The Bike


I am a cyclist, but not really not a bicycle person. I am not obsessed at all with the mechanical engineering or gadgetry that go into making a bicycle run. Normally, I do not take pictures of bike parts or talk about them at social events! My last bike was with me for 12 years and 100,000 miles.

It's easy to be overwhelmed by all the noise about bike parts and frames and brands and so on. A bike has to fit you (the rider) AND the kind of riding you will do on it. It should be as light and durable as technology will allow. That's it! 

The right bike extends your body so you can be completely free. You can ride that last dirt part of the road that has the best views and no traffic. You can generate light all through the night. You can wander roads near and far, without end...


As of last Christmas Eve, I did not have the kind of bike that can go on Route 66. I had a very light, fancy bike. So instead of going for a long ride, Danny drove us to Alameda to look at a bike. A fast sport touring bike for long rides.

My requirements:
  • Dropouts, for mounting a rack and panniers and heading north to my dad's for a few days. In winter, you gotta carry a lot of clothes!
  • The Schmidt Nabendynamo. The most efficient hub generator on this earth. Many a dark night...
  • Low gears for hauling the rack, panniers, and hub dynamo. Even on dirt, which resists more than asphalt.
On a whim, I searched Craigslist for "Waterford" and "48". That's what brought us to an Alameda apartment, with a basically new Waterford. TIG welds, 48 cm top tube, carbon fork, and a DuraAce triple crank. 

Orange crush! The rack and pump were added by me. Note the lack of decal on the downtube.

Around the block we went, for a sweet little ride. And that was it!
Beautiful understated logo decal. Dirt spray added by me. 
Buying a new bike is really more of a courtship than a transaction. I was beginning to despair...
  1. The hunt started with Rivendell, the Hillborne model. When I saw the lead times, price, and a review by a female owner that mentioned a weight of 33 lbs, I moved on. 
  2. Waterford makes the smaller Hillbornes. Waterford bikes have similar minuses as Rivendell. Not surprising.
  3. Apparently there's a spinoff of Waterford called Gunnar! Gunnar is making TIG-welded lightweight steel bikes. Looks good, but they are no cheaper than the lugged Waterfords, and lead times...again too long.
With the above, you pay for a custom bicycle but there's no option to take a test ride and send it back. They take your measurements and other info, make small dimension tweaks, and you buy the bike. Most bikes are not designed for a small woman, so I was cautious. Even if I could sell a new Gunnar on eBay, it would mean starting over and eating months of lead time.

This orange Waterford came with about 40 original miles :) Stone's Cyclery in Alameda put it together for the original owner; they say the frame is made of TruTemper LX Platinum tubing. Sure has a nice, responsive ride.

We named the color Orange Crush. After all the technical hoo-ha, people order custom bikes so they can pick the color. This is a color I never would have picked! And yet it's somehow so right.

Time to order the wheel with Schmidt hub!