Monday, January 25, 2010

Bonafied Sensations

Former bike shop manager and veteran cyclo-tourist, Bill Heinmann is journeying through South America on his Soma Saga. He doesn't have a blog, but writes back often. They aren't really letters, but journal entries. Here is what he wrote last week from Salto, Uruguay.

What is a day on the road like? What do I do with myself all day beside push the pedals? One, I read coffee cups. The one I am using now shows a couple in an embrace. Below it states "Bonafied Sensations." Their spelling.

I am staying in a hotel in a great little town for a couple of days. I really like Salto. It is a pretty city with friendly people. Also, the cost is low, about $12.00US a day including breakfast with very good coffee. This is another thing I do each day, get distracted from the main subject or destination.

Normally, I wonder how I can use that word traveling as I do. See, I told you I get distracted. I will try to do better. With it being as hot and humid as it is and the stores shutting down as early as they do I must be on the road as early as possible. If camping I pack my sleeping bag in its compression sack, roll up my Therma Rest pad, pack it and move all the other items in my tent to near the door before I crawl out at day light. I then attend to cleaning out the other items and put my tent on the clothes line to dry. Attending to my personal hygiene and other needs, I make my French press coffee. I sit to enjoy whatever breakfast I have purchased the night before. This is the time I normally write. Picture me sitting at a light grey concrete picnic table in a forest grove talking to you with the morning mist swirling around.

My tent dry, I finish packing, fill my water bottles and pedal off. The cool morning welcomes me to begin my travel day. In the first years of cycle touring I would set high distance goals and hit the road hard; destination traveling. No more. Now I have vague destinations with no penalty for failing to achieve the distance.

As I ride along the sun warms the day and me. I take in where I am and watch many things. Road kill tells me what animals are most plentiful and often which are nocturnal. Daytime animal activity allows me to see them in action. Lately there have been large flocks of bright green parrots working in the fields of mowed wheat. The road rolls down to each water flow. Every stream, creek or river is greeted by the pavement. Then the pavement must go up to the next ridge.

Sometimes I am in attack mode. At each climb I stand-shift at the no passing sign (a red circle with 2 cars side by side with a diagonal line through the circle) pushing hard at a high spin(rate of pedaling). I go as fast as I can over the top. Not stopping the push at the top, but rather just over. Other times sitting is the method. Shifting down as the hill steepens to maintain the same spin (around 100 rpms), looking just far enough ahead to be safe, but not at the top, doing my best to top at the same speed as at the bottom. Or it can be a look around climb. Shifting into the lowest gear needed to spin I just watch the country side go by. All methods work and are enjoyable. I never know which I will choose until I begin to go up.

Many thoughts appear in my mind as I move. Some of
Ashland, some of Annette, some of you and some of what I am seeing. At times they are of past journeys when a sight, sound or smell remimd me of somewhere in the past. My daily rides are of , like the coffee cup states, sensations. I do not listen to any music or other sounds. The road provides enough entertainment.

Many people want to talk when I stop. The fully loaded bike pedaled by the old man are a big attraction. A major part of any day is the people I meet.
I learn so much sharing with them. Often this is how I become distracted. Suggestions about what to see or do send me off in search of the local sights.

The road day rolls to a close and I must find lodging and food. A place to camp or a cheap hotel. After finding a nights protection, I set up. My tent if, camping, is put in place; if a hotel, then the room selected, then and clothesline hung. Hanging the clothes line outdoors is easy, in a room sometimes a different story. Often door hinges work well as do TV wall hangers. A shower and a wash of the clothes worn that day.

Shower done, clothes clean and hung to dry, time for food, both for the night and breakfast. Cook if necessary, but often a snack. I try to eat my large meal at
noon. This gives me the opportunity to sample the local cuisine at a lower cost than supper and a little less in quantity.

I always take a long walk in the evening to learn where I am. Walking for 2 to 3 hours along store fronts or in a forest glen both bring surprises and joy. Besides I need the exercise. Yes, that is true. Walking using the muscles in a different way than cycling and provides stretching.

