13 October, 2017

Wheels, Rustines, and Bullmoose Restock

By Scott

We just got in some grippy bits, some rolly hoozits, and some fancy bars - Rustines, complete wheels, and Fairweather Bullmoose bars. The last couple of days has seen a variety of product land here at VO HQ, and we love it.

We got a resupply of wheels on Wednesday - more fixed wheel sets, 126 mm rear wheels, and Diagonale 700C wheels are back in stock.

Supplementary inventory of Rustines product arrived Thursday. The perennially popular Campy Gum Hoods. are back in stock. We've been told by many customers that the Campy Hoods also work well for Modolo levers.

Derek checking Rustines 
An addition to their line up this month is constructeur bar plugs in yellow.                                              
Finally, the long awaited return of Fairweather Bullmoose bars, both Silver and Black, rounded out a busy week for our receiving department.

We also got a sample of a Rustines "FUBAR" Cap. We think the black is pretty sharp, what do you think?

11 October, 2017

French Fender Day

by Igor

This past weekend, Adrian and I traveled up to Connecticut to check out one of our favorite events of the year: French Fender Day. It's an intimate event full of passionate cyclists, collectors, great potluck food, New England Autumn rides, and lots of beautiful bikes.

Each bike on display had to be in the traditional French style - randonneuse, porteur, city bike, etc... Some of these bikes were collection pieces to be preserved, but most were daily riders and tourers, just as these bikes were intended to be from their construction.

Rob traveled all the way from The Netherlands with his Alcyon tourer.

Peter's work is always a joy to behold in person. Exceptional lines and perfect integration. 


Even though it isn't French, this Raleigh was a favorite of mine. It's a bike that doesn't ask anything of you other than to be ridden. Peter commented that the Rustines grips on the drops are "like 650b for your hands!" It was spritely!

This Dujardine was just a lovely randonneuse.

Only his second frame, this Shu-Sin touring bike shows tremendous patience and clean craftmanship. It features lots of rinko accessories including custom racks.

RenĂ© Herse Demountable Porteur with a proper leather chaincase.

Just before lunch, rides were had through New England's back roads. The changing of leaves and good company made for a wonderful time.

Adrian and the Nutmeg gang
A wild sorcerer appears!
VO fenders were fitted on a multitude of bikes. Many of them sported customizations including shaping of the fender ends, custom hardware, and dynamo lighting integration.

What kind of Francophile gathering would it be without cheese?

When one fender mount isn't enough.

Large format - What better way to capture such a classy day?

This was a pretty clever use of a fender stay as a bag support. I think I may try something like this on my Polyvalent to support a dry bag.

Always in the big ring
Wayne's hot pink Weigle was clearly the fastest of the bunch.

Loved this randonneur by Mitch Pryor. Super clean bi-lam construction and lovely box-lining.

As the day wound down, we were greeted with a magical golden hour. This Rene Herse tandem was beautifully bathed in the natural colors of New England.

You can see the rest of the album at full resolution here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/eccentricvelo/albums/72157686050295982

03 October, 2017

Cycling Inspiration

By Scott

Inspiration - defined as the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially something creative.  Seeing other people's photos or stories for instance, can cause perfectly sane people to buy a van, pack it up, and head out for the open road with no end date in mind.  It's the reason I think Instagram is so popular. There's lots of photos that you can admire, and ones that inspire us to action.

I read a lot of books by UK cycling/travel writers in the 80's and 90's. There wasn't a lot (probably still isn't) of translated cycling books in English from German or French that I could find in the book stores of Vancouver.  Need for the Bike or The Rider were the only two books that were easily found in those days.

(A mix of old and new influences)

So my influences were largely UK riders - folks with transverse saddle bags and no front loads. Stopping to brew tea on a ride was normal for them. When I look at the bikes I've owned over the years, their style has prevailed (Clint says my bikes all look the same). I love the "all arounder" look of older British bikes, the Woodrup's and Carlton frames. They were bikes that took fenders, racks and could explore the countryside all while having wide enough tires to go on tow paths. Maybe this is one of the reasons the Polyvalent seems to be so much on my radar right now.

(Photo from The Crunch of Gravel cover)

Sometimes you find out that your inspirational look doesn't work out in your life. I had a transverse saddle bag for a few years and discovered the weight of it empty was more then my wife's trunk bag with a 600K worth of stuff in it. I installed non-aero brake levers on my Piolet. I was trying to copy a look I had seen of a touring bike in the French alps, which had non aero levers. I realized after a few rides, that I didn't like the cables out in front like that and am now swapping the levers for aero ones. Not everything works out the way we want/wish it to, I suppose.

Bunyan Velo has been doing a fine job of keeping inspiration up for a lot of folks in the four years Lucas has been publishing it. A new issue hits the internet today. We're proud to be a supporter of his efforts to help inspire others to get out for a ride.

Do you have a cycling hero or inspiration? How does it manifest in your cycling life? Do you emulate their bike, their style of riding, or in some other manner?

