Most cyclists don't race, yet they ride uncomfortable racing bikes and try to go too fast and so miss much of the world around them. Our emphasis is on a more relaxed and comfortable style of riding, and on refined bikes that are comfortable on a century ride, an inn-to-inn tour, or even on a ramble down your favorite dirt road.
The Anjou Velo Vintage event is not just a ride. It isn't just a festival. It isn't even a vintage flea market. It's a celebration of all things vintage, fun, refined, and rough around the edges. Folks don their finest vintage-inspired attire, give their moustaches a twirl, have a bottle of Rosé mixed in with fresh cut flowers on a Porteur Rack, and ride a metric century with a few thousand new friends. AVV was truly a remarkable event filled with dancing, delicious food, ogling classic bikes and parts, and a good mid-day sweat session through French farm country, tiny villages, and landmarks in and around Saumur.
I posted this hammered fenderset on one of our Instagram Stories and it garnered a ton of interest and I think it requires a bit more information. In the pursuit of complete and total integration by Constructeurs, the builders would create these platformed rear rack/fender combinations. They are extremely difficult and time consuming to make. They aren't simply flattened, they are formed around a positive tool and beaten into a shape that maintains tire clearance. Some makers would create internal structures under the fender to keep the shape, others would let the fender stand. They cannot take as much weight as a Constructeur Rack can, but they can support simple tool rolls, blankets, light panniers, etc....
Few know that Shimano 600EX is one of Theo's favorite component groups.
In case you forgot your suspenders
This Alex Singer was an exceptionally interesting ride that Enzo of La Bicyclette of Paris brought to the show. While it appears as a traditional French Randonneur, it features heavy influence from Italian designs from the 70s. The bike features a 56cm seat tube, a 54cm top tube, and a rather long stem. It also has no internal lighting accommodations, rather opting for heavy, battery operated flashlights that were to be mounted on the sides of the front rack. The front end also has a higher trail, making it more stable for unloaded and lightly-weighted riding.
Tubeset is 531c (competition grade). I am working on an old Trek that has the same tubeset, so I'm pretty excited.
Maxicar hubs front and rear.
A tremendously smooth shellac job done by Enzo.
The event rides offered ranged from 30km to 100km, so whether you wanted to bring out your weirdest bike and impractical riding outfit or sport-up with a tubular around your shoulders and nailed-in cleats, there's a ride for you. I opted for the 62km route, which was a great combination of mileage, chill time at rest stops, and opportunities to see more of the French countryside that would otherwise be missed.
Riding through a new city can be a test in itself of a rider's navigation skills, awareness of their surroundings, and general understanding of vehicular, pedestrian, and bicycle flow. You want to look and feel like a local, even if you're absolutely terrified of getting lost. Throw in not having practiced the language since high school, and it can be an interesting experience to say the least. Bonjour France!
After visiting our French distributor Mohawk Cycles on the outskirts of the city, we made our way into downtown Paris (of course during rush hour - yikes!). We got to our hotel room, unloaded, and ate a dinner of local grocery store finds. One thing we noticed the first night is that the sun sets quite a bit later than here in Maryland, so that means that there's plenty of time to explore the city before nighttime really takes holds - so I grabbed the Neutrino and headed out to do some reconnaissance of bike lanes and infrastructure for our morning ride, as well as take some photos around the bustling and iconic city center.
Nighttime riding really does sharpen your senses. Automobiles, passionate yelling about something or other, and street crossings stand out so much more, while you blend in. At night, people can't see my touristy bum bag, the cartoonish map sticking out of my back pocket, or my bewildered look as to where the heck the turn I was looking for disappeared to.
The Neutrino performed perfectly. It's nimble geometry made negotiating tight French traffic easy and fat 2.3 tires absorbed construction road chatter, ancient cobbles, and errant potholes effortlessly. It's the perfect city exploration machine, make no bones about it.
Having now more or less put to memory routes, construction, and bike lanes, the three of us set off for a nice morning tour around the city to take in the big sites, sounds, and lots of coffee (ancient jet lag remedy).
Up next: 2019 Anjou Velo Vintage Festival and Ride!
A group that was riding touring bikes where mountain bikes would later go was the Rough Stuff Fellowship in the UK. This hardy band of cyclists rode bikes (and pushed bikes) through the British Isles and the remote regions of Europe well before the folks in Marin County were flying down hill on modified Klunker bikes.
