Friday, September 2, 2011

The Art of the Ride Report: a Touring Bicycle Give-Away

Forest Ride BW
Thinking about the best way to give away the refurbished vintage touring bike "for women who fear roadbikes," I kept coming back to the connection between cycling and the Ride Report. If you've spent any time browsing blogs and websites about bicycles, you are no doubt familiar with the genre. While at its most basic level, a ride report is simply a description of a bicycle ride, it is really so much more. Some are infused with a seriousness and depth of analysis that is normally reserved for historical descriptions of war battles. Others are light-hearted and hilarious. Others still are impressively dull, filled with endless lists and technical descriptions. A Ride Report can resemble a travelogue, a parable, a newspaper article, or an entry in a physical fitness diary. A Ride Report can be self-aggrandising or self-depricating. A Ride Report can describe a 1,000 mile tour or a 1 mile trip to the grocery store with equal degrees of drama and suspense. At the heart of it, a Ride Report tells us less about the ride itself than about the cyclist - and the cyclist's relationship to their surroundings, their bicycle, and the very experience of riding a bike.

Not all of us excel at the Ride Report. I for one can seldom think of anything interesting to write about the rides I take - possibly because I space out and daydream through most of them! But a good Ride Report is a thing of beauty, and so I invite you, challenging as it may be, to try your hand at it. Here are the rules:

Submission Rules
In a narrative style of your choosing, describe a bicycle ride that is memorable or significant to you. It can be any sort of ride - transportation, recreation, sport, whatever. Please limit the length of the writing to what would constitute a typical blog entry. Accompanying images are a plus, but not required. Submit your Ride Report either by putting it online and posting a link to it here (preferred!), or by emailing a document to "filigreevelo at yahoo" with the subject header "Ride Report." You are welcome to submit even if you are not entering to win this bicycle. I will compile a sampling of entries and post it for everyone to enjoy. Submission Deadline is 18 September, 2011.

Refurbished Shogun 400
Give-Away Details
With the support of Harris Cyclery, Velo Orange, and a number of my readers, I am giving away a refurbished vintage touring bicycle to a woman who might benefit from it. Pictured above, this bicycle is described in elaborate detail here. Please read that post carefully to decide whether the bike is for you, and feel free to ask any questions in the comments here.

The bicycle is a 52cm frame with 27"x28mm tires and a longish top tube. It is best suitable for persons 5'6" - 5'8", depending on your proportions and how high you like to set up the saddle. The dusty-lilac, early 80s Japanese cro-moly frame is in "good" used condition. It is fitted with mostly modern components (Velo Orange, Nitto, Tektro, MKS, etc.) and is completed with fenders, a bottle cage, a saddlebag and a small air pump. The frame has comfortable relaxed angles, and no toe overlap. The bicycle is a 12-speed. For additional details and lots of pictures, once again please see this post.

This bicycle was built up with a female in mind. The ideal candidate is a cyclist who would like to ride a bike with drop bars, but has found roadbikes difficult, painful, intimidating, or otherwise problematic. The bike being given away is more tame than what you are likely to find on the market today, be it new or secondhand, without spending a fortune, and I hope that it will allow someone out there to enjoy a new form of cycling by easing into it gently and gradually.

Once again, the entry deadline is 18 September, 2011. Good luck, and thank you for taking part!

[Edited to add: The recipient has now been announced here. Thank you everyone for taking part!]

70 comments:

  1. Are you going to be sharing the entries with us again? I hope so! I bet there are going to be some great stories.

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  2. Fantastic! Is this contest open the people outside of the US?
    -E

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  3. Good thing I don't want a touring bike :).

    Just kidding. I'm really looking forward to these!

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  4. Can't wait to read these. Could not write one even if my life depended on it, but I enjoy a good read...

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  5. Awesome, I have gotten 2 ride reports already. On a Friday night!

    I would like to ask for a favour: If you have a question about the contest, *please* ask it here and not over email, unless it is deeply private and shameful. And even then remember that you can post anonymously. Because I am getting some of the same questions and I do not have time to answer individually over email. Post'em here please, and thanks!

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  6. Question via email: "Can I enter to win a bike for my wife?"

    My answer: Errr If she wants the bike, I would prefer it if she entered on her own behalf. I would really like to give it to someone who wants it on their own accord, otherwise there is a good chance it will end up unridden. Thanks for understanding.

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  7. Question via email: "I am not afraid of road bikes, but don't ride mine because of its unsuitability for pretty much every ride I take. This looks like a perfect ride for my needs, but I am not afraid, so am I disqualified?"

    A: You don't have to be 'afraid' per se, maybe that wasn't the best choice of words on my part. If you find other roadbikes you've tried uncomfortable or unsuitable, you are welcome to enter the give-away.

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  8. Question: Would you prefer newly written Road Reports or the link to something previously posted?

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  9. Looking forward to reading the entries!

    Reckon some lucky person will be made up with the prize :>D

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  10. E - Sorry, this is for the US only; will insert this into the text.

    Emma - Ideally, a newly written one.

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  11. Can men submit ride reports? How will you present the collection?

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  12. Sorry, my previous comment got cut short. Ideally the ride report would be a new one, but previously written ones are acceptable.

    Anon 6:23 - Yes, men can submit them as well. I am thinking either a post with 3 best, or a pdf document with a bunch of them, or both?

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  13. I am not going to enter. For one thing, the bike is too small for me. But more important, I'd rather see it go to someone for whom it would be her first road or touring bike.

    Still, I am eager to read the entries. And I am very happy that you, Velouria, are running this contest!

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  14. Thank you so much for creating this contest! The bike you refurbished is just beautiful, and focusing on "ride reports" is such a great idea.

    I'd be happy to submit two of my own ride reports:

    http://bikeriderambles.blogspot.com/2009/09/north-shore-adventure.html

    http://bikeriderambles.blogspot.com/2010/10/hub-on-wheels-ride-and-mayors-cup-race.html

    The first is from a ride on Boston's North Shore, and the second is an "event ride" report (which includes some watercolors I did too).

    As amazing as the bike you're offering is, I'd like to enter your contest simply for the fun of entering, not to win. The bike is a little too small for me (6' tall), and I wouldn't want it to go unused. But I hope you enjoy my entries nonetheless.

    Thanks so much again!

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  15. Question via email: "My wife would really like this bike, but she hasn't ridden in years and has no material for a ride report. Can I enter on her behalf?"

    Let me think about it. I'll be honest that it makes me uncomfortable when woman don't speak for themselves. For instance, why did she not write to me and ask this question - framing it instead as entering the contest herself, but submitting a ride report ridden by her husband? I don't mean to sound harsh. It's just that I really want this to be the initiative of the person who would be riding the bike. Otherwise, in my experience, the recipient often does not actually want it.

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  16. I checked your site Friday and though I don't need another bike I thought it fun and decided to participate. So I got busy recording the days ride. I posted it on my blog. Thank you.
    http://rogerclaytonpaintings.blogspot.com/

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  17. Looking forward to reading the stories!
    Maria

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  18. Hi, here is my entry! I'm very excited at the prospect of winning such a beautiful bike! I'm contemplating bike commuting to work for the first time this fall, and this bike would be perfect for it. Plus, it would actually fit, unlike the size 56 I was riding in this ride report...

    http://www.dabblegeek.com/2011/touring-the-emerald-isle/

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  19. Thanks for the links, Jason, Kelly and Roger!

    snarkypup - You are Queen of the Ride Report, I have to admit!

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  20. Snarky has a secret ride-report weapon that few of us can match; Baby Bunny sightings, with picture proof. Try as we might, we are powerless against such magic.

    Good luck, everyone! I look forward to reading all of the entries.

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  21. You guys are too sweet. I didn't even post a ride report today. But I did post pics of The Boy at the Velodrome, which ought to make Veloria happy. As soon as my hands recover from typing up the billion entries to the freshman writing class blog I'm creating this weekend (there's nothing like having a brilliant idea four days before school starts to light a fire under one's... fingers), I shall write about yesterday's lovely ride in the sunshine. No bunnies were spotted, unfortunately.

    It also helps to go to Ireland, I find, and ride there, if one wants to create good ride reports. I heartily recommend it to everyone. Corey, the baby bunnies are indeed the magic secret. My son agrees, as he is the original Baby Bunny in my household. The ride report with the baby bunny pic is here:

    http://rideblog.wordpress.com/2011/06/10/june-9-2011-ride-bikes-bunnies-and-buttercups/

    I submit it, but not to win. That bike, though probably about my size, is still a road bike, and my hands protest that this is Just Not Happening Again.

    Great contest idea!

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  22. A third bike is not something I can really afford (space and time-wise) right now but my lord you really did a stunning job on this bicycle. And darn if it isn't something I could really use! My first experience with drop bars ended with my forehead meeting the cement and a permanent souvenir above my left brow. I haven't been able to handle drop bars since. They're frighteningly twitchy to me.
    So I just want to say thanks for setting this up and offering a chance for women with experiences like mine to have the experience they were meant to have in the first place!

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  23. ride report submitted by Bicycle Kitty here

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  24. PS: love the new header, V. At first I thought: "new header! AAAAGGHHH!" then I decided I liked it muchly.

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  25. Ha, thanks. I've just quickly tried several versions, and will keep this one up for a bit to see whether I can live with it.

    I've received some really nice stories so far - thanks everyone! I've been swamped with work this weekend, but will hopefully have a new post tomorrow.

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  26. I'm terrified of road bikes/clipless/"different" shifters and the whole 9 yards! I wrote about the embarassingly bad bike ride I took my now-husband on.He rides a carbon fibre $3,000 bike, while I ride a 21 year old mountain bike someone GAVE me and a cheap steel hybrid. I was a LITTLE nervous. :D

    Note: I'm a resident of the USA now, not Canada! I'm a citizen, too. :)

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  27. "Can I enter to win a bike for my wife?"

    "My wife would really like this bike, but she hasn't ridden in years and has no material for a ride report. Can I enter on her behalf?"

    I love these.
    It always sends me back to this post:
    http://lovelybike.blogspot.com/2010/05/so-my-husband-wants-me-to-get-bike.html

    Saw plenty of such couples this weekend. Impossible to miss them!
    It is sweet though to want to have your significant other as a bike partner instead of the same old chums...

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  28. I'm going to enter even though I live in Australia and am not entitled to the prize, I just want to show some support as I get so much from your blog. I have the flu at the moment so can't go out to the track I want to write about and get the pics I need, I will do it in a few days time ..
    Love the new header too, great colours in your photos.
    Vicki

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  29. Montrealize - This whole topic is something I am continually conflicted about. I like my male readers and don't want to come across as man-hating. But the thing is that women write to me repeatedly with stories of how their husbands/boyfriends pushing them into cycling has only led to them feeling more intimidated and less interested in bicycles. I feel like by accepting contest entries that are not initiated by the women themselves I would be contributing to this problem.

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  30. Love the new header, it describes eloquently what Lovely Bicycle! is all about :-)

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  31. @ Velouria

    "I like my male readers and don't want to come across as man-hating."

    Bah, I don't think there is anything man-hating about prefering women to apply for themselves.
    There's actually nothing feminist about this, this behaviour is not necessarily male, the reverse is true in other fields.
    I am always buying clothes for my husband, wishing he would wear the (nice) clothes I buy for him rather than the (ratty raggidy) stuff he gets himself.
    Same goes for food (healthy vs. junk), health care (i.e. going to the doc to talk about husband's health while mister can never make it for some reason).
    It is about being controlling, nanny, mother-in-law type of naggy, or manipulative.
    The problem is about trying to change the other one to be more like us, as in that play, you know: "You're perfect, I love you, now change!"

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  32. Thanks Carinthia : )

    Montrealize - Good point on the reversed roles when it comes to clothing, etc. I am guilty!

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  33. Here's my submission!
    The Adventures of Lycra Grrl: A Personal Best in the Bitterroot Valley
    http://bikishheather.wordpress.com/2011/08/06/a-personal-best-in-the-bitterroot-valley/

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  34. Already submitted via email but I thought I would post a link too so as not to appear anti-social =)

    http://www.racheldoyle.net/?p=1402

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  35. I submitted my (memorable) ride report via email as well, but not reply so I put it up on my neglected blog:

    http://nerdycanadian.blogspot.com/2011/09/ride-report.html

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  36. I asked this on the bike description page, but I'll repost my question here.

    Do you know how long the top tube is? I have slightly "unusual" proportions, which work well with the frame size, providing that the top tube isn't too long.

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  37. VERY excited for this lovely give-away, so I decided to write my first EVER ride report. It's over at my blog for those interested. Feel free to check out my official submission here:

    http://designing4life.com/ride-report-lovely-bicycle-give-away/

    P.S. The bike for the give-away is gorgeous!!!

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  38. First ride report ever! My poor neglected blog is so happy to have something new on it.

    http://www.organiccity.net/biking/road-report-falling-back-in-love/

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  39. So glad to see neglected blogs come to life -
    And thanks everyone for the submissions!

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  40. Posting another link to a blog that was sent to me over email with a ride report:
    http://panasaurusrex.wordpress.com

    Thanks, D.!

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  41. Received an entry from LC at Car Free Family:
    http://carfreefamily.blogspot.com

    Love their blog!

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  42. Thought I'd add my ride report too. The bike is so lovely, and I've been waiting for this contest for a while. I'm excited!

    "Ride Report: The One Where My Bike Decides that the Gutter is a Good Place to Be"

    http://lemondirgopie.blogspot.com/2011/09/ride-report-one-where-my-bike-decides.html

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  43. Here is my entry, I am not eligible for the prize and don't neeed another bike anyway, I'm just wanting to enter the comp, good luck to all in the US ...

    http://bicyclesinnewcastle.com/2011/09/14/the-fernleigh-track-the-great-urban-escape/

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  44. Here is my entry:

    http://petersfamilyband.blogspot.com/2011/09/bicycle-love.html

    This is such a lovely bike and so much better than what I'm riding now. I would love to win!

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  45. I'm excited for a chance to win this beautiful bike! My ride report is more of a story than a report, but like you I cannot really think of much to say of one particular ride, rather more on my evolution as a cyclist.

    http://justalazyday.blogspot.com/2011/09/ride-report-for-lovely-bicycle.html

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  46. Not in for the bike (it's too big for me). But here's my ride report. I love this idea! http://blog.trap.it/70258016

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  47. I'm a blog-stalker not a blogger so I've emailed my entry. :)

    Thank you again for the opportunity to win this beauty! I'd love to break my fears of bike riding with a beautiful bike like this!

    I'm also enjoying reading everyone's ride reports! Ride on!

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  48. I'm so excited! I just finished writing mine and will insert the pics when I get home...

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  49. Hello, I posted my Ride Report at
    http://thefinestleaf.blogspot.com/

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  50. Hello,

    I fit the category of "women afraid of road bikes" rather well. I went over the handlebars of a road bike when I was a young 20-something, and haven't felt safe on anything with drop bars since. (Though I admit they still intrigue me!)

    I've never had a blog before, but this contest seemed like the perfect chance for some new experiences. Here is my entry:

    http://bikeybikey.wordpress.com/

    (I am 5'6", ride a 52 cm frame, just in case that lovely bike would like to come home with me.) Thanks for reading!

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  51. Here's my entry:
    http://bikewithasweater.wordpress.com/2011/09/17/kittenfind/

    I'm 5'6" and would like to do more bike touring, but I'm intimidated by drop handlebars. This bike seems like it would be perfect for me. My dream is to do some long-distance bike trips in the US, but I need to become a better rider first, and this lovely bike would help! Thanks for the contest. It inspired me to start a blog!

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  52. I've posted my ride report here: http://anthrojournalist.wordpress.com/2011/09/17/ride-report-reflection/

    Thank you for the much-needed motivation to blog!

    I'd love to win this bike. It's beautiful, would work very well for my daily commute as well as touring (exciting!), and from the specs, it sounds like it would fit me perfectly.

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  53. Hi! Never written a ride report but here goes. I posted mine at http://www.naniemendez.com/naniemendez.com/Blog/Entries/2011/9/18_Ride_Report.html

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  54. My first blog. My first post. My first ride report.

    I love this bike and I have been dreaming of touring, so please consider my entry:
    http://walrusbicyclecompany.com/

    Thank you for the inspiration!

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  55. Hi!

    I would love to win your beautiful bicycle...
    My Road Report (a first for me, like many of your contestants) can be found here:

    http://awkwardgirlsguidetolife.tumblr.com/ridereport

    Thanks for a great website, and thanks for considering me!

    -Kit

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  56. I struggled with this, since I've been looking for a steel touring frame all summer to fit up basically as you've build this one up, without any luck in finding even a good contender. I have a checkered past with "road" bikes and after having my two worst accidents on a "road" frame (right hooked once, and fell over after I was talked into trying clipless pedals) I'm exceptionally uncomfortable riding anything with drop bars in anything approaching traffic.
    Inspired by your adventures with the Seven, I dragged the Trek 420 from my high school days out of the deepest recesses of the bike shed. I removed the *&%& clipless pedals and put regular old toeclips on, jacked the stem as far up as it would go, and pumped the (amazingly intact) tires up and rode a couple of 10 mile rides. But I never got comfortable on it, and don't think it's a candidate for a touring bike makeover.
    Unfortunately I don't feel that I'm very good at writing ride reports, as my typical rides are utterly pedestrian (to work, to the store, lather, rinse, repeat).

    I thought about entering today's blog post, http://bikinginheels-cycler.blogspot.com/2011/09/happiness.html
    but it seems too derivative of Master Card.
    So, given the permission for old posts, I'm going to submit for your consideration, a ride on which a touring bike would have really been a lot better than the bike I rode: my 70 mile trip to go apple picking on an upright city bike.
    http://bikinginheels-cycler.blogspot.com/2010/10/apple-picking-by-bike.html

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  57. http://www.pedalnpurl.com/2011/09/18/ride-report-september-18th

    here's mine!

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  58. What a fun project to create my first ride report. My friend let me guest post on her blog. Thanks!

    http://welivethegivenlife.blogspot.com/2011/09/neighborhood-ride-guest-post-by-melissa.html

    (It's only 10:18 pm on the 18th here on the West coast.)

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  59. Thanks everyone for the entries so far! Just to clarify, contest remains open until 11:59pm US Pacific time.

    Oh and I have 20 more email-only entries that haven't been posted here, just FYI! This ended up being more popular than I thought. Lots of ride reports to read : )

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  60. My ride report is posted here:

    http://bikeinthesky.blogspot.com/

    Maybe I will keep blogging. This is sort of fun. :)

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  61. When and where will the winners be announced?

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  62. Thank you everyone!

    The contest is now closed. I will announce the winner within 2 weeks!

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  63. Will you make the announcement here, or elsewhere on your blog? Thanks!

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  64. Did someone win? The suspense is killing me.

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  65. its killing me too!!! i emailed my report because i dont blog! (fingers crossed!)

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  66. Agreed! I'm dying here! Who won?

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  67. Dear all, my apologies! I am making my way through the 60+ ride reports (oops - didn't think this would be as popular) and am nearly finished. Will announce the recipient when I return to the US at the end of the mont, and thank you for your patience!

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  68. Hello again everybody and thank you for your patience! I have selected the "lovely touring bicycle" recipient and will announce this in a post this weekend. The recipient has already been contacted : )

    Thank you everyone so much again for taking part!

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  69. Hello from Catalonia!

    Which report won? At home we are two fans of your blog and lovers-restorers bicycles.

    Anabel and Xavi

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