Newsletter - 2002 Archive

BC Randonneurs logo BC Randonneurs logo

BC Randonneurs
Cycling Club
BC Randonneurs logo BC Randonneurs logo


Tools for the Job

Harold Bridge


It was 1981 before I carefully dipped a toe into the swift current of randonneuring by riding a solitary 200. It was 1983 before the current swept me away. I had a standard 1970's type Falcon racing bike that more or less filled the role of a Rando bike. But during the middle of 1983 I acquired a custom built "Randonneur" CBS (Canadian Bicycle Specialists) frame. It was a bit of a misnomer in that it was really a racing design with mudguard clearance. Nonetheless it was, and still is, a good bike frame. It's just that when ridden relatively slowly on rough surfaces it does give one a pounding.

A few months before my first randonnee I had read an account of the first "Raid Pyrennean" by North Americans. The proprietors of Toronto's "Bike Sport"(?) shop; Mike Barry and Mick Brown, decided in 1980 to attempt this brutal "Permanent" along the spine of the mountain range that divides France from Spain. They had a hell of a time, Mike had the flu, and the weather that September was dreadul. But they stuck at it and completed in 76 hours, comfortably beating what they thought was the time limit, 80 hours. It was only later they discovered a translation mistake. The limit was 100 hours!

The article, written by their support driver, had a side bar describing the specifications of the "Mariposas" they had built especially for this endeavour. When I read the spec I thought to myself; "These Guys know what a bike is supposed to look like!" And I've wanted one ever since! Hathaway beat me to it, he rode PBP83 on one.

After the fiasco of PBP91 when I finished outside the 91 hour time limit I decided to take my revenge in 1995. I was going to get a Mariposa and have six weeks vacation, ride the Mersey Roads 24 hour time trial a month before hand in the United Kingdom (UK) and then fill in the time with some steady miles, er, kilometers. But toward the end of 1994 I started to creak with arthritis and far from anything as monumental (well, mental anyway) as PBP I was off the bike altogther in 1995 and my 6 weeks in UK were a chore, sans bike. I dropped the idea of buying another bike, I didn't know if I would ever ride a bike again. But as it turned out I was only off the bike 15 months and managed a 200 at the end of 1996. The rheumatologist did a great job for me.

By 1998 I was regaining strength and decided it was time to get in touch wth Mike Barry (Mick Brown had returned to UK) and order a frame. It took me awhile to get the bike as I wanted it. Slight differences in the frame from the CBS needed compensating. By the beginning of 2001 I felt I had the handlebars I wanted with the right length of handlebar extension and I felt the bike was "ME". Then, on April 16 Easter Monday, I attacked that poor defenceless Ford during my first 200 of the year and wreaked the frame. Didn't do me any good either.

Whereas it only took 26 days in hospital to more orless put me right, it seemed ages before the top and down tubes had been replaced in the frame, new front wheel built and right hand Ergopower lever rebuilt. I finally got it all back just after Christmas. Whereas the frame had originally made do with a Marinoni paint job, this time it came back with a Mariposa paint job and looked beautiful. I had heard that the new Continental Grand Prix 3000 tyres were good and I bought a pair of 700C x 25mm to put on the Mariposa. The Michelin Axial Pros 700C x 23 I had put on the Mariposa in France in 2000 were now on the CBS.

Today Wednesday 2002-02-20 I took the Mariposa out for an airing. The weather looked good enough to leave the winter bike at home. 82kms: Round the usual back roads of Pitt Meadows, through Port Hammond and out onto the Lougheed Hwy to Ruskin. A left turn onto Wilson St took me up UP alongside Hayward Lake and allowed me to test the small ring and big sprockets. Once I had recovered from the climb and crested the top peak on Dewdney Trunk Road (DTR) I got motoring down toward Haney. Two or 3 years ago "They" dug a trench along DTR to bury a pipe or something. West bound between 240th and 232nd there is a stretch of a km or so that is like a roller coaster due to the fact they had done a bad job of back filling (do "they" ever do a good back filling job?). On the CBS I always ride out in the road due to the way the bike throws me about on that bad surface. Today, on the Mariposa with those "fat" tyres I didn't mind a bit!

Think about these things if you are buying a rando bike.

A dimensional comparison of the 2 frames in question (in millimetres):

Bike Make

Size (ctr to top)

Top tube

Wheel base

Chain stays

Fork Rake

BB Height

Crank Length

















Re BB Height: CBS measured on Michelin Axial Pro 23 mm tyres. Mariposa measured on Continental Grand Prix 3000 25 mm tyres.