A year ago, the RSF hired an archivist to collect and catalog photos belonging to the club and its members. Now, we finally have a book that reproduces the photos of those rides in glorious color. It's 207 pages thick and over 95% of it is photos of riders/riding scenes. I've been following the process on their Instagram and we were excited to be able to import some copies of the book which is available on our web store.
One of the coolest parts of the book is that they have reprinted the club's account of the first self supported crossing of Iceland by bicycle. Yes, Horace Dahl crossed Iceland in 1933, but had "help" crossing one of the rivers and thus the RSF riders were the first self supported riders, using their own inflatable rafts to cross the rivers in the interior. For those of us obsessed with riding in Iceland, this is pure gold!
There's a reason why MTB's from the 80s and 90s are awesome - splatter paints makes everything 100% more radical. And while the process, on first glance, seems to be time consuming and difficult, it's actually super easy and fun!
All you need is a spread of paints, some cardboard, fenders (mudguards for our friends across the pond), and time. I'd suggest going with three colors: color matched (or close enough), complementary, and analogous. In this case we went with Lilac, Pass Hunter Orange, and Gen1 Piolet Blue. We used extra touch-up paints, but you could really use anything including rattle-can paint sprayed into a cup, nail polish, auto paint, or even model paint.
Prior to splattering I'd suggest getting the fenders 100% ready for mounting. That includes cutting and affixing the stays to the fenders, drilling for frame mounting, and thoroughly cleaning the surface of any grease or fingerprints. Having them ready to mount means you'll be able to re-install without risk of damaging your new, unique paintjob.
Lay some cardboard down to catch excess splatter and use the fender stays to keep everything upright and stationary. Turn up the beats, shake some paints, and get to splattering. Lines, blotches, speckles, and imperfections are all encouraged.
Once you're satisfied, leave them to dry. We left them out in the sun for the afternoon. You can clear coat if you'd like, but we didn't.
Friday was container day, so you know what that means: restocked parts and accessory inventory, tasty group lunch, and temporary cardboard box offices. With this shipment, we received several new products that we are particularly proud of, and I think you'll be quite pleased. Jump down for all the details!
A good set of rims are the cornerstone to any good wheelbuild. With nearly two years of R&D, prototyping, factory visits, and extrusion tooling, the Voyager Rims are finally ready for their debut.
While the Voyager looks like a traditional box section rim, it is packed with modern accoutrements including tubeless compatibility, stainless steel eyelets, and generous tire fitment of 38mm-61mm(2.4"). Magnifique!
Having a tubeless compatible rim means that the tire bead and rim hook are able to interlock, and stay interlocked, without a tube placing external pressure on the inner casing of the tire. There are several design details which make this system work.
The valley of the rim must be sufficiently shallow to create a seal between the rim, tubeless rim tape, and tire prior to attempted inflation. While in theory this may make tire installation tougher, we have tested about a dozen mainstream brand and tire combinations, and have not noticed any difficulties.
The next step in the tire and rim, ehm, relationship is the bead shelf. Notice the small protrusion along either side of the valley. Basically what happens is that once air is forced into the valve by floor pump or compressor, the tire bead expands outward ramps up the bead shelf and once the bead makes the jump, snaps into the hook of the rim with a satisfying *snap*.
Once the tire is properly seated, remove the valve core, inject the manufacturer's recommended amount of sealant in (often based on tire size), replace the valve core, and do the sealant dance. I encourage everyone to have a sealant playlist. Mine has a lot of Elvis. Be sure to read your sealant and valve manufacturers recommendations for all the details on how to create a perfect and reliable setup.
All that said, you can still use a tube in a pinch (pun intended) or if the tire you want is not tubeless compatible.
While it can take bit more initial time to get it all done (with the swishing and swashing), the reward is eliminated or significantly fewer debris and pinch flats and a lighter system without tubes, with the latter having the biggest benefits with the widest sizes of tire. The Voyager Rim is available in 26", 650b/27.5, and 700c/29er in 32 and 36 holes.
While the Enterprise Rim is technically a new rim, it uses a modified RAID Rim extrusion with a single stainless steel eyelet instead of the traditional double eyelet style.
A bit of history: double eyeleted rims were sought-after back in the day because they could better distribute nipple tension within the rim than than single eyelets. This was especially useful for randonneurs and tourers as this design led to less chance of rim cracking and premature replacement.
