Long miles on a bike mean a quality frame and components. I have learned the hard way of not purchasing good quality materials, up front, no matter the area that I’m currently in. It seems as though I always buy cheap, well, crap for my needs. I luckily had purchased my decent Fuji thanks to Craigslist for way too high of a price. But, after 40 mi in the saddle on this bike – things get a little uncomfortable, everywhere. I’ve tried all the tricks: padded gloves, padded handlebar tape, standing up for periods, etc. There comes a point where the Fuji rattles my soul, ha. But seriously.
The decision on a new bicycle is complicated due to being caught liking both a road bike and wanting to traverse long miles with pannier racks and at the same time keeping it on a budget. When I’m not working or sleeping, that 2 hours of the day is spent blog surfing. I came across Velo Orange via the great Classic Rendezvous website and discovered the different equipment of randonneuring. I won’t bore you with what that actually is (or maybe I’m already boring you) so here’s a good link explaining it.
It’s been a pleasure learning about this different style of riding. Instead of being in the tuck position and worrying about grams of weight the ride is more focused on the bike taking you places, unsupported. I wouldn’t say this type of cycling is slower though. A good brevet rider would have an average speed of 18mph. With fenders even? Yes, with fenders.
After a few months of riding long distances I know more of what I want and sounds like the Campeur Frame from Velo Orange will provide that. Today I purchased this frame along with a headset, cantilever brakes, white cable kit and a cable stop for the front brake system – a very big day for me! I didn’t purchase a BB due to not knowing what crank I want yet. I actually ordered a size larger than I have now – 55cm to get a good top tube length. (Next down was a 53cm which seemed too small) VO says it is just as good with or without a rack due to their extensive testing, especially because of the fork but that may be biased – we’ll see.
A few things that I’d like to do differently than VO would do would be regular set of handlebars but drop-down and don’t jet out to the side, 2 sprockets, downtube shifters, small front rack, pedal cages just to make this bike do some work and to make it have an aggressive set up. I look forward to taking this bike down some good gravel roads around the Shenandoah or horse country west of Fredericksburg….some day. Big plans….Lord willing. This build will honestly take a lot of time. By the end of the build I want a bike that can last thousands of miles and still be good to ride. I’ll update this with some photos when the frame arrives for the multitudes to see. Yeah…right.