How randon-ize a cross bike?

20 01 2011

Thank god cross bikes are so versatile...

If I am going to ride any brevets in 2011 I have to get some training KMs into my legs in early 2011. The best bike in my fleet for the job is my Bow Cycle BBC 24 cross bike. It’s light and responsive while still having room for fenders along with sensible rubber.  The wide range gearing is useful for when I am tired and steep climbs are in my way.  The powerful canti brakes will stop me fast in rain or shine.

Here’s how I’ll get it ready to rando:

  • adjust fenders [they got tweaked over the last couple years]
  • fit 30mm Grand Bois Cypres for a fast, but comfy ride
  • buy a Brooks road bike saddle [my existing saddles don’t work well for bars below the saddle]
  • add GPS mount and GPS for navigation
  • add a Dinotte light [with glare reduction DIY hack] upfront
  • add a Planet Bike Superflash at the back end for a rear light
  • add a tailrack bag for extra storage as needed
  • add a Road Morph pump to frame

Then I just have to ride that sucker!



15 responses

20 01 2011

I’m not looking at doing any real brevet excursions, but I still need to get some work done on the VK2 before March in Seattle. Mostly I need to sort out my cranks and chainrings, get a low enough gear with just a double; probably end up with a compact double, 50/34 or such.

Are you going to be going on general fitness for the (relatively short) Seattle ride? Or figure on having some time at home to get some road miles in before then?

20 01 2011
Val Garou

Just out of curiosity, as you’ve shown it to be a superior product, why not throw your new Ixon IQ on there for event days? Swapping back and forth is a pain, but you probably won’t do THAT many brevets every week.

Also, I’m thinking about doing a little rando-riding this year, too. I’m wondering if I want to tackle those distances above 200k on a bike with bars below the saddle. I’ve ridden a couple double-centuries (200miles, not kms) on a bike set up along classic stage-racing terms, and its a little punishing on the body.

I’m thinking the ergos on my touring bike might be more agreeable.

20 01 2011

@Ian – I’ll be back at home at the end of Feb so if I can get in a 50km ride or two than that would be great. It’s possible I won’t get any training rides in which may be a bit grim, but it’s 100km so the suffering is limited!

@Val – the Ixon is my GF’s light and there is no night riding on a 200K [although the rules may require a light] – even a 300K only has a small amount of night riding unless you are really slow…the 400K is a for sure all night ride and I would borrow the Ixon for that ride if I don’t have anything better by then. My hope is to have a dynohub setup for the B&M IQ Cyo light I already have to give me Ixon type beam with no batteries…I may even steal my GF’s Ixon for double the light depending on the how full the moon is on the 400K I ride. Finally I am trying to get some use out of the Dinottes I have as they are expensive and still functional.

20 01 2011

@Val – I can’t tell you what you should ride, but if you have multiple bikes try them all out on 100K training rides. You’ll get a good feel for what is what.

Obviously you need to be comfy, but you also need to be efficient/fast. Getting off the bike 2hrs early is a form of comfort after all.

20 01 2011

just out of curiosity, why do you refer to this bike as a Bow Cycle, and not a Cannondale? I would look at that bike, much like my own Cannondale XTJ cross bike, and think, “hey, that’s a nice Cannondale!” What does “Bow Cycle” refer to?

20 01 2011

@Val – are you going to come out for he SIR 100K on 5 March?….would be good to see you and I “think” you are in Seattle area or did I get that totally wrong?

20 01 2011

@Brian – that bike is a custom version made for BowCycle and branded with their name as well as Cannondale. I don’t know how the spec differs, besides the graphics.

20 01 2011

Hmmm. Interesting. I wonder what is custom about it, aside from maybe the componentry? Otherwise, everything about the frameset looks like a straight-up Cannondale CAAD cross bike.

20 01 2011

i TOO, have been thinking about doing some rando lately. i kinda forgot, so thanks for reminding me! my foot kinda kicked it last week though, fallen arch, or accessory navicular syn. blerg. if it heals enough by april, i might try a night brevet with the oregon randos – i can really test out my new diy dyno light then. my goal is a 50-80mi dirt race in may, so a good rando ride fits right in with training for that.

21 01 2011

@Brian – I imagine only the components and graphics.

21 01 2011

@Alan – respect your body and see what happens…I don’t know what your regular rides are like, but definitely build up slowly to a 200K+ ride. The first real night brevet is a 400K and I wouldn’t recommend that unless you are happy at the 200K & 300K distances first.

21 01 2011
Val Garou


Thanks for the many responses! I had forgotten that the Ixon wasn’t yours, but your girlfriend’s. I hope you do get your dynamo wheel built up by the time you do a 400k, as that just seems like the most elegant option.

I’d love to hang out in Seattle, but I’m based out of Edmonton right now. There’s another commenter you’re thinking of who lives near there. My buddy and I are touring out of Vancouver this summer, though; maybe I’ll detour over to Victoria and buy you a beer then.

As for my bikes, yeah, I have several. I know what 200 miles feels like on my racy-bike, so I think I’m going to start by giving my touring rig (a Traveler’s Check) a shot at the job. I mean, yeah, you have to be fast, but you don’t have to be THAT fast, right? 😉

Best ~

21 01 2011

@Val – sorry for the confusion…ya if you get to Victoria drop me a line and we’ll empty some pint glasses!

Bottom line it’s more important to be comfortable than fast. Most people can finish a brevet in time as long as they want to stay on their bikes.

A Cross Check is a fine brevet rig…you’ll do fine and have fun on it…=-)

26 01 2011
Aaron M

Hello Vik, Hope your cerveza training rides are working out for you, chortle. Sunday last I managed to notch up a 100km on my Trek xo without utterly destroying myself. I felt pretty good as it was my longest ride since my tour to Boston Bar. I hope to be in fair condition by the time you’re back from Baja. My bike is under going some mods, I fitted a racktime carrier and an axiom streamlined 9 ltr cap. trunk bag so I can take a few accoutrements with me and figure out my gear list. For tires I’d like to fit in some Conti UltraGatorSkin 700x30mm. The 28mm are good for most of my rides but it would be nice to have a rando specific set with some extra cush. (shameless plug time) Continental makes some of the finest road tires, there are several nasty slashes and gouges in the thread casing but thankfully no flats yet. I’m referring to the more costly, handmade in Germany, offerings. The UltraGator skin, & 4season, have proved to be reliable and perform well all year round. Once my scuba training is over I’ll be able to fit in some more after work night rides.
Enjoy your ‘beach house’ Vik & we’ll see you when you land back on the Island. Your set-up is very impressive & looks extremely comfortable, tip a brew or two for me. Keep the rubber side down.

27 01 2011

@Aaron – glad you are getting into the rando spirit. If you can ride a 100kms 200km is no problem with some food/hydration and someone to chat with while you spin the pedals.

Some wide tires is a good idea as long as you can still fit fenders.

I’m picking up the GF today and she’ll be here for 10 days which will be nice.

safe riding,


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