Sunday, March 07, 2010
So I looked. Jamis, Surly and Redline were early contenders, had what I was looking for and the brands are available at a couple LBSs.
I also considered having something done to the travel bicycle that I already have. The old LeMond could be repurposed with the addition of some brazons, but there's no way it would take cantilever brakes and 35c commuter tires with studs. It was out. And the Cross Concept I have already? It can't take a rack (believe me, I've tried 'em all), and I'm tired of hauling a backpack. She goes onto the auction block.
I dug around on the Surly site, the Jamis site. Long Haul Trucker? WD has one and loves it for commuting. Maybe a CrossCheck? Aurora? I poked around online and read forums and reveiws. They each had plusses and minuses. Someone somewhere in some forum mentioned the Bianchi Volpe...I decided that may be worth a look. After all, I converted to Bianchiism seven years ago and with each passing season it seems I become more entrenched in the faith.
And then -- it started innocently enough as I scanned through the frame geometry and component lists -- I found myself paying undue attention to forum comments about bicycle weight. It's the last vestige of my racing days: a 16-pound road bicycle (pedals and bottle cages included) that I still love to ride. The words lightweight and fun have the same definition in my cycling manual. I'm trying to rewrite it, but it takes time.
I headed off to an LBS on the west side-o-town (I know, it's not THE LBS, but it's good to have found a bunch of good joes close to home) and talked to the Commuter Guy every LBS has a Commuter Guy. I told Commuter Guy what I was looking for and what I was coming from. We hemmed and hawed over a Conquest. We talked Surly. You know, in all honesty, in this town I worry about having a Surly locked up outside of any place. I don't think twice about leaving Betty sitting out while I go in for coffee, but I'd have to have a u-lock and cable on a Long Haul Trucker if I popped in somewhere to grab a kleenex.
Besides, WD's LHT weighs in at 35 lbs 35 lbs! with fenders, studded tires, rack and lights.
We were about to walk over to the computer when Commuter Guy stops and says you're tall...what size frame to you take? We've got this '09 Bianchi Axis on sale, but it's a 58.
It's a size larger than I would take if I were racing cyclocross, but I have no plans for that -- it's a perfect fit and reach for riding the road. The aluminum frame means no rust, it's all sparkly black, it takes a rack, it's on sale...and it weighs 22 pounds.
-The now I have to sell one Bag