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 failed the straddle test. But with a new shorter stem and narrow bars, it felt just fine.  Also, turns out that I liked the Shimano 105s a lot better than the Campys I had on my previous 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 to town, so I ended up not selling it after all.

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 bought Speedplay “frog” pedals, but they no longer needed to be titanium.

The last major addition was the Banjo Brothers handlebar bag — largely for visual balance.  Like the Arkel panniers, it had a bit more substance than some might prefer, and some features I wouldn’t use, but it was a good size, and I didn’t have to dismount to make minor clothing adjustments.  The bag interfered with my favorite headlamp, but I bought a little round light that would rubber-band to a loop on the front of the bag.

Anyway, that’s the story of why there was this flashy paint scheme peeking out from among all the luggage. After eleven years (a couple of chains and one set of new gears), the frame showed signs of failing. The bike’s last day on the road, and its replacement, are reported here.