Now it is time for reading and sleep so that I can begin a new day in the morning. Each morning is a new journey, not a continuation of the previous, but a beginning.

More vintage bikes with Clarence bars

Bryan over at Renaissance Bicycles built up this gorgeous '83 Stumpjumper with a great modern spec. He kept it classy with timeless parts, and the bars seem to fit the theme of the bike's heritage. It is also cool that it is a 650b conversion, which when you consider what the Stumpjumper was in its time, gives it the chance to be on forefront of unique and cutting-edge cycling trends once again. If you haven't seen the work that they do, check out the Renaissance site. All of their builds are of this quality and very well-thought-out.

Friday, January 22, 2010


Check out this jammer from the Pedal Revolution blog:

On second glance I noticed the Clarence bars on it. I think this bike has bright future. Apparently the rack was not even a stock feature, it was hanging around the shop waiting for the perfect mate, and I believe this is it. Very cool bike from a very cool shop.

If you haven't been, check out Pedal Rev in person. They are some of the nicest folks around, and they have a great selection of new and used stuff, as well as great social mission (find their story here).

Bon weekend.

Burritos and 3-speeds

So....just found out that everyone's favorite burrito spot (let the "my burrito spot that no-one else knows about is way better" begin) Papalote has a second location at Fulton and Masonic. Had no idea! This changes everything. The map below shows where burritos can be found.

Also, the Sturmey Archer 3-speed shifter we put up on the site a couple days ago is selling quite well. We have also been getting emails to increase our internally geared lineup, and maybe offer hubs by themselves. We have had our IGGY wheelset around for a while; it uses the S-RF3 hub, which is a 3 speed non-coaster model that we like a lot. It has solid engagement, a good looking finish, and the standard gear spread. We have been lacing them up to a 36-hole box section rim of ours with our track hub up front. The rims look good on a variety of bikes, and more and more people are looking (especially in hilly areas like we have here) for a little versatility while maintaining a clean aesthetic.

Anyway, this brings us to our question for you all, which is: what other hubs would you like to see us carry? 3-speed coaster? 5-speed? Drum brake hubs? Let us know!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sturmey Archer 3 speed Shifter...Pake's new blog

We just got in some of these Sturmey-Archer 3-speed bar-end shifters. They can be paired up with our IGGY wheelsets to give you more bike setup options and will make a great compliment to many 3-speed builds.

In other blog-worthy news, Pake finally got a blog up, and its been used to announce some serious changes to their lineup for 2010. We'll let them do the talking about the new stuff, but lets say they made some great changes to their track frame and forks, and aren't afraid of having a few colors in their lineup!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Keep it classy

With our new gold spokes, 281mm and 308mm lengths. It took months to get the finish right, and this is seriously close to looking like actual gold plating.

Available here.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Rivendell Collaborates With Soma on Frame Project

If you are part of the RBW Owners Bunch or visited our Flickr page, you’ve already caught a sniff of this. Here is the official “letting the cat out of the bag”.

Soma is working on a road frame project with Rivendell Bicycle Works. We have admired Rivendell’s amazing frames and their work with Nitto for years and are excited to have a chance to collaborate on this project. We shared with Grant Petersen that we wanted a “road sport” frame, but he was free to interpret what that meant.

Specifications we like to share with you at this stage ---

  • Project name: San Marcos (named after a lovely place in Guatemala where our main warehouse guy was born)
  • Full Rivendell lug set
  • Tange Prestige heat treated tubing
  • Threaded fork with flat crown (1”)
  • Original geometry from Grant (not a clone of anything Rivendell has in its stable)
  • Two of the smaller sizes may be 650B

While we are letting Grant do much of the design work, the frame will follow Soma’s philosophy by being tough and reliable and by being affordable to most cycling enthusiasts.
We have just received the first prototype and will probably doing a second before this gets green-lighted. Graphics and paint are subject to change, but this prototype does show an alternative graphic scheme we are introducing on some 2010 frames (more news on those later).

As for the question “When can we get one?” Our reply to that is, “It will be ready when it is ready. We want to do it right and ‘right’ takes time.” We are planning a 2011 release, but if it is ready earlier, then we'll release it earlier.