The Travelin’ Man’s Firefly!
Photos and words by Kyle Kelley
Yo! What time the plane leaving?
I met Nick at LA River Camp Coffee a few months back. He was traveling through California on a true cyclist’s holiday, riding anything and everything that the state had to offer. While in LA Nick was staying at another cyclist’s Airbnb, which is how he heard about River Camp Coffee. I have never used Airbnb personally, but if I do, this sounds like the way to go. Nick had access to a local’s endless knowledge of events, rides and the best local bike shop to have a beer! Long story short, Nick knows what he’s doing when it comes to travel and I don’t just mean in the way of booking accommodations. He applied his knowledge to building his ultimate travel bike, too.
Nick’s base was a stainless steel Firefly road bike with S&S Couplers. He chose stainless steel because of the coating that naturally forms when the chromium in the steel mingles with the oxygen in the atmosphere. The passive film protects the stainless from rust and corrosion without the necessity for paint. A smart choice in my book because traveling with a painted bike almost always ends poorly. Nick also chose to use as many Ti and alloy parts as possible because of their ability to take a beating and hide scratches from afar. Even though this bike was purpose built, in no way did Nick skimp on any of the components. From the cult classic Campy gruppo to the skewers used with the White Industries wheelset, this bike is dialed.
Any travel bike is going to get beaten up, but Nick has planned ahead and I imagine his bike will look almost exactly same when we meet again. I’m just hoping it’s not in Los Angeles. I’d prefer for it to be at Shifter Bikes, where this bike was built, while I’m on my own holiday staying at a cyclist’s Airbnb in Melbourne!
Follow Kyle on Instagram.