Winter dreaming


A bit chilly. Damn windy. But every now and then the sun comes out from behind the cloud cover and the day suddenly becomes a whole lot more reasonable.

I find myself spinning in a much lower gear than I’d prefer. Long weeks off the road, and longer evenings occasionally spinning indoors on a trainer don’t do much for maintaining my climbing legs. The best I can say is that I’m not breathing hard, so the lungs haven’t atrophied during my vacation from riding.

Let me reconsider that last statement. No. In fact the best I can say is that I’m out on the road, enjoying being outside. That’s the best, and it’s quite good enough – so don’t let me kid anyone with my whining. A few miles down the road I meet up with another rider. We exchange nods and pedal in silence. Just before he hangs a right down a side road, directly into the wind, he looks at me and says something about the headwinds being a bitch. In direct contrast to his words is the look of contentment upon his face, the same look that mirrors my own.

This is the first winter I’ve not had a restoration project (or two, or three) underway. This is partly because I haven’t been looking, but mostly because I’m quite content with my bike family of the moment. I really thought I’d be riding my fixed wheel more over the cold weather months, but that simply hasn’t been the case. I really should do something about that I suppose, but my imagination is stuck firmly in the warmth of future months.

Aside from my Boulder Brevet, my other “long distance” bike is a 1971 Raleigh International fitted out with a three speed drive. I’m going to shoehorn a couple of multi-day camping tours into the coming summer months. At least one trip will be a three speed camping tour. I’d like to ride the length of the KATY Trail again, riding the International set up for light touring: Bullet proof Gatorskins, medium size saddle bag, small front panniers, and adequate platform in front for tent and sleeping mat. I’ll probably ride my Boulder for a week of the Big BAM in June.

Meanwhile, there’s still plenty of winter left. Despite the emerging sun this afternoon, the forecast calls for really hefty winds tomorrow, snow flurries, and another precipitous drop in temps. I’ll remain lost in reverie, in winter dreaming until the shadows grow just a little bit longer.


7 thoughts on “Winter dreaming

  1. Paul Glassen says:

    I am curious about how the old International handles “front loaded”? Some bikes, built in the French style, have specific geometry for it, like your Boulder Brevet and my Mike Kone designed Soma Grand Randonneur. But I wouldn’t have thought that applied to the oh-so-Briddish International.

    • She handles surprisingly well. There’s no question that frames designed to handle front load do so very well – or at least the ones I’ve personally experienced have done so. Yet bikes like the International were used for touring decades before the general cycling public became aware of the benefits of low trail and were having such conversations. Despite our relative “ignorance” we managed quite handily. The International is a Cadillac, really, and quite stable, the only caveat being that I’d be much less than happy to use this configuration on a steep, fast downhill run. Otherwise, this is a nice bike for light front loads. I don’t care for the “sway” one typically encounters with a heavily loaded large saddle bag either, so the rear bag will be the same light essentials I carry regularly: tubes, patch kit, tools, and a lot of extra space in case I suddenly feel the urge to buy something and carry it home with me.

    • I built the wheel around a modern Sturmey-Archer S-RF3 hub. They are available in 130, 135, and 117 OLD. I’d like to say that careful measurements accomplished a perfect chain line but the honest (and incredibly lucky!) truth is that when I placed the wheel to get a measurement everything was already perfect. Pure dumb luck on my part, but I was all set for the back and forth I figured would be necessary. Sometimes you just live right!

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