Today, double eyelets simply aren't necessary. Everything about high-quality modern wheel and tire manufacturing is better. Alloys are stronger and more durable, nipples and spokes are more resilient and longer lasting, and tires are consistent.
We switched to a single, stainless eyelet for each hole and dropped a bunch of weight. These new rims will gladly accept tires ranging from 23-38mm in 700c and 27".
We had quite a number of folks asking for a Smooth variant of our Wavy Fenders. While I think the Wavy Fenders may be the coolest design we've released, I can understand they may not fit everyone's build aesthetic.
If you're going with a clean and modern or traditional and simple, this Smooth set will be perfect. Available in Silver and Noir. 700x38mm Smooth Fenders
In an effort to dial in our fender offerings, we developed this 38mm fenderset to be compatible with tires up to 30mm. They're great for modern road bikes with fender mounts (I love that more companies are offering this feature) or older roadies with fender clearances.
I'm very much aware that we currently offer a 37mm fenderset, you'd be surprised what 1mm of clearance can do for road bike applications. Sometimes you need to make an incremental adjustment to provide the best product going forward. Available in Silver and Noir!
There seems at times to be a divide between two sides in the cycling world. No, I'm not talking about flat bar vs drop bar or 650B vs everything else under the sun, but rather those cyclists who weigh everything they put on the bike vs those that just put parts on and don't care.
I'm brought to this thought as a month back I took my rear rack and rack bag off my touring bike. I'd had that rack for all 17 1/2 years that I've owned my bike and I've had the rack top bag for almost 12 years now. I never really gave them a second thought. They were where I put my spare parts/tubes/cell phone/wallet/keys when out on a ride. However, this past year, my wife has been training for a 1/2 ironman triathlon on a carbon fibre tri bike. On the weekends, we'd go out and do training rides, with her on the tri bike and me on my touring bike. I never really weighed anything until we got Melissa's new-to-her bike and she was curious about it's weight. We weighted it on our industrial scale we use for heavy shipments, and it came out to right around 18lbs.
As Melissa's training for the triathlon increased, the distances and speed increased as well. So in an effort to try and reduce the distance between us, I thought I would take off the rack and bag and start using our Mini-Rando Handlebar Bag instead. So the net result was that I lost 4 lbs off the bike and I still have the tubes/wrenches that I carry every ride and room for the phone/wallet/keys as well.
What have I learned? Well, perhaps paying attention to weight can be an advantage. I've not caught up to Melissa, but I have cut down the gap between us. I still have all the stuff I need with me should I get a flat or such on the ride, but without the weight penalty. I'm not planning on a tour this summer, so I don't need the rack and bag. I don't really see much else on the bike that can be taken off and replaced or just left off.
Are you a weight obsessed cyclist, weighing the rack and bag to get the lightest possible combination or are you more concerned with the look of it/compatibility of it all and weight be damned? Let us know in the comments.
Summer is full swing and we have a Customer Service position at Velo Orange we're excited to fill with the right individual.
The position would be full-time and permanent, 9-5 Monday through Friday with opportunities to attend trade shows for qualified and interested persons. Holidays off with an additional 2 weeks of paid vacation and a week of sick leave. We have a 401k with automatic 3% employer contribution on top of what you put in. We also close for the holidays at the end of the year so that we can all spend time with our families or squeeze out one more bike tour for the year (why not both!). Our warehouse and office is located just outside of Historic Downtown Annapolis, MD. This gives us easy access to everything within the DC-Baltimore Metro region, and the East Coast Corridor in general - lots of fun in close proximity.
Main responsibilities for this position include:
Resolving phone, email, and walk-in customer inquiries and orders
Coordinating with fellow VO staff to achieve goals
Processing and updating customer information as needed
Communicating with our partner representatives
Attending expos, events, and meet-ups
Other required tasks
A passion for cycling, knowledge of bicycle mechanics and bicycle parts, and being a generally enthusiastic and positive person is at the top of our list. We're a relaxed, open office environment, but work hard and focus on innovation and progress. We'd like someone who wants to have a voice in what we make, what we do, and we'd expect first-hand demo-ing and reviewing. Competitive salary is based on your qualifications. Experience in the cycling or outdoor industry is a must, and mechanic skills are highly valued.
Interested applicants please send your resume and cover letter to email@example.com
We look forward to welcoming you to the Velo Orange team!
