Newsletter - 2011 Archive

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New Bike !
by Jim Runkel

Back in November, Philip Lennox and I made a trip to Seattle to visit R&E Cycles, home of Rodriguez bikes. I was in the market for a new bike to enjoy the long rides with, and the Rainer seemed like the right choice. I was fit by Smiley (his shop name!), and components selected with the help of Scott. The bike would be built for me at R&E and be ready in 4-6 forward to last Friday, Jan 7th, 2011. Again accompanied by Philip we arrived at R&E Cycles. Smiley was early so he let us come in. Officially the store opens at 12, but you are able to make an appointment for times outside of regular hours. So at 10 am on Friday I laid eyes on the new bike. As we were planning on riding from Seattle to Sequim that day (more on that later), we got right to work on the bike. Given that there were not other customers in the store, we had the place to ourselves. We set up the bike on one of their bike stands, and began to install the Velo Orange fenders I had brought with me...well actually Philip got to work on the fenders...he is the master fender installer! I put on my new pedals, and one of the store mechanics did all the wiring for the new lights (Lumotec IQ CYO senso plus) running on the Son Delux generator hub ( a rear Seculite Plus is also installed). It took us a bit of time to get this all done. Smiley then did the final fit on the bike for me, and we geared up to face the elements. We got away around 1pm

The ride navigated from R&E near the U of W via the side streets and bike paths to the Kingston-Edmonds ferry. We used the "bike" feature on Google maps to produce the route sheet and it did a great job of not getting us lost and keeping us off busy streets. Weather was the big factor for this ride. Leaving Seattle the temperature was a warm 9C with no rain. As we moved toward the ferry (about an hour later), the wind picked up and rain bucketed from the sky sideways...the guy at the ferry booth had to help me with the money and zippers on my coat as my hands were frozen! We arrived just on time and basically went right on the boat. Clothing adjustments were made, including more merino wool, and rain gear, and food was eaten. We warmed up in the 30 min crossing. On the other side we made our way across the Hood Canal with skies still overcast and onto the Olympic Peninsula. As we climbed the mountains over toward Sequim, the wind picked up (head wind as usual) but the skies cleared...a cold front had pushed through. The night came and temperatures dropped to just above freezing. My toes had no feeling, and we were running low on fuel, but by 650 pm we arrived at my folks house in Sequim for food and a hot shower. The next morning we cycled to Port Angeles and finally home to Victoria...all in all 140 kms of riding, with all kinds of weather. The bike was flawless. I love the generator batteries with great light. The Campy components are fantastic. It took a bit to get used to the shifting, as I was riding Ultegra on my other bike, but I do like the new ergos and shift mechanisms' of the Veloce components. Other notable likes include the fabulous Brooks saddle...almost comfortable right out of the box! I look forward to traveling to PBP this year, and this bike has S&S connectors to make that easier. The hard suitcase from S&S will make taking this bike on planes and trains much easier too.

Dealing with R&E Cycles was a great experience. The day we picked up the bike, we also met Dan, the owner. From Dan, to the mechanics, to the bike fitter, Smiley, to Scott the manager, it is clear to see that these people are passionate about bikes and those of us who ride them. They go out of their way to ensure that you come away with what you need and want.


January 13, 2011