This year was to be the first year Nao Tomii of Tomii Cycles was going to attend NAHBS. For a small builder like Nao, spending the kind of money it takes to pull a seat up to the table of the USA’s largest hand made bicycle show takes a lot of financial planning, so when NAHBS was postponed this year, Tomii Cycles wouldn’t be able to attend. Most builders display customer’s bikes at NAHBS and asking his clients to wait four more months for their bikes, especially during a pandemic was out of the question. I reached out to Nao and asked if we could display his bikes here at the Radavist, so we’re doing just that…
A while ago Liz and I were rolling through Connecticut, on a mission to eat the best pizza in the world. We went to Frank Pepe’s, Sally’s, Modern, and BAR, a list provided to us by the one and only Ronnie Romance. Ronnie even told us a story of a date at BAR that would forever change his life, but both of us still agreed that Sally’s was the best pizza New Haven had to offer, and I’ll even go as far and say it’s the best pizza I’ve ever had. Ronnie and I have shared pizzas all across the globe, we’ve also shared many stories while eating pizza, and besides Namz, I don’t think anyone person has come up more than Peter Weigle. To me, Peter Weigle is a living legend, dealing in a world I know very little about, and because of this, I thought untouchable. Well… besides holding a can of his Frame Saver. To Ronnie, Peter is an old friend, who shaped the way he pieces his own bikes together to share with the thousands followers along for the ride. Hints, making everything Peter does “The New/Old Hot Thing”!
Next week, we’re going to peer into the workshop of JP Weigle, but we’re going to share his bike first, as an introduction to those who might not be aware of who the hell Mr. Weigle is, what he’s known for, and just how stunning his bikes are. Take some time and really mull over these photos because the work of Peter Weigle is second to none!
There were so many bikes at Peter’s worthy of being shot, but there was something about this particular bike that I just kept going back to. It was the cleanest, but for some reason felt like it was the most loved. I could’ve shot the bike that Jan Heine reviewed in 2017 for Bicycle Quarterly, but there was just something about this very blue bike that had me going crazy.
First of all, we’d like to thank all of you who have submitted Readers Rides builds to be shared over here. The response has been incredible, with hundreds already in our email box. I’m not sure how often we’ll be posting them but I figured we’d start it off this week with Tom’s Singular Peregrine fat tire randonneur…
Behold, a timeless diamond in the crust. The “cantibolt” is the “sign a waiver” lightest tubed-cantilever-1” threaded offering from Crust Bikes; the first name in Boastfully Poor Business Decisions Index Weekly. A riff on the Jan Mule that so famously/infamously dons just about every other page of Bicycle Quarterly; the Crust version has coincidentally received praise from its muse… the sultan of supple; the prince of planing himself… Jan Heine uuuuuuvvv Bicycle Quarterly.
Saturday, the 9th and Sunday, the 10th of May, 2020 brings about the fifth edition of the Rando Imperator, a European Randonnée from Germany to Italy. The event is part of the official Italian Audax calendar offering three different brevet courses: Munich-Ferrara (600km), Munich-Bozen (300km), Bozen-Ferrara (300km) and Bozen-Mantua (200km). See more information at Rando Imperator.
18 lbs? 17 lbs? 16 lbs? What is weight anyway? Weight doesn’t matter but it doesn’t hurt either. Especially when your golden locks and bronze tan lines float effortlessly across white gravel roads, coating the roadside flora in a light layer of sedimentary seasoning. Dust, baby. It’s good for you. Yes, Ronnie Romance knows how to build a bike from a fine assortment of vintage components, exotic, supple rubber, and a bit of suntan oil. Case in point, his Crust Bikes Lightning Bolt is lighter than a soft whisper.
Paris-Brest-Paris is a crucible, a pilgrimage, a quest. Paris-Brest-Paris is a cycling event. It runs 1200km (768 Miles) from Paris to Brest on the coast and back. Out and back. 6,000 people participate. They start in waves, pulsing towards the French Coast in a chrome-fendered murmuration of wool jerseys, Berthoud bags, and dyno lights. Racers have to finish their migration to the coast and back in 90 hours. 90 hours, on a bike – that’s little to very little sleep. That’s riding pretty much straight through.
Lilac Dreams and the Velo Orange Polyvalent
Photos and words by Morgan Taylor
Looks can be deceiving. The Velo Orange Polyvalent looks like a classic randonneuring bike, particularly when dressed in an all-silver build kit. But, after many miles and various tire and bag changes, a different story emerged for me. While its handling characteristics are markedly different, the Polyvalent is a peer – and interesting alternative – to the popular all-steel drop bar adventure bikes out there like the Soma Wolverine, Surly Straggler, Kona Rove, and so on.
