What would the optimum blend of bicycle composition ingredients from Bicycle Quarterly/Jan Heine and Rivendell/Grant Petersen look like for you? The Ocean Air Cycles Rambler shown above might be my version.
In the last several years, I have been heavily influenced by the admirable work of Grant and Jan. But there are significant differences between them. For awhile, I thought I must choose to become a cycling disciple of one…or the other. After a little experimentation (and a lot of dollars), I finally realized what is probably obvious to you. Perhaps there is a way to identify and use the best of each “philosophy” or “approach” to enhance what I personally do with a bicycle. I didn’t set out to create some sort of “in-between-er”. On today’s outing, however, I realized how much I enjoy certain features that both influences have given me. This blend of two different influences just sort of evolved.
What follows is an illustration of what I mean. It is not my purpose to claim this is an optimum blend for everyone. If you look carefully, no doubt certain discrepancies will become apparent. But I’ll mention of few of the things that stand out for me. Who knows? Maybe someone else can benefit from all this somehow.
Rivendell was probably the biggest influence on how I USE a bicycle. The whole “unracer” and “just ride” philosophy which suggests riding is possible without lycra was liberating. Now I enjoy platform pedals, upright bars, and even have a basket to carry things I want (not just need) to have with me. Rivendell showed me the benefits of slacker frame angles and a longer wheelbase. I was able to focus on comfort and let speed cease to be my master. My bike weighs as much as it needs to maximize fun. It was Rivendell that introduced me to S24Os and a kind of casual, hobo aesthetic that matches my personality.
From Bicycle Quarterly
Bicycle Quarterly taught me certain technical aspects to help make what I do with a bike even more enjoyable. I learned that more flexible frames can be more “lively” and work with a rider to be less fatiguing and make climbing a little easier. The articles on low trail frame design described how front loads could be carried easier. The magazine is also where I learned about the benefits of dynohub lighting systems and wider tires with supple casings. Each of these technical insights has elevated comfort, ease, and convenience of my cycling. Each is complimentary to my riding style, and even seems to blend well with so many of the things I have embraced from the Rivendell influence.
So it feels like, in some accidental way, I’ve ended up with a bicycle that blends many of my favorite features from both of my major influences. It was a delightful outing today, if a bit soggy. It would have been nice to have fenders on my bike today. Maybe I’ll turn to my two great influences for guidance.
Aluminum or plastic?