In between family riding this weekend, I took a fresh Piolet build out for a spin through some of Brunswick, Maryland's local trails. Rooty, flowy, steep, and narrow are all characteristics of classic Mid-Atlantic mountain biking, and this little system had it all in spades. This also allowed me to try out the new camera system, so that we can deliver even better photos and content in the future.
While these new, upcoming Voyager Rims are only really rated for up to 2.3s, I successfully tubeless'd up some Maxxis 29x2.5 Aggressors. While Maxxis actually offers the Aggressor in rear only, I made sure to flip the front tire around so everything is copacetic.
These grips are offered by All-City and are designed to be affixed to track drop handlebars. This'll do.
Shimano SLX components take care of shifty and cranky bits.
Sabot pedals mate well with my trail hiking shoes.
Our new Grand Cru Quick-Release Skewers as a brass cam keeps our hubs in place.
And also match well to Blue Lug's Brass Stem Cap and spacer combinations.
Our new Mini-Rando Bag is a super versatile and easy to use setup for the Crazy Bars. Notice how I moved the cords to the upper loops. This kept all of my gear secure and safe.
I love the Day-Tripper Saddle Bag. Packs up nice and secure.
Bonus family riding photos:
Adrian was riding her Neutrino prototype. More photos of that one to come!
Theo fell asleep while riding on the C&O. We may invest in Thule's stuffed animal crossbar attachment pillow for the future.
Our new Mini-Rando will be your favorite go-to for all day, fun, mixed-terrain rides. It's the perfect size for easy access to your compact camera, cell phone, keys, wallet, snacks, and light jacket.
The main body of the bag uses a plastic liner for rigidity, and the zippered top is soft for easier cramming, overstuffing, and retrieval of awkwardly shaped items.
The "trouser" pockets on either side of the bag make for quick access and storage of energy gels as well as their respective carcasses.
Attaching the Mini-Rando to your drop handlebars is a cinch. Use the pair of webbing and cam-locks to secure the bag to your tops, and use the length of paracord and cord-locks to the drops. You can rotate the position of the cord-locks so that it feels good in the drops.
While the Mini-Rando is designed to work best on drop bars, we have discovered several other applications that also rock:
Loop and secure the bag to a Wald 137 Basket for added capacity for things you may need to access frequently.
The upper support bar on the Klunkers makes for the perfect lashing position.
For three-piece bars like the Crazy Bars, you can use the upper loops to secure the bag to the forward extensions.
Off bike bike, using the included shoulder strap makes for a very fashionable and easy to use day-bag for walking and hiking excursions.
Size: 10 x 5.5 x 5.5 inches (25.4 x 14 x 14cm)
Capable of storing 6-7 seltzers
Entirely designed and manufactured in the USA as part of a collaborative effort between Velo Orange and Road Runner Bags of Los Angeles.
It's happening! We're excited to be offering this super-versatile, fun, and travel-worthy companion we're calling the Neutrino in both a frameset and well-appointed complete option. Delivery is slated for October 2019 and the completes will be ready a couple weeks after as we need to assemble them.
If this is the first time you're hearing about this wonderful offering, here are the details: Whether you're a frequent traveler, apartment dweller, multi-modal commuter, or just enjoy a fun N+1 bike, the Neutrino Mini-Velo will fit perfectly into your heart.
For city and apartment dwellers, you'll get great acceleration for stoplight racing as the wheels spin up quite fast. When you've reached your destination, getting the bike into the building, walking up stairs, and parking it in your apartment is so much easier because the physical length of the bike is greatly reduced. You can much more nimbly negotiate stairwells and since it's warm and cozy inside, you don't have to worry about it getting ripped off overnight.
For multi-modal traveling, it's easier to take the bike in a train car without taking up a ton of room and attracting disdainful looks from fellow commuters. Oh and Rinko. Forget cutting fenders, removing handlebars, and wheels. Just loosen the stem, turn the handlebars 90 degrees, and put the whole thing into a Rinko bag!
Traveling with the Neutrino is also a breeze. Since we often travel to our cycling starting point by airplane, train, car, or bus, overage fees for checked bags, storage, and transportation add up quickly and are a real drag. To take full advantage of the traveling abilities of the Neutrino, the bike can be disassembled and inserted into the cardboard box that it comes with, or into the nylon travel bag we're working on. Details forthcoming on bags!
Simply put, the Neutrino is a blast to ride around. It'll put a smile on your face every time you throw your leg over.