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Where VecchioJo will be living as he competes in the Transcontinental

So this is it. This is where I’ll reside for the next two weeks. If I’m not sat on it I’ll be no more than ten feet away from it. And people say I’m afraid of commitment.

It should be fine, I’ve settled in having spent most of the last 6 months on this bike, it’s the cycling version of that dent in the sofa cushion. Bits have changed over time and stuff has been bolted on but the bones have stayed the same and it’s become an extension of me, it knows what is expected of it and up till now it has performed that task commendably. Faithful hound. It took a while to track down that creak but a bit of copper-slip on the seatpost clamp sorted it. I think that’s been the only problem.

TransconBike Final - Rotor Cranks:Praxis Rings.jpg

TransconBike Final - Rotor Cranks:Praxis Rings.jpg

The old Ultegra gears did their job of being covered in a Winter of crap before they were upgraded to the Di2 version when the sun came out, and my, aren’t electronic gears a revelation? Shifting, especially the front is a brainless activity, no need for finesse or that hard-wired old-school technique of backing off and being gentle with the gears, just push the button and pedal. By Day Whatever of the Transcontinental when I may have lost feeling in my fingers and changing gear is an unnecessary mental complication that finger-tip control is going to be a godsend.

TransconBike Final - Cockpit.jpg

TransconBike Final - Cockpit.jpg

The tri-bars are a more recent addition and the probably too few rides I’ve had on them have been pretty ok and the position isn’t too extreme, it’s more a comfort than a marginal gains aero position. I’ve set it up to replicate the hanging onto the sticky-outy 9 speed gear cables hand position that I spent a lot of time doing pretending to be that Dutch Pro on a long solo break back when I thought it was cool (It still is a bit).

TransconBike Final - Praxis RC21.jpg

TransconBike Final - Praxis RC21.jpg

The proper last minute addition has been the Praxis wheelset and Exposure lights, delivered at eleven at night with a week to go to the start. No panic then. DT Swiss internals in the rear mean proven longevity and performance and the front wheel has been rebuilt around an Exposure dynamo hub. 32 spokes too, Europe wide reliability, it better be as I’ve only ridden the wheels and checked the dynamo in a midnight ride up and down the seafront to bed things in. Ahem.

TransconBike Final - Pile of Kit.jpg

TransconBike Final - Pile of Kit.jpg

The front Wildcat bag holds stuff for the odd moments when we’ll be sleeping; bivvy-bag and silk liner, favourite warm beenie hat (mainly for psychological comfort), long sleeved merino top and Rapha padded gilet. The frame bag contains all the things that might be needed easily on the fly. Tools and random spares, a Busch & Muller USB-Werk cache battery to charge all the electronic devices via the dynamo when the light’s not being used, and the knotted tagliatelle of wires to deal with this. Elastic bands, gaffer tape. Toiletries (chopped in half toothbrush, chopped in half razor, for the legs), pills and potions. Small zip-tie Hiplock so bears don’t steal our bikes.

TransconBike Final - Wildcat Tiger.jpg

TransconBike Final - Wildcat Tiger.jpg

The Wildcat Tiger out the back carries the clothes, the one spare set of cycling kit and casual shorts and t-shirt for the rare few hours it might be nice to let everything breathe a little bit. Plus arm and knee warmers, long-sleeved jersey, gilet (reflective because of French rules), spare socks, long sleeved base layer (they say you pack your fears, I dislike cold), and Goretex jacket. SPOT Tracker strapped to the top for safety and dot watching. Also Miffy.

Here’s the bike tech rundown…

Frame - Kinesis GF-Ti Disc

Fork - Tracer Disc

Wheels - Praxis RC21 Road Wheelset, custom built with Exposure Dynamo hub

Chainset – Rotor

Chainrings – Praxis Compact 52/36

Bottom Bracket – Hope

Pedals - Shimano A600

Levers – Shimano Ultegra Di2 Hydraulic

Rear Derailleur - Shimano Ultegra Di2, long cage

Front Derailleur –  Shimano Ultegra Di2

Cassette – Shimano Ultegra, 11spd, 11-32

Chain – KMC 11spd

Brake Calipers – Shimano RS785

Rotors – RWD (140mm rear, 160mm front)

Saddle – Fabric ALM

Seatpost – Fizik Cyrano

Stem – Fizik Cyrano

Handlebars – Black, shallow drop, from the shed

Tri-Bars – Profile Design T2+ DL

Handlebar Tape – Profile Design

Lights – Exposure Revo front with Red Eye rear

TransconBike Final - Exposure Revo.jpg

TransconBike Final - Exposure Revo.jpg

There are so many people to thank for getting me here, without them none of this would be in any way possible. It may be cheesy but I really can’t thank them enough and this is not some “please the