mile shakedown ride to see how it- and we- would fare. While it’s quite a switch to go from riding a steel tandem that’s been made especially for you to a stock Large-in-front, Medium-in-back aluminum-frame tandem with 26-inch wheels, our ride went better than I expected.
Recently, I took a break from riding my Surly Long Haul Trucker because it was just too dirty to ride. Every time I touched the bike I deposited dirt somewhere on my person. I washed it over the weekend (OK, Felkerino washed it over the weekend) and now it’s too clean to ride.
Surly Long Haul Trucker
In the interim, I dusted off my Bike Friday Pocket Rocket and have been tooling around on it instead. I really like my Bike Friday, but spending the week on the Pocket Rocket made me realize why I hop on my Surly LHT almost every day for my commute.
Quickbeam visits the White House
Lately I’ve been riding my Rivendell Quickbeam around. It started because my Surly got so dirty I just couldn’t take it anymore and I set it aside for a bath. Then I cleaned the Surly and now I still can’t ride it because it’s clean, and riding it will make it dirty again. And since Felkerino and are no longer dating and he is my real life spouse, I have to clean all my own bikes. Sigh. Life is rough.
I did not always ride single speed. I used to have an aluminum Specialized Langster fixed gear.
Have you ever ridden an aluminum fixed gear? Holy cow! Continue reading