My Touring Rig

This bike was envisioned as a speed-merchant, but it began putting on weight pretty quickly.

What happened was, we came to Seattle for three months in 2011.  I knew I couldn’t afford to rent a decent bike for that length of time, so I thought I would buy one and then sell it when we left. Unfortunately, we arrived at the end of the Memorial Day weekend, and every bike in town that was already assembled was also already sold.  I rode some demo Scotts and Giants and maybe a Specialized, but they didn’t feel like they fit right; and besides, I didn’t want to waste any time waiting for one to be shipped and built.

Somebody had bought this one too, I think, but had returned it to REI. It felt better to me than the others — maybe because it’s a bigger frame, like my old Super Mirage.  Almost too big — it nearly fails the straddle test. But with a new shorter stem and narrow bars, it now feels perfect.  Also, turns out that I like the Shimano 105s a lot better than the Campys I had on my last road bike.

Alex said she wanted to bike to work — but only if someone would schlep her panniers up Beacon Hill for her every morning, so I bought a rack. We wanted to go places on the weekends too, so I bought a pannier of my own, and then another. She was willing to ride in the rain, so I got some Bontrager fenders. Then, at the end of the summer, our friend Gail offered to hang on to the bike in case I came back, so I guess I’ve had it for eight years by now.

The specs on the web page, when available, suggested that the average-size Novara Strada weighed 22 lbs as delivered — a shock after my lithe little Serotta. I had imagined that the reason for building aluminum bikes was so that they would be light.  I still choose Speedplay “frog” pedals, but they don’t need to be titanium any more.

The most recent addition is the Banjo Brothers handlebar bag — largely for visual balance.  Like the Arkel panniers, it has a bit more substance than some might prefer, and some features I won’t use, but it’s a good size, and now I don’t have to dismount to make minor clothing adjustments.  I don’t use lights much, but I have a little round light that rubber-bands to a loop on the front of the bag, and I’ve recently figured out that my Spok rear light is best displayed beneath the Jandd under-seat bag.

Anyway, that’s the story of why this flashy paint scheme peeks out from among all the luggage.