Royal H. Cycles to create a classic French randonneuring bicycle for a customer who was as curious as we were about how these mythical creatures handle.
Jan Heine in the Bicycle Quarterly (see my earlier post about BQ here). We found Jan's descriptions of these machines intriguing: They promised the comfort and convenience of a fully equipped, wide-tired touring bike with the speed and responsiveness of a racing bike. Could it really be?
Harris Cyclery with the finishing touches of the build.
frame is lugged, and for me the aesthetics of the bicycle are strongly defined by the lugwork in the headtube and the fork crown. I was happy to see that these lugs remained a strong focal point even once the frame became "cluttered" with components and accessories. Notice also the tiny lug where the wire for the lighting enters the downtube. There is a matching one on the left chainstay, but I don't have a good shot of it just now.
Bicycle Quarterly. The BQ article will be different from, and more detailed than the posts here, so reading it will most definitely be worth it for those interested in the topic.
Because countless people have told me that low trail bicycles are a "love it or hate it" sort of thing, I expected to have an extreme reaction to the randonneur's handling. However, that did not happen. It rides like a bike, basically. A nice bike. Different from other bikes I've ridden, but not as radically differently as I expected from some of the dramatic descriptions I've read and heard. The most distinct qualities I've noticed so far are the the way it turns (different), accelerates (excellent) and climbs hills (oh my...). But I need some time to make sense of it all and put it into words, so please stay tuned.
In collaborating on the randonneur, my main agenda was to satisfy what had become a burning curiosity about this particular type of bike while also helping create a custom bicycle from scratch in keeping with my aesthetic vision - all of which was in line with what the customer wanted. We have no expectations about whether ultimately we will like or dislike the handling, since that is the whole point of the experiment. I will have the randonneur until September and am thankful for the chance to gain a firsthand understanding of these bicycles over the course of my temporary guardianship.