29 September, 2017

Fall Riding

By Scott

At the risk of being pummeled by the Internet, I'll come out and say that Fall is the best season. I think this is a very different declaration from saying green is the best color or that silver is the best color for a handlebar. (Green as a color has a huge scope, so it can go with anything, and silver is the original and best color for bars - just for what it's worth.)

Fall here is very different from where I grew up. I lived out in the west coast for almost all of my life. We moved here about 8 years back and fall has only increased in it's magnitude while living here.

The view of the corn fields after the crop has been taken in
There's the sense of calm that comes over the Mid Atlantic when that first cold front of air comes down from Canada in September. It's a bit late this year, but still, I know that I can open up the windows and not have the sticky feeling of humidity enter into the house, but rather a cool, dry breeze that reminds me of trips to lakes up north and the cool breeze of an evening ride, trying to get home before it gets really dark.

I love the seasons here in the Mid Atlantic. There are four distinct ones here. Winter isn't that long most years and rarely very severe compared to other part of North America. Fall seems to last just long enough and I've usually got enough strength built up from riding in the summer that fall becomes easier.

The trees are in the midst of starting to drop their leaves/change their colors here. It's been dry here this summer, so that affects the timing I think.

Fall is a busy time of year. My wedding anniversary is in October, as is my wife's birthday, so lots of celebrations at the beginning and end of the month. The coffeneuring challenge starts in October and that always brings about a challenge to find new places to ride to enjoy a beverage. Throw in the Philly Bike Expo at the start of November, and all the work to get the booth created and gosh, before you know it, we're getting close to Thanksgiving.

Do you agree that Fall is the best time to ride? Or is there another season that tops it for you?

25 September, 2017

'Tis the Season...For Fenders

by Igor

*cue sad puppy music* We've all seen it. Skunk tail. Mud butt. Rooster tail. Face speckles. These are all symptoms of those without fenders riding on wet roads. Thankfully, there is an answer.

This poor soul at Eurobike didn't have fenders
*cue cheerful music* In addition to a beautiful adornment for your bike, Velo Orange fenders have a full coverage design which means that you and your bike's drivetrain will stay clean of road muck and grime. Both front and rear fenders have full wrap around the width of your tires to eliminate spray in all directions.

Snakeskin is a personal favorite of mine
Our available offerings fit lots of commonly available wheel and tire combinations. We suggest having a difference of at least 10mm between your tire size and the fender's width. For example, if you're trying to cover a 650bx42mm tire, get the 52mm Zeppelin. If you're running a 700cx28mm tire, select one of our 45mm options: Smooth, Stainless, Hammered, Noir Hammered, or Facetted.

A spot of rain on Inis Oirr, Ireland
Winter is coming so enjoy those warm, summer rains while you can.

19 September, 2017

Paper or Plastic?

By Scott

Tub of memories

I've been doing some cleaning at home and I found a tub of randonneuring pins/medals from my rides in Canada and Australia (the US organizers generally charged for them, so being cheap/frugal to a fault, I don't have many US medals). I was thinking back to the rides that I did and the changes to the sport and technology since I started riding brevets back in 2003. I think the biggest change, bigger than tire size and frame material, is how we navigate around.

The old way
At the start of the BC randonneurs rides, we would get a control card, a cue sheet, and a ziplock bag to put it in. They would post the cue sheets to the club website a week or so beforehand in case you wanted to print them in a different format or size than what came standard. I'd use the supplied cues, sometimes substituting a thick freezer ziplock if spring was to be exceptionally wet.

At the successful completion of the ride, you'd get a pin from the organizer. In BC, we had a different pin design every year and each distance was a different color. We'd joke that we were pin collectors with a cycling problem.

Paper cues were all that I used for all my rides in BC for 4 years or so. Towards the end of my time living in BC, I started to see some technologically advanced folks use a GPS on their bars. Cool, but this seemed to have more work involved - creating files, downloading files, battery life - than I was prepared to deal with. 

Fast forward three years to living in the DC area and it seemed more and more folks had GPS units. Costs had come down and it seemed half the field had little boxes squeaking and beeping at them during a ride to keep them on track. I stuck with my paper cues, still standard issue by the club, as I lacked the money to move up to a GPS unit and still felt slightly intimidated by the technology.

The new way
Looking at handlebars of other riders here in Maryland this past weekend, it seems that I am in the minority in terms of how to navigate. Folks are using their cell phones for navigation as well as journaling on Strava. There are systems to allow you to plug your phone and lights into a hub dynamo to keep them fully charged all the time, so the battery issue would appear to be a non-issue. Some events (not randonneuring) are only giving the route in gpx formats, as it is assumed that everyone is using a computer-based navigation system.

I still use paper if I need cues for a ride or a trip. Am I using the modern equivalent of carbide lights? All of Igor and Adrian's trips to Europe were navigated using cell phone apps that are available offline like maps.me and Google maps. Is this the future and I've missed it or are there folks out there still using maps and paper cue sheets, even if it is a back up to their GPS/cell phone? Let us know in the comments and if it makes you feel better, you can also write us at:

Velo Orange
1981 Moreland Parkway
Building 3
Annapolis, MD

Bonus points if you use a fountain pen.