Now in its fourth iteration, the Polyvalent for the first time gets disc brakes, and that’s exactly what prompted me to reach out to Velo Orange about doing a review. Over the past few years I’ve been exploring how the widely varying combinations of steel frames and wide tires manifest in ride quality. Yes, I’m still on the hunt for the elusive smooth-riding production disc brake bike. Could the Polyvalent Mk4 be the one?
BQ takes their bike reviews very seriously:
“How do you test a bike like Mitch Pryor’s latest MAP All-Road? With its 48 mm-wide tires, fenders, racks and full lights, this is a bike designed for epic rides. How about taking it on a 30-hour, non-stop ride that traverses four mountain passes and crosses the crest of the Cascade Mountains twice?”
Sara, a participant at the Rando Imperator, describes how she approached ultra cycling, thanks to her friend.
Philly Bike Expo 2018: Coast Cycles Randonneur
Photos and words by Jarrod Bunk
Brooklyn’s Johnny Coast knows a thing or two about traditional randonneuring frames, as evident in this year’s Philly Bike Expo bike. Thin lugs, light tubing, custom stem, and all the appropriate accouterment. Built from Tange lightweight tubing, Johnny designed this bike to be light and responsive, offering a lively feel.
Coast Cycles offers bikes like this, as well as touring bikes, city bikes, mixte, road bikes, and even track bikes.
I met Norther Cycles owner StarMichael back in 2015 here in Portland at the Bike and Beer festival where I shot one of his creations, a beautiful randonneuring frame. As with most of 2015’s content, when our server crashed, we lost the images. Bummer! So when Rie and the Sim Works crew said they were going to a few shops to deliver tires and racks, I tagged along, especially once I heard they were going to Norther Cycles.
“Where did all the mermaids go?” asks the new Crust Bikes Bombora and if you pay attention to the beautiful graphics, designed by Rick Hayward, and head badge on this touring bike, you might be able to decipher the story. The Bombora is the latest bike to pop onto the plump Crust Bikes lineup, designed around a 27.5 x 2.4″ tire and road cranks. Is it a light tourer? Or a randonneur? Or a dirt tourer? Bikepacking rig? City bike? Who knows. As Matt from Crust Bikes puts it;
“Named the Bombora, this machine is pretty groundbreaking, in that it is the first two-wheeled unicycle, designed around 2.3-24 650b tires and road cranks. Man, I cant hype shit up. Its just a bike that is fun to ride and in my opinion looks nice. The pictures show what it’s about I guess.”
Rightfully so. There’s more information to follow on the Bombora, but for now, let’s try to decypher this bike’s meaning – it’s place in the universe – by investigating more photos below.
In 1971, Panasonic Bicycles first began exporting bicycles to the USA and while their bikes in Japan are mostly consumer-level mamachari and other commuter cycles, this year at NAHBS, their hand-made division brought this beautiful randonneur with Shimano Ultegra, various Nitto products, and one of the wildest finishes I saw at the show.
Down on Rando Alley at NAHBS this year, a few booths from the J.P. Weigle randonneur and the Chapman randonneur, was this Johnny Coast. It’d been a while since I’ve seen Johnny, or his work but I began my Saturday morning documenting this bike before the crowds descended upon the show. Everything about this bike was a pleasure to photograph and it’s one of my favorite drive-side shots from the entire weekend.
You know what I love about this bike? It’s been out there, getting dirty and living it up in the randonneuring trenches. It was built for the Concours de Machines, which you can read all about at Jan Heine’s blog. This competition is used to determine the best lightweight randonneuring bike and adheres to very strict rules. While this feat may sound intimidating, for Peter Weigle, it’s just another day in the shop. You see, Weigle is a master of his craft and it’s the details you can’t see that make his bikes so extraordinary. His construction techniques are second to none and his bikes are meant to get ridden, not to be hung on a wall in someone’s personal bicycle gallery. A Weigle wants to live its life to the fullest and luckily for the owners of his bicycles, the pleasure is shared between the two. To top it off, this bike, as shown here weighs 20lbs (9.1kg) on the nose and can be broken down easily to “Rinko Parts,” or the Japanese method of breaking down bikes for train travel.
Two years ago, I flew to Sweden to document the Sverigetempot, the longest randonneur event in the world. ERTZUI FILM was there too, covering the event with their pristine eye for video. Now, after a long, long wait, the film is live on VOD. Head to VOD to watch, check out some of my favorite photos below and see the coverage in the Related sidebar.