I don’t own a fancy bike—no carbon, no aero wheels, no high price tag. What I own is a basic workhorse commuter/touring bike. And I love it.

I am finally nearing “completion” on my Novara Randonee. Novara is an REI brand, which basically means the bike is mass produced in one of those factories that pump out bikes for just about everyone. So it’s not that expensive or particularly desirable, but it is good, and just right for me. I purchased the bike in 1995, that’s sixteen years ago! Time flies. The Randonee model is designed for touring. I bought it for commuting with the hopes that I would do some touring with it eventually, which I have not yet done. I wrote about taping the handlebars a while ago. Now I finally have the Brooks saddle in place, plus a few other improvements.

Here’s the bike today:

Notice how the bar tape turned out to match perfectly the Brooks saddle. The other improvements include:
  • A Spanninga dyno lighting system that I got from Velo Orange.
  • Schwalbe Marathon tires (700Cx32) that I got from a new little local shop called Arriving by Bike.
  • A Zefal frame pump, also from Arriving by Bike.
  • Rainy Day mud flaps that I picked up at REI
  • D+D Oberlauda Ultra Light Bike Mirror, also from Arriving by Bike

Each of these improvements I am loving. The tires are much better for my kind of riding than my old skinny tires. They roll well and are very stable. As I carry a heavy load sometimes they also give me more confidence that the bike will track properly and not put undue stress on the wheels. The lighting system took a little while to get installed (maybe because I tend to get fussy about those things), but it is light weight and works. I am still figuring out were I want the mirror, but so far it’s great. And I love the Brooks saddle. I can see why they are popular. I used to have one years ago, but I did not appreciate what it was, then that bike was stolen. Maybe the gods decided someone else needed that bike, someone who cold appreciate it better. Or maybe it was just another crackhead on campus.

Other items: I have a tagalong hitch on the seat post for when I tow one of the kids. I use blinking safety front and rear lights when it’s dusk and I don’t need the generator lights. I love the front/rear bike racks. The low rider front rack is the the way to go for panniers. I use a bike bell for the river trail. All in all it’s a great bike.

3 thoughts on “Workhorse

  1. A well-thought out build, Tucker. I love the marriage of form and functionality inherent in a bicycle. And I love how well you matched the tape and saddle.

  2. I wanted to read about you taping your handlebars. But they said I had to be invited. I also liked your essay on Young Mr. Lincoln.

    I am a California Poet and independent Presidential candidate.

    How dow e connect, my friend?

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