Errin’s Box Dog Pelican Randonneur

Yesterday I went down to the LA River Camp Coffee meet-up to drink some coffee and see what this weekly gathering is all about. While I was there, I shot Errin’s Box Dog Pelican rando bike, set up with panniers.

This bike was made by Banjo Bicycles – they’re made by Winter now – in production runs and are sold by Box Dog Bikes in small batches. Errin’s has seen some mileage, which you can follow along on his blog Frontage Roads. I love randonneur bikes that become commuters when they’re not being drug through the shit on a brevet.

See more details in the Gallery and many thanks to Errin for organizing the LA River Camp Coffee meetups, more on that tomorrow!

  • Goog Smells

    OK, can someone plz explain the rando sticker to me…

    • John Watson

      So… in a randonée or brevet, riders must hit checkpoints or “controls” by a certain time. Sometimes it’s a gas station, or a diner and they need to prove that they made it there, so they need a receipt for their brevet card.

      • Goog Smells

        That makes more sense. I assumed that randonneuring was synonymous with touring. Thanks for setting that straight.

    • Brad Wenner

      you typically ride through the night and have to get receipts at the checkpoints…

  • Trenton South

    I really like these bags, who makes them?

  • Matthew J

    Banjo made the original Box Dog run. Given the miles on Errin’s ride, I’m guessing that is definitely a Banjo.

    But Eric Estlund / Winter Bicycles is making most if not all Box Dogs now.

    • John Watson

      Yeah, I fixed that after the post went live…

    • Area45

      Yep, mine was a transitional frame. Bought it prior to the switch.

      • Matthew J

        I met Ahren at the shop he shared in Madison with Jonny Cycles and Revolution Cycles. Cool guy, great builder. Be nice to see new stuff from him.

        • Area45

          It’s a great frame. He’s got a cool name too!

  • kasual

    Great bike! I’m about to start building up a Koga-Miyata randonneur from the mid 80’s and this is totally inspiration for me. Very excited on the idea of a nice steel rando as a commuter, even if it never makes out to a brevet (which I have yet to see organized in this part of the world). Thanks for profiling this bike, John, made my day!

  • Alex Hillis

    I regularly walk by Box Dog to peek at the Winter Cycles Pelican they have in the window. So beautiful. Also, damn do I love the Outside Is Fred sticker and bottles on this bike.

  • Area45

    Oh man my bike looks so filthy. I swear I don’t hate my bike. I swear! Great seeing you out there John!

    • Aaron

      It’s funny how dirty a bike with a normal level of dirt on it will look when thrown up here in a photo gallery.

    • Richard Dreyer

      Usage and filth please the cycling gods.

    • geoff.tewierik

      beausage is a wonderful thing.

  • hans

    great bike, greater guy!

  • charlesojones


  • Jamesjames

    Can someone explain why bikes like this, as well as some of the other shots i’ve seen on this site for bike camping/touring, use panniers at the front (instead of the rear). Doesn’t front pannier weight affect steering and control? Wouldn’t it be better to have them on a rear rack? I haven’t ever had panniers…so i’m in the dark on the reasoning. Thanks

    • John Watson

      Front loading affects the bike’s handling far less than rear. The weight is low, allowing you to get out of the saddle and climb, as well as descend predictably. As long as the geometry is designed to handle it. It’s all preference but I will never rear load.

    • boomforeal

      it’s trendy

    • Matthew J

      Google low, medium and high trail. Far from being trendy, medium low to low trail bikes that accommodate front bias loads have been used for touring and porteur set ups for many years.

      In the right hands a lower trail design bike can use lighter more sporty tubing to move the same amount of weight as a bike designed for rear racks.

      In addition to ride and handling, it is easier to access front packs while on the road than rear.

      • Philip Kim

        exactly, front load balances out weight for medium to low trail and is more stable. you gotta figure the rider weight as well when talking about weight distribution on a bike.

  • FAT999

    I’m always intrigued by these 650B rando bikes but they’re almost unheard of in Australia. Have read the theory of why they make sense and would love to try one.

    • Pete

      I am the proud owner of a Winter BDB Pelican in Oz. Fair to say it is the focus of local curiosity. Took it on a large organised ride last month and much curiosity at a steel frame (alone, in a sea of carbon), and the full rando catastrophe of fenders, racks, bags, lights and Nitto. It is beautiful to gaze upon and the Winter craftsmanship is precise and understated. To ride it is akin to driving a turbo diesel – lopes along no fuss. Getting dark? Switch on the Schmidt and keep going. Only the 49 year old legs hold it back. Steel, aluminium, leather and cotton. No regrets. Be warned to factor in about $1k to land it in Oz.

      • FAT999

        You’re obviously a convert to the 650B format and are enjoying your new Pelican. I’m still in the honeymoon period with a Llewellyn road bike – again, steel and a phenomenal ride.

  • Kerry Nordstrom

    Rando Famous!

  • bongofruit

    I have always wondered this: how do those White Industries VBC cranks stack up against forged cranks and rings from Shimano, et al.?

    • carl bradtmiller

      when you open a new crankset from white industries and hold the solid billet arms in your hands and feel the edges machined so nicely that they could slice you open, you will have no doubt about the quality. they are perfect for what they are designed to do.

      also, that style is not uncharted waters, splined interface cranks are super common now thanks to srm compatability and some of the most chi chi are splined

  • Anthony M. Garcia

    I got a look at one at Box Dog in May. They’re beautiful frames, and this is a great build.

  • fitzy6669

    loving the colours on the swift panniers

  • Pablo Matus


  • Ryan Kingkade

    Man oh man. That’s the bee’s knees right there! I love a good rando build. Mmmm…..=)