Bikes to Like: Mike W.’s Custom Waterford
In randonneuring, you get to know people by what bike they ride. I first met Mike after seeing his bike in the parking lot. “Who owns this bike?” I wondered. “Someone with an excellent randonneuring aesthetic!”
I found out the owner was Mike, who started riding with the D.C. Randonneurs this year. Mike’s positive attitude, sense of humor, and tenacity make him a perfect randonneur! And did I mention his bike? A custom steel steed that I’m thrilled to feature on Bikes to Like.
1. What kind of bike do you have?
I have a custom fitted Waterford ST22 frame. It was built up by Bike Doctor in Frederick, Maryland. I purchased the frame in September 2010 and then began accumulating the parts to build it up. It was delivered to me in February 2011.
I wanted to use as many American-made parts as possible, and found out that they can be 50 to 100 percent more expensive. The bike dude told me it was worth it and I assumed he knew what he was talking about. After all, he is the bike dude.
The highlights: Lugged steel, S&S couplers, Schmidt generator hub, Supernova light, White Industries crank and bottom bracket, Paul canti brakes, custom built wheels, and Berthoud handlebar bag. Needless to say, I spent more money than I ever thought I would on a bike….yikes!
2. What prompted you to get a Waterford, and how did you decide on the color?
I started riding again about four years ago after the kids went to college and after a 30-plus year break. I then joined the Frederick Pedalers and met Bill Smith who mentioned this thing called randonneuring. I researched the subject and started reading about what kind of bike one should have.
The next thing I know, I am looking for a custom built steel bike and found the Waterford site. I scrolled through their many bikes and wanted something red to match my red cycling clothes. I didn’t want to buy new clothes to match a new bike.
I eventually settled on Wineberry. Buttery is the only way to describe the paint job. It’s awesome!
3. Where do you ride it?
Mostly on brevets. I tried riding the bike with the local bike club and realized that long slow riding on a heavy bike is not truly appreciated on a club ride. So I have to leave my baby home and ride the go-fast bike with the club if I want to keep pace.
I also travel overseas sometimes and have plans to ride the Waterford everywhere I go – hence the couplers.
4. What do you like about your bike?
So many things. It is very very comfortable. I can ride all day and all night and feel no discomfort whatsoever. It’s also built like a Mack truck – solid!
5. If you had to describe your bike in one word, what would it be?
One word could not and would not do it justice, but under extreme duress I would say supercalafragalisticexpialadoshus!
6. Fenders or no fenders?
Recently, I was told on a ride by people I will not mention that my fenders were all about me because I did not have the extended mud flap. I told Nick and George that it is, of course, all about me and that they are welcome to ride ahead so I can continue to draft them.
I think I’ll keep the mud flap off for a while until I don’t need to draft anyone anymore.
7. Does your bike have a name? If so, what is it?
No name, although it does have my name painted on it. I was gonna call it “my girl” but my wife did not approve. Can someone please explain this?
8. What is your favorite accessory on your bike and why?
The Garmin eTrex Vista HCx – very very helpful in the dark. Also, the handlebar bag filled with stuff – stuff that I rarely eat or use, but good to know that I have if needed.
9. What did I forget to ask that you want to tell me about your bike?
You forgot to ask how much did this cost me…..let’s just say it was cheaper than a sports car!
10. If your bike could talk, what is one thing it would say to you?
Actually, the option for a talking bike was too expensive.
The stainless steel bottom bracket shell does wink at me from time to time when I look down to see if I did really run out of gears as I climb these mountains. It’s as if to say “You can do it, just keep pedaling.”
Thanks, Mike, for taking the time to be part of Bikes to Like! By the way, Mike has a full set of pics featuring his Waterford here.