It all started when a mishap happened involving a roof rack. No, no, don't worry, I didn't drive into a garage with the bike on the roof or anything catastrophic like that. The bike was in one of those roof racks where you remove the front wheel and clamp the fork to the rack at the dropouts. A sharp turn, luckily at low speed in a parking lot, and the bike ended up on its side on the roof. Not sure exactly why the clamp didn't hold, but it ended up bending one of the dropouts pretty badly. Being a steel frame, I was able to straighten it out, but the powder coat suffered in the process, so I figured I'd get the fork re-coated.
|Rack mounts and cable guides brazed and cleaned up|
Once I got the fork back from the powder coat shop, I started thinking about other changes I wanted to make. For one thing, I never really fell in love with the handlebars I had chosen. I had read over the years that a lot of touring and long distance cyclists like the randonneur style drop bar that has a bit of a sweep upwards from the stem to the top of the drops. I really tried, but just never liked them all that much. Over the years I've become rather fond of fairly wide (44 - 46cm) drop bars with a nice long flat stretch on either side of the stem, so that's what I installed this time. The bars I seem to keep coming back to are made by the Japanese company Nitto, their model B115, a classic "Maes" style bend.
|Nitto B115 bars, Shimano and Tektro brake levers|
|Shimano CX50 brakes|
|V-O bag support|
|Here she is, with bar bag|
|And without bar bag|
As a final touch, I replaced the Mirrycle Duet bell with a more stylish (and louder) Crane lever-strike style bell. It looks great, and has a terrific sound and amazing sustain. A minor thing, but fun.
|Shiny and loud!|
Now all I need is the time and the weather to take her out on a tour, or at least a good overnight trip on the C&O Canal. I designed the bike to take wide tires under those fenders, and now she's wearing Schwalbe Marathon Supreme tires in a 700x42mm size, so she makes a great towpath camping bike.
Plans for the future? Well, I mentioned early on that I had added guides for dynamo hub wires up the fork, so obviously at some point I want to install such a system on the bike. I've got dynohubs on a number of bikes, and it sure would be handy on a touring bike. And one day I might just get some decals made for the frame. Stay tuned!
And if you want to see more pictures of the bike, from raw tubing through several variations in components, check it out here: Goshawk - My First Frame