I love when I can take full use of the Campeur. This morning I had a free and very quick pass without the baby and quickly saw it as an opportunity to go grab a latte at the local Starbucks in Vienna. I quickly put on my jeans, long socks, sneakers and no helmet to go around the corner.


It was just before lunchtime when I was done so I decided to go down to Skorpios to pick up some Greek food for the family. Thanks to my front bag and the rear Carradice (thanks again Brook) I put a whole family’s lunch on the bike and went happily home to a hungry crowd.

THIS is why I love the setup I have. If I feel like grabbing lunch for a whole family I can. No cleats or Lycra required.



Muckle Flugga

I’ve been breaking in the Campeur. This past week was my first dry run on it to work – I enjoyed it but was quite hard at times. The usual distance (12 mi, 400 ft elevation change) unloaded would take me 45 minutes but loaded mostly downhill from Vienna it took 59. The way back was tough, I had a 15mph headwind and uphill all the way, oh and 20 lbs of “gear” like a laptop and change of clothes. So it took me 1 hr 12 minutes in 28 degree weather. Esh. STILL 30 minutes faster than my old commute which I’ll take and FREE. I won’t do that again most likely until the sun/temperatures are up for longer periods of time.

I learned a lot of things from that run, things I need to heed to make my commute far easier. First, I invested time into installing a remote computer program to work on my laptop from my computer at home. It’s very neat and it saves me about 10 lbs so I’ll take it. Second, always wear cycling shoes. I didn’t wear them due to it being dark and for fear I wouldn’t be able to clip in easily but I’ll get over that. They won’t let me slip which can’t happen when there is a lot of weight on the back for safety reasons. Third, I just need to do it more and get into shape. Fourth, my top tube length is longer than the previous so I adjusted the fore/aft positions of the saddle today. Fifth, take your time.

Other Things..

Today, I went on a short ride around town, about 15 mi or so, it doesn’t matter. But, after adjusting the saddle closer to the stem, if that makes sense, about 6mm and lowering the saddle too, to about 2mm shorter, the bike felt a lot more suited to me. I didn’t want to push the saddle closer so split the difference with lowering the saddle. Call me Eddy Merckx but those changes make a lot of difference! The old proverbial high saddle, low stem look isn’t practical and it is something I’ve come to terms with getting rid of. Both for necessity and practicality.

Going down a few long hills today was even more wonderful after completing more fitting adjustments. A few of these hills had me going around 25-30 mph. I don’t pretend to brag about speed but I will brag about this bike’s completely stable feel it has for going fast such as that. Any other bike (including carbon) I’ve ridden usually starts shaking, unstable, etc but not this one. At first, I thought it was due to the bike being a little heavier but no, it is actually lighter than my Fuji and it is loaded with a rack and fenders.

A lot of folks (including family, friends) don’t really understand why I (and other folks like me) spend so much money on a recreational tool if you want to call it that. But, I say this. This feeling aforementioned, a momentary feeling of oneness with a machine and to be totally in control, to go fast and not feel at all daunted is everything which led me to make this decision. Beyond that, I don’t know how else to explain it. Guess you just had to be there. Done.

Muckle Flugga – the northern most point in the UK, in the Shetland Island chain. Watching this video inspired me to name my bike that. Some bike folks think its childish to name a bike, some love it. I love it and so from here on out I think I’ll name my bike “Muckle” for short. After all, this bike is supposed to take me places right?

I’ve Been Framed

This past week I received my new VO Campeur frame + fork along with some key components. I have looked and studied this frame many times over the past couple of weeks actually holding it was a different story. Below is a picture of the frame and other close ups.



Keeping in mind the whole bike isn’t put together obviously, the frame felt relatively light but solid. I was really pleased with this. Pretty soon I’ll take it to a bike store to put the headset and brake adapter on just so the fork and frame can be forever married. Plus it’s easier to keep up with one thing rather than three. In case your wondering why a bike guy has to take it somewhere to do this, it’s because the tools costs around $50 or more and you only use them once a year, if that. Love the seatpost curve by the way, below..


I look forward to the long road ahead, will keep on posting pictures as the frame is built over time. I have a feeling I will purchase the drive-train components next and then the rest of the pie from VO sometime next year. I’m researching the drive-train options right now. I plan to downgrade from a 52 or 53 teeth large sprocket to a 48 and balancing it out with smaller cogs in the rear. The only time I probably would ever love a 52 teeth would be on long downhills like I do now. Talk soon.

Part Deux

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.

Campeur Frame+Headset

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.