Sipping the Kool-Aid.

For a while now I’ve fostered the notion of expanding my cycling horizons. It is, perhaps, important to understand that I grew up on a gravel road. Dust kicked up from that road settled in thick layers over everything on the front porch, in the front yard, on the cars, on my bike. I remember watching as my father valiantly and yet fruitlessly attempted to wash his truck; he was always left frustrated when it dried to a dull, matte finish. I couldn’t wait to get off the farm some day to ride my bike on a surface that didn’t jar the teeth from my head. Surely there was a world where roads were smooth and windshields didn’t live in fear of hand-sized chunks of gravel?

I live in a state where, in the aggregate, there are probably more miles of gravel road than pavement. Nevertheless, over the years I have quite thoroughly enjoyed exploring the myriad paved country highways and byways. But it seems that lately I’ve found myself glancing wistfully down some of those side roads – the dusty ones, those forlorn paths down which low undercarriages go with trepidation. I feel an almost siren-like call to meander down those roads, to unearth and encounter new places, new sights. And it seems that all that is necessary for one to enjoy those travels is a magic number.

650B.

I haven’t drank the Kool-Aid as so many others seem to have done. Not yet, anyway. But I’m curious, and my curiosity tends to lead me to compulsive actions. My latest compulsion is an understated and – I think – rather elegant cream color with red accents. I will, of course, be following up later with a more complete write up and reflection of the Cycles Toussaint Velo Routier. For the moment, however, I leave you only with these few photographs to ponder.

There’ve been a number of trials and tribulations, some of which have yet to be resolved. Once the build does get settled and I’ve had a chance to put the Velo Routier through its paces I’ll be sharing my thoughts. Fairly or unfairly, my Boulder Brevet, the Brooks Cambium, and the Compass tires are benchmarks for me and the gauge by which my other bikes are measured. I’m anxious to see how the Velo Routier fares in comparison.

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4 thoughts on “Sipping the Kool-Aid.

  1. You know, you don’t have to drink the 650B Kool-Aid. There is this other little known and obscure size called “26 inch”, that features wide tires and even knobs if you need it, but of course, it’s hard to find a bike that takes this wheel size. 😉

    (Honestly, I can see you rocking a Rock Combo or XO-1.)

  2. It isn’t often I am taken aback by a build. And even though it’s through the internet, I do see a lot of bikes. Every day.

    But wow, your Cycles Toussaint is simply stunning. And I mean that deep from within the soul.
    What a simply gorgeous build. The color combination along with parts list (please DO post this as part of your more complete write up) all the way down to the cream tires, which I am typically not a fan of, are impeccable.

    I do look forward to hearing more, including how the machine came to you.

  3. Shawn, I have always loved 26 inch and was even toying with the thought of building up an upright bar-style road bike around them.

    Josh, I will have LOTS to share: the good, the bad, and even a little bit of ugly. Cycles Toussaint is a small operation (translation: my favorite kind of operation!) and the folks there have been great to work with. Unfortunately, between FUBAR shipping and a few packing gremlins, there’ve been a couple of issues. I’m giving Cycles Toussaint the opportunity to hash through those problems so that I can tell the complete story.

  4. Beautiful Build Out. This bike is about ride quality and esthetics. Today’s carbon fiber bikes remind me of the sailboat industry. All production sailboats look alike and lack esthetic and design elements which made the classic boats so beautiful at the dock and under sail.

    Congratulation on taking the leap of faith into the 650B wheel. The French understood the merits of light, supple wide tire. Smooth roads, racing and marketing killed the 650B market in the 1950’s. Now, these tires and the French style randonneur bike are making a comeback.

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