Friday, June 5, 2009

Cool Randonneur Bag

This is a photo of Cecil Anne while she is on the first day, May 30, of the Oregon Randonneurs 600k XTR. You can view her Flickr album of 111 photos here.

For folks new to or curious about randonneuring, there’s a great deal to learn from this photo.

Randonneurs often:

1. Mount a handlebar randonneur bag setup as she does here instead of panniers or side bags. Reduces wind resistance, makes items available while riding, provides a convenient location for the cue sheet or route directions, and looks coooool.

2. Bring a rear bag on longer rides for tools, extra clothing, spare tubes/tire.

3. Provide full fenders and mudflaps since we ride no matter the weather. Riding behind a fenderless bike in the rain that sprays a constant stream of muddy water onto your glasses and lips is a big dragola. Fenders protect the rider’s shoes from drenching and also those around you. Most courteous.

4. Utilize generator powered lighting instead of batteries so that we always have light without the worrying over inadequate batteries. Dependable, powerful, and the accompanying headlight is retro cool.

5. Sit on leather saddles. Believe it or no, they are more comfortable than any others. And of course, they look so c………

6. Pedal lots of lowish gears so that we can get up the hills and mountains with all the junk I’ve just been describing. Most look down their noses at our plethora of cogs, but we’re too cool to care.

7. Ride on fat rubber. Wider tires grip better, are comfier, are not necessarily slower than skinny tires, and to some eyes are the cat's moustache. Nine out of ten folks think they look dorky, but they happen to be wrong.

8. Are thieves when it comes to nourishment. See how Cecilanne steals that poor farmer’s water. We’ve been known to raid cooling fruit pies sitting on window sills (just like in O Brother, Where Art Thou?). Fruited or nut-filled trees? Look out. Watermelons? Only if we can get them in our cool handlebar bags!

These are generalizations that comport with my preferences, but Cecilanne’s bicycle is tricked out very similar to how I envision my new ride.

Please visit Cecilanne’s album; she’s got pics of snakes, including a “pissed-off” rattler, a walrus (how many Walruses would one normally see on a bicycle ride? [In Googling the plural of Walrus {it is officially “Walruses”}, I discovered that there is an online petition to Merriam Webster asking him to change it officially to “Walri” due to their "majestic" nature]), and even mesmerizing, tattooed, cyclist legs!*

Keep it curious,


*I think I have an adult onset of some kind of parenthetical fetish. Love those parentheses (really!)!


  1. For what it's worth, this is a breakdown of the my bike set-up:

    1) Front Bag - the one that is on the bike in this picture is not my bag - I borrowed it from my friend Lynne to test it out. It is an an Acorn "Boxy Rando Bag." Lynne loves it, but I did not like it - it is interfered with my ergo shifters and was unstable at high speed. Neither of those are issues for Lynne - she has bar-end shifters and does not go at high speeds. I normally use either a Baggins or Nigle Smythe Lil' Loafer on the front.

    2) Generator Hub/Headlights -Schmidt SON hub with Lumotec Oval+ Primary and Schmidt E6 secondary halogen-bulb lights

    3) Brooks Champion Flyer "S" saddle - with springs to ease the rough road.

    4) Tanaka brass fenders from Soma Fabrications

    5) Baggins Loafer rear bag. I actually also often use Ortlieb panniers for extra-long rides. Frankly, with a bicycle as heavy as mine, a little extra wind-resistance is rarely noticeable.

    6) 13-29 rear cassette -I can climb a telephone pole, or Cole School Road.

    7) 700x28 Ruffy Tuffy tires. My last set went over 4000 miles before I got a flat . . .

    The bike itself is a Sweetpea, built in Portland by Natalie Ramsland and designed to my specifications for randonneuring . . .

  2. i love parentheses, too (extravagantly) -- i've always loved them but even more so after reading joe brainard's poems (& journals) --

    [i also love brackets -- wanted to tell you i see you've added kyana to your list -- good move -- you can take black turtleneck off -- i prefer kyana for updating (and you get email notice when someone comments!)]

    [ -- not to mention my love of two dashes (with a space before and after) -- ]

  3. Thanks, Cecil Anne, for the details on your sweet ride. Very useful.

    kyana: I had never tried the spaced two dashes. Will observe to discern proper usage.