24/07: OK, It's OFFICIAL, I have a new FAVORITE BIKE!
Very early this year I ventured to Portland Oregon to attend and cover the North American Handmade Bicycle Show. The NAHBS was a promoter's dream, attended so well that the Fire Officials in Portland temporarily closed the doors because the show exceeded the legal limits of occupancy. Anyway, to get to the point, While I was there I met Todd Gardner of Proletariat Bicycle Company, and I liked what they were doing. Simply stated, Custom Handmade Frames and Bicycles. No Frills, solid frames elegant in their steel simplicity.
Several months passed and I decided, hell, why not order one. So I did. There is much more to this story than what I am telling you here and you can TOTALLY look froward to the full feature article in our Fall release, but for now, I simply can not contain my enthusiasm for this bike, so I'm giving you a sneak peak. This is the story about the arrival of the box and the first real ride.
So Ivan, my new PROLETARIAT bike shipped from Springfield, Oregon on August 10th, and UPS had it scheduled to arrive on the 16th. So I waited at home playing hooky from my day job. Of course UPS never showed until literally five minutes before I had to leave, later that evening, for the city. So, Ivan remained in the box gulag in which he had spent the last week traveling cross country. One minor hole in the box troubled me, but I had a train to catch.
Life intervened and it was not until the following evening that I had the opportunity to liberate him. Ivan, the leader of the Proletariat movement on Irving Place, emerged from his gulag in complete orange glowing beauty, intact and none the worse for his journey. I quickly reattached his handle bars, front wheel, and seat just in time for the sun to disappear end end our first meeting. Ivan went to the garage commune to encourage the rest of my two wheeled fleet to adopt socialism.
Friday: It must have worked, because my Six-13 Team bike left the commune to carry a competitor in the New York Triathlon. Ivan merely sat and waited, leaning against a piece of sheet rock in the garage, waiting for some TLC, adjustments, and tightening up for his first outing. He waited three days. Life, as they say, got in the way. It has been really hot in New York, and my days jobs kept me busy, but this was nothing to compared to my Honey Do list and busy-weekend-familial-obligations.
Monday arrived and I actually got home at a decent hour, so up on the bike stand lept Ivan. With very little fuss we attached his SPD pedals, adjusted the Ritchey bars, trued up the Ritchey Steerer, set the WTB seat height and rake, and Presto off we went for an adjustment test spin. Now mind you, this was in street shorts, and sandals. None the less I knew we were a team meant to spread the Proletariat Doctrine. The trip literally went 150 yards. Ivan hit the commune and slept fitfully leaning against the sheet rock again.
Tuesday morning I could endure it no longer! 6:00 am, off came the "u-trou" up came the Cannondale bib shorts, over the head came the Squadra Peal Pushers Online Jersey, and off we went, as naked as possible, Ivan and I headed East for the Cedar Creek run.
I literally turned the corner from the end of my block and I knew this was going to be a great ride. Admittedly, it was also the first ride I had taken in months without a trailer attached. But, that was part of the plan anyway. Ivan had been built up for Proletariat Service with all the considerations of attaching cargo gear. Look for more on that later when I write up the full review. The short answer; this ride reminded me totally of why I ride in the first place. I was comfortable, the ride was smooth, the steering responsive, yet neutral, and not even slightly twitchy. Power delivery felt like 100% possibly better. I spent the 23 mile round trip simply enjoying the bike's ride. It was one of those rare mornings where everyone on Cedar Creek was friendly and just happy to be there with very few Bike Road Nazis. Pleasantries were often exchanged as we shared a great morning.
Simply put, I am thrilled with this great new ride and I am honestly looking forward to doing the full review, which will publish in late September . The long over due article on the Handmade bike show, as well as an interview with Todd Gardner, frame builder extraordinaire, and Mike Parsell resident engineer, product manager, (formerly with True Temper the bicycle steel tubing company), will accompany that release. These are the gents who designed, built, selected the components and assembled the finished bike. Look for this, coming Late September to early October.
And Remember as always, Keep the rubber side down!
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