Four Years.

Four years. I realized today that it’s been four years since I finished building up my Boulder Brevet and took her on that first inaugural ride. In that time I’ve made numerous adjustments and a few changes, but the bike is largely the build I started with.

Out today, heading directly into thirty-plus mile per hour headwinds and trying like crazy not to overstress the knee I nursed back to semi-health over the winter, there’s no question in my mind that this is the perfect bike for me. Four years down the line and I have never once considered trading or selling this bike. With all the hundreds of bikes I’ve owned and ridden, all the thousands of miles I’ve put in on them, I can make that claim about no other bike. My list of excellent frames is, I think, pretty substantial: Bob Jackson, Colnago, Paramount, Holdsworth, PX-10, Raleigh International (OK, I stand corrected – that one isn’t going anywhere either), Bianchi, Puch, Shogun 2000, Freschi, Gazelle, Follis, Mercier, and so on.

I hate to act like a fan boy, but I’ve simply never owned another bike that fit me the way this one does. Nor have I ever owned another bike that simply felt like it wanted to keep going the way this one does, even when I was completely spent. Over time, I’ve gone through a couple of different saddles before settling upon a Brooks C17. I’ve changed out pedals until settling upon those I’ve been using for the past three years. Pumps have been swapped out in favor of smaller and lighter. The dyno-hub is now on the front of my International, as is the light; now I sport a rechargeable light that better meets my needs since my night riding is limited to very early mornings for the most part. The Velocity rims were a nice move last summer, and the Compass EL tires have proven to be superb.

In four years I’ve gone through five changes of handlebar wrap. On most of my other bikes the shellac-coated cotton bar wrap is a labor of love for me, but for some reason I used Salsa wrap on the Boulder from the very start and can’t bring myself to use anything else. I’ve got Brooks leather wrap in a box and as nice as I’m sure it would look on this bike, I don’t want to mess with the feel of things: why screw around with comfort?

VO rack, fenders, and a home made decaleur. A Swift bag – which I would recommend to absolutely anyone who asked. From time to time I think about changing my VO compact double, but once again: it seems to work and meet my needs so why jack around with it?

I own quite a few bikes, and they all get ridden, depending upon my mood. The International, especially, gets the nod a lot. But at the end of the day there is one bike I keep coming back to, and that is my Boulder. There’s something very comforting about that thought.

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12 thoughts on “Four Years.

    • One of my friends has a Mercian King of Mercia. Boy, was I envious when he showed that to me! He’s got long legs and a shorter torso – unlike me – and was fortunate enough to come upon this bike that perfectly suits his body geometry…at an estate sale of all places. I never asked what he wound up paying for it, but I’m kind of betting a pittance.

  1. I am an easy fit to a 56cm road bike and like yourself I have acquired a good many bikes (noting that I didn’t say ‘too many bikes’). They are all a pleasure to ride however I have a late 80’s Marinoni built from Columbus SL tubes and traditional Italian geometry that I could ride from sun up to sun down and over again. I have never been able to figure it out or explain it. It wasn’t my first first bike or the most expensive. It just is. Thanks for writing and sharing your insights. Always a good read.

    • Like you, I simply cannot put a finger on what makes the ride characteristics of one bike so much more different – or personally favorable – than another. It just “is.” I sure am happy to have been brought together with one such bike though!

  2. I also ride a Boulder, except mine is the All-Road 650B. The tires are Hetre 42 mm. My next tires will be Compass Babyshoe Pass 42 mm x 650B. The bike is comfotable, fast and handles with ease, even with a large handlebar bag – a joy to ride. Cheers, Rod

  3. bwinsl01 says:

    I first stumbled upon your blog when you were first building it up…it’s been four years?!?!!! I’ve enjoyed your posts and am glad to see you still ride the boulder; you have quite a stable of bikes (jealous) . If you ever make your way to Chicago, and can/have time to ride, I’d be happy to show you some fun and interesting rides. Thanks for the posts.

    • I know – crazy, right? Four years? How is that possible?

      As a matter of fact, we’re driving up through the outskirts of Chicago in June, on our way to Mackinac Island. That place has intrigued me for years. Having decided to remain Stateside this summer, we figured the time was at hand. I’ll be bringing the Boulder along as my daily transportation.

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