2019 Rivendell Custom

My 2019 Rivendell Custom Bicycle

I’ve written a lot about how, more than any other object, bicycles evoke a sense of wonder and adventure in me. When I was a little kid, bicycles represented freedom. Some of my best days both as a kid and as an adult have been spent pedaling leisurely with no destination in mind. I love that bicycles are simple, quiet, easily obtained, require human effort, and that it’s possible for even the crappiest dumpster bike to get someone to work or bring a smile to someone’s face. As much as I like roadtrips, I find car culture one of the least admirable aspects of the human experience. When I was a kid, I never dreamt about having a nice car. I always wanted a better bicycle.

In September of 2017 I scratched an itch I’ve had for decades—I went on a pilgrimage to Rivendell Bicycle Works in Walnut Creek, CA, got measured, and ordered a Rivendell Custom Frame. I (re)met Grant Petersen (a huge influence on my cycling interests) and some of the great folks who work there, put a deposit down and was emailed a form to fill out.

Two years later, I received a frame.

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The XO-1 Returns

This article was originally posted to my previous website on August 7, 2013. For posterity’s sake I’m reposting it here with that timestamp.

Late last fall, my son learned how to ride his bike without training wheels–just in time for winter. During winter, he outgrew his tiny person bike. So in May, I purchased a new bike for him with the stipulation that I would not put training wheels on it. And within a few weeks, we were riding up and down the block together. Shortly after that, riding around town together. It wasn’t long before we wanted the whole family to join in on our adventures, so I set my wife up with a new bike for her birthday, ordered a bike trailer for my daughter, and bought a bike rack for the car.

This sudden ability to bike as a family was impetus to bring a long-lost friend out of storage: my 55cm 1993 Bridgestone XO–1.

This bike and I have quite the history together. I lucked into finding the frame for sale in 1998 and spent almost half a year afterward sourcing the parts I wanted, buying them as I could afford to. I spec’d the drivetrain and built the wheels specifically for a ride I planned from Portland, Maine to Anchorage, Alaska—a ride I never ended up taking, though I’ve put the bike through many more miles as that trip would have.

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