As I mentioned in my “about me” section, I have been car-free since late 2007. Over the years I have been through many different bikes over the years that reflected different requirements and flavours of the time. I thought it would be nice to draw inspiration from the late, great Sheldon Brown and have a page dedicated to the various bikes that I have owned with a brief back story for each one.
2007 Giant Rincon (bought in January 2008 and then stolen in November 2008 from near the Perth central train station)
This was my first bicycle that I bought myself for the explicit purpose of commuting and practical transport. I had owned a few cheap, low quality, generic mountain bikes through highschool but that was at a time when I didn’t have any other choice about how to get from A-B. I fitted this with a rear mudguard and semi-slick tyres (26″). It had an aluminium frame and ‘lock-out’ shocks which made it reasonably adequate for riding through various terrain on my daily ride to university (2km) or work (9km). I also tried the Giant CRX4 which is a flat bar road bike with skinny slick tyres and 700c wheels, however at the time I believed that I needed a mountain bike so I could ride through grassy fields, gravel tracks and hop over curbs on my rides (I wasn’t comfortable cycling on the road at that time).
2008 Orbea AOS1 (bought in January 2009 and still used as my backup/train station bike)
I bought this after I got back from my first trip to Europe in early 2009. After owning the Rincon (which I actually enjoyed riding and still wish I had it) I knew that I wanted something that was better suited to on road cycling and commuting, however I still wasn’t prepared for an ‘expensive’ drop bar road bike. A flat bar ‘urban’ road bike seemed to be the best option with 700c wheels, slick 35mm tyres, mounting points for racks and mudguards and sub $700 price (in case it was stolen like the Rincon). I also purchased a ABUS Granit X-Plus 54 lock (shown in picture) in the wake of my Rincon being stolen in order to reduce the potential of theft of my new Orbea. I also added a rack and Brooks B17 to the bike in late 2011 (which I later swapped onto my new Vivente World Randonneur). I still use this bike for short trips to the shops or train station as I am less concerned about it being stolen.
c1990 unidentified steel frame road bike, fixed gear conversion (acquired from a friend in 2010 and sold in 2011)
After riding a heavy and somewhat clunky bike for a year I started to yearn for something that was lighter, faster and more mechanically simple than my Orbea. As a stroke of luck a friend of mine mentioned that his dad had an old steel road bike in his shed that he was going to dump (his dad had many bikes already to use), and that I could have it for free to fix up if I wanted. The bike was slightly large (57cm C-C top tube) but still rideable and had 700c wheels which perfectly suited 23mm tyres. It was originally in very poor condition with the original components totally covered in greasy, dirty muck and a bit of rust. The paint was chipped and damaged, but the frame was actually in good condition with no damage or serious rust. I decided to strip it down, get it cleaned up, have a new rear wheel built with a ‘flip-flop’ track hub, get the frame sandblasted and powder-coated and convert it to a fixed gear / single speed for short trips (5-10km) to university or around town. I also hand made some foot retention straps from seat-belt webbing I found in the shed and $5 worth of velcro the local store. Instructions here if you are interested in DIY. They took around 1.5 hours to make, including sewing it all together and fitting to the pedals.
I had a serious accident while riding this bike in mid 2011. Although the bike wasn’t seriously damaged I decided to sell it because riding this bike reminded me of the accident and was no longer enjoyable. I actually miss having a mechanically simple and care-free bike like this to ride, so I might build another basic steel frame, single speed / internal-gear-hub style bike in the future with wider tyres and flat bars as a pub bike.
1985 Raleigh Team Panasonic Replica (Reynolds 531) (bought early 2011 and sold late 2011)
I saw this bike advertised for $120 on a local online trading site while looking for a bike for a friend of mine and knew that I had to have it. I managed to get it for $100 cash. Turns out it was bought by a young kid who wanted to strip it, have it re-painted and turn it into a ‘fixie’ (the horror!). Thankfully this kid didn’t have the time or money in the end to ruin the bike and his dad put it up for sale instead.
I had been wanting to get a vintage geared road bike for many years, however I’d never really had the luck of picking one up that wasn’t over priced and in my size. This was a really nice bike but I let it go in the end and sold it to someone with more money, time and tools to do a proper job of restoring it than what I was capable of at the time. I was also running short of bike storage space and needed to make room for my future touring bike. Hopefully it will give the new owner many years of enjoyable use.
c1995 Giant Cadex (bought early 2011 and sold late 2011)
I bought this early carbon/aluminium bike simply to use as a parts donor for my recently acquired Raleigh as it had mostly 8-speed Campagnolo Mirage groupset and Campagnolo Omicron wheels on it. I sold the frame a few months later on as I had no further use for it.
2012 Vivente World Randonneur (drop bar STI version) (bought early 2012, my main bike)
As discussed in detail in my blog post here, I bought this in early 2012 as I was in need of a strong, practical all-season commuting and touring bicycle. Hopefully this will be able to fill many purposes and roles I need from a bike, rather than having to own 2-3 different bikes. Generally I have been very happy with it so far and am planning to take it touring in Europe in August-September 2012. I think I would like to eventually upgrade it with a Rohloff internal-gear-hub (IGH) for mechanical simplicity and reliability. However I will use and wear out the current components on the bike for as long as possible before making this rather expensive switch.
That’s all for now, however as I mentioned earlier I am thinking of selling my geared Orbea and building another simple steel framed, ‘pub bike’ with flat bars and single-speed gearing.. so no doubt this list will continue to grow over the years.