Eau de Hell Week 600K Bikes…

15 04 2011

Santana tandem...

I pulled a 12hr volunteer shift helping to run the 373K control on the BC Randonneurs Eau de Hell Week 600K. I snapped a pic of every bike I could. Sorry about the lighting and the angles.

A lot of the bikes had Edelux dyno lights on them like this Co Motion...



Nicely equipped Talbot...


A carbon Trek...




There were quite a few front bags and several were Berthouds...

Coho again...


Another Berg...

Mystery rando bike...


Another Marinoni...

A Gunnar...

Surly LHT in the middle...

Rodriguez with S&S...

Hugh Porter...

Kogswell PR....




First place rider's Cervelo...



39 responses

15 04 2011

What strikes me every time I see a collection of rando bikes is just how many very different setups can be made to work for long distance riding. There are battery lights and dyno hubs, front-loaded bikes, back-loaded bikes with trunk bags or seatpost bags, and there are bikes with frame bags. Most have leather saddles, but a few are perfectly content to ride 600 km on a synthetic saddle. There are 23mm, 25mm, 28mm and 32mm tires, and there are big 45mm balloon tires on 650B wheels. And all of these bikes are ridden by experienced riders who have made them work before.

15 04 2011

Vik, that’s terrific that you were able to help out Martin on the 600 and get some bike pictures. I think the bike pictures help give new randonneurs an idea of what’s possible. I amazed to see that with all that rain Ken Bonner is not using a front mudguard (on the Al Bergman Ti frame). Perhaps there is a lesson there.

I recognized Jeff Mudrakoff’s Marinoni from the skull lights underneath the seat:


15 04 2011
Steve Park

The variety of rando bike forms is great. This is what makes checking out the amazing bikes that turn up at brevets a real treat. Though it is striking to me how few carbon racing bikes (1?) there are in the set. In the Boston area, road racing bikes are very common at brevets. There is still a wide variety of bikes turning up here, but there are not as many front loaded steel bikes as you see in this BC collection.

I do sense that bike variety varies greatly from region to region, even among randonneurs. Weather is maybe a factor, but I sense that it is related more to the fact that the renaissance of bike sensibilities and bike building is happening nearer to the left coast.

15 04 2011

Consistently eclectic. Personally, I’m keen on the Ti Berg bikes, but am quite happy with the LItespeed Blue Ridge frame I scored on eBay.

Unfortunately, it’s kind of a princess now, and I need a more modest second bike to kick around for errands and winter riding. Maybe a Surly Troll.

15 04 2011

Steve, one of the reasons you see more steel frames in British Columbia and Washington is because there is a lot of rain in the winter and the riding season is year-round on the coast where most of the randonneurs are. Seattle and Vancouver have the biggest contingent of randonneurs and both those cities have no snow but lots of rain. Carbon frames, for the most part, do not accommodate proper mudguards.

Perhaps one of the other reasons there are so many steel bikes in British Columbia and Washington is because a lot of the randonneurs there are very experienced and they know that metal frames are more practical for randonneuring. The BC Randonneurs are one of the older rando clubs.

15 04 2011
Rob K

Strictly in the spirit of interesting (I hope) bicycle trivia, I note a blue bike about a third of the way down your list which is clearly marked “Talbot” but which you identify as a “Nicely equipped Cabot”.

I have searched the web, unsuccessfully for both monickers in order to confirm a suspicion I have regarding the rig’s origins. In the 70’s & 80’s I frequented a shop midway down Kingsway in Vancouver, called “Carltons Outdoors??” It was a miniature MEC (emphasis on miniature), small on size but big on expertise. It was a cool shop, run, if memory serves me, by the Green brothers.

During that time frame they began building their own bikes under the label of “Talbot”, and I am suspecting that the bike you noted is one of theirs.

Anyway, if so then it simply provides me with a small nostalgic charge for another era. If not, then I would be interested in knowing the correct lineage of the steed.

Thanks for the report.

15 04 2011

I decided to stay on during the day and get a marathon volunteer shift in…lol..hopefully that’s some sort of training value for future brevets!

That’s not Ken Bonner’s bike. He was in and out of the control too fast for me to get a photo.

15 04 2011

@Rob – thanks for picking up my error on the Talbot…lack of sleep makes for wacky blogging.

15 04 2011

@Steve – steel french style rando bikes make a lot of sense, but they are not sold at most bike shops and people make fun of you for riding them….so in areas were there isn’t a strong old school rando culture new [to rando] folks don’t think to invest in one [even if they can figure out where to get one] and feel silly hanging out at the start of a ride on one with all the CF road bikes around. OTOH walk into any LBS you can leave with a Trek Madone or similar ride in 20 mins.

Not that CF road bikes don’t work, but it seems like every accommodation for LD riding is a challenge vs. a bike designed for that purpose from the start. Given that people are very fast on both it seems smart to ride something designed for the task at hand if you are buying a new bike, but if you have an existing CF road bike there is no reason to feel you can’t ride it for brevets.

I think where people get off track on this issue is they see purpose built rando rigs, CF road bikes and bents successfully completing brevets and conclude that the choice of bike doesn’t matter. I think that’s erroneous. They are very different and the choice matters very much to what your experience will be like even if you cross the line at the same elapsed time on all three types of bikes.

15 04 2011

Been following your blog for a while now Vik. Thanks for the update and love the pics.

Just got a chro-moly fixed gear on 700 X 23 and love the ride. Been thinking about light overnight touring and following your adventures is inspiration.

15 04 2011
Mike Croy

Hey Vik

Ken Bonners bike was the Berg bike you took a picture of outside the hotel. Way to go on Volunteering it can be a lot of fun for sure!
The Talbot bike belongs to Nigel Press.


15 04 2011

@Mike – there were points last night were I was as confused as some of the riders. Sleep dep does strange things to the brain!…=-) Thanks for pointing out Ken’s bike. I just found out about Berg Bikes last night.

If I don’t ride the Van Isle 600K – which is quite likely I can give you a solid 18hrs of my life that weekend. I’ll decide after the 400K.

15 04 2011

@Victor – enjoy the FG experience….it’s a trip for sure. Not sure where you live, but some lightly loaded trips…maybe even hotel to hotel would be fun. Drop me a line and let me know what happens…=-)

15 04 2011

I noticed the Marinoni and the Mystery bike seem to have fairly shallow drop bars. Does anyone know where you can get drop bars like that?

15 04 2011

@AC – Salsa Short n’ Shallow bars?


15 04 2011

And not a single recumbent? No pictures, or completely absent?

15 04 2011

@JQF – I haven’t seen any bents in Van Isle brevets so far. I don’t really expect to, but it’s possible somebody may come out later in the season as it warms up a bit.

16 04 2011
Raymond Parker

@Rob K Nigel Press’s Talbot is indeed a vintage frame from Carleton, where I worked in late 70s-early 80s.

A couple of these bikes are featured on VeloWeb’s “Readers’ Rando Bikes” page, where their owners discuss their choices.

16 04 2011

@Steve Park; Just to nit pick, there are actually 2 carbon bikes in those pictures, the Trek and… the Cervelo RS (the first place bike ;0) which incidentally has some lovely deep section carbon/alu mavic wheels.

16 04 2011

jqf, there are only a few recumbenteers who do the Vancouver Island brevets. Of the Van Isle brevets that I have done I have only seen four recumbents; one from California, one from Alaska, one from Victoria (BC) and my own recumbent. There has only been one recumbent that has fished the Van Isle Hell Week and that was mine (and I was sitting on it at the time).

16 04 2011

Hi Vik,

Do you have any of the pictures of riders posted anywhere?

Thanks for volunteering!

16 04 2011

@Ryan – I’ll put them up on the blog this AM. If there are you want at higher res just let me know.

16 04 2011
Eau de Hell 600K 2011 « The Lazy Randonneur

[…] – not a cranky person in the bunch. Clearly this was a select group of successful riders so I paid lots of attention to their bikes, what they wore, how they managed their time and what they did at the control. I definitely have a […]

16 04 2011
doug in seattle

I live the Rodriguez that attains what I would describe, endearingly, as attaining Epic Dorkitude.

Overall awesome bike love.

16 04 2011
doug in seattle

Good lord, that is one poorly written comment. Sorry.

17 04 2011

@Doug it happens – feel free to post a corrected post if you like and I’ll delete everything else, but the new version.

17 04 2011
Chris Cullum

Vik, I can provide a bit more light on some of the bikes there.

I think as Ray mentions my Coho and Ken Bonner’s Berg are featured in more detail on his Veloweb site: http://www.veloweb.ca/randopages/readers-rando-velos.html I noticed Ken Bonner has switched to a steel fork from carbon. I meant to ask him about that.

Nigel Press had his Talbot modified with braze-ons for a front rack etc and then powdercoated. Of course Nigel did a great job building it up with traditional friction downtube shifters, Al fenders, TA cranks etc.

In addition to the glowing skulls RB talks about, Jeff Mudrakoff’s Marinoni has a homemade LED lighting system that Jeff put together that is *very* bright.

The carbon Trek belongs to Dave Gillanders who at 78 last year finished the Van Isle 1200!

Ryan Golbeck recently switched to a high rake fork to reduce the trail on his Waterford for better handling with a handlebar bag. I think it is the same fork as the Boulder Brevet 700C bike.

The “mystery rando bike” is Eric Fergusson’s bike. He told us that it is a Miyata that is now a little over 20 years old. That bike has a lot of k’s under its belt.

Guido Van Duyn was running Pari Moto 650B tires on his Kogswell P/R. I have heard they are quite fragile but Guido said he hadn’t had any flats during Hell Week.

I made a couple changes on my Coho recently as well. I took off the Campy Ergopower levers and put on Dura Ace downtube shifters. I am pretty happy with change so far. I also went to a Berthoud saddle from a Brooks B17. The Berthoud was very hard initially but it got more comfortable as Hell Week wore on. The quality of construction and the leather seem of better quality than a modern Brooks. I usually run Grand Bois Cypres tires but during the winter and Hell Week I ran Pasela 32’s for a bit more durability. Over the week, I just had one flat during the 600.

BTW Thanks for volunteering!


18 04 2011

@Chris thanks for the link to Ray’s blog post and thanks for the update on bikes – very interesting. Congrats on your EdeH rides…=-)

18 04 2011
Micheal Blue

Vik, thanks for the bike pics. That’s helpful. Do you see IGHs at all at events such as this? If not, would it be beause of the price, efficiency, or why?

18 04 2011

@ Michael – I didn’t see any IGHs. Given that many of these bikes are worth $3K+ I don’t think it’s related to price.

My view is that IGHs aren’t used due to:

– lower efficiency
– lack of gear range [except for Rohloff and maybe the Alfine 11]
– lack of repair options during an event
– lack of good drop bar shifter options
– weight

Having said that Gary Baker was taking possession of a brand new Berg rando biek outfitted with a Rohloff hub. However, he rides a flat bar unlike 90% of the other randos so a Rohloff shifter fits well on his bike.

When JTEK comes out with an Alfine 11 bar end shifter I’d be willing to try an Alfine 11 out on a brevet bike. Currently there is only a trigger shifter option.

19 04 2011
VeloWeb Readers’ Rando Rigs… « The Lazy Randonneur

[…] I posted a slew of poorly lit and haphazardly composed photos of bikes from the Eau de Hell Week 600…. Chris Cullum kindly pointed me to a post on Raymond Parker’s VeloWeb site that details a few of these bikes with professional photography. Chris also provided some updates on the info in Raymond’s post discussing changes since last year [see comments section of my EdeH bike post]. I know, for example, Lee Ringham no longer rides the LHT shown as he has switched to a Velo Orange 650B Polyvalent bike. […]

19 04 2011

So cool to see so many nice bikes! Thanks for the report!!
Peace 🙂

20 04 2011
Bikes from a Texas 600K… « The Lazy Randonneur

[…] I shared my photos from the recent Eau de Hell Week 600K on BikeForums.net long distance forum. Stephen H took photos of almost all the bikes on a 600K in Texas. It’s interesting to see what they are riding there. Click on the image above to see his photos. […]

20 04 2011
Dharma Dog

RE: Talbots. Yes, they were being built out of the Green brothers’ Vanouver shop (Carleton Cycles) during the 70’s/80’s by various builders, so the results would vary considerably. The name came from an older relative (uncle, as I recall) of the Greens. I once owned a Talbot track bike (later converted to a cyclo-cross bike), and Wayne Phillips rode one on his 1982 (?) cross-Canada record ride. Both bikes were built slightly out of alignment; they must have had a misaligned jig. I remember riding behind Wayne on the Canada ride and noticing that the front and rear wheels did not tilt the same… They didn’t have the computers then to be able to design neutral-handling frames like the top builders of today; I suspect it was more copying tube lengths & angles and general seat-of-the-pants construction. I remember Rick Green once remarking that he liked a “square” frame – 57cm seat tube with 57cm top tube. Frame design is a highly underrated consideration. An example is trendy Italian frames of the 80’s/90’s with too-steep angles & too-short top tubes that handled like crap. At least Talbot put the Reynolds 531 seat tubes in the right way. Many British-built frames of the 70’s would require 26.8 (rather than 27.2) seatposts. This was a clear indication that they had put in the seat tube upside-down!

20 04 2011
Dharma Dog

Steel vs carbon: I’m definitely NOT one of those guys that goes around saying “steel is real,” but I do think that at the present time, an experienced cyclist doing a long-distance ride where reliability is a primary consideration will ride steel. At the recent LM Spring 200 (the Camel), one of the faster riders (he was pulling Peter Stary & me along Vye early in the ride faster than we really wanted to go) had to drop out because his rear dropout separated from his carbon stays. In Peter’s words, “carbon is a crapshoot.” Most of the carbon fiber is from Chinese factories, and I won’t buy a Cervelo because although they are designed in Canada, they are built in some Chinese factory. My Rodriguez, otoh, was built in Seattle, & if something goes wrong with it, I can take it back to the shop & they will happily fix it for free (& the problem will not likely have been with the welds!). And even if something does go wrong, it is unlikely to be a catastrophic failure (it should fail gracefully) as one would expect from carbon.
I think most riders need to go thru at least one carbon frame if onlly to satisfy their lust for a bike made of state-of-the-art materials. But having done that, I think that most riders who actually ride lots will gravitate back to steel if only because the ride is more interesting. Steel has a nice vibration (“liveliness?”) that carbon lacks (and it doesn’t transmit extraneous component noise the way carbon does!). It’s also way more comfortable (and durable) than aluminum. And it’s probably easier to repair than Ti, which is another material I don’t trust (having broken three frames made of Chinese “aerospace-grade” Ti).

20 04 2011

@DD – perhaps the distinction isn’t as much CF or Ti vs. steel as it is hand made limited production bikes vs. mass production bikes? Rodriguez and many other small builders work in steel, but some offer Ti and CF frames.

Berg on Van Isle offers T which Ken Bonner and now Gary Baker ride amongst others. Calfee offers custom CF bikes made on the left coast.

Products from an anonymous factory overseas, even if they are steel, don’t give you the same warm fuzzy feeling as talking to the guy who built your bike.

20 04 2011

It’s hard to believe that anyone could pull ahead of Dharma Dog and Peter on a brevet. They are both very fast. I have to agree with Dharma Dog about the quality of materials and construction. There are reputable frame manufacturers in Taiwan. The same cannot be said for the People’s Republic of China. The made-in-the-PRC frames are as good as any PRC consumer product. You cannot trust PRC tubing suppliers and you definitely cannot trust PRC titanium or carbon fiber frame manufacturing. I would avoid that Chinese stuff like the plague. And don’t count on the Chinese crap ever improving in quality like they are Japan or someplace. Corruption is endemic in Chinese manufacturing and is very unlikely to change.

Fortunately the number of reputable North American framebuilders is improving so it’s possible to get a good steel, titanium or even carbon fiber rando-specific frame that is better than any factory-made frame from any country.

23 04 2011
Bruce Hodson

The Trek with the chopped off front fender has inspired me. I have done the same thing on my Surly Pacer to allow me to run a front fender and 28mm rubber. What was rubbing no longer exists…

I drool over the Waterford.

25 04 2011
Cycling is blossoming

[…] of which: Vik Banerjee AKA The Lazy Randonneur, recently photographed some bikes in need of a bath after Eau de Hell Week —a full randonneur brevet series (200-300-400-600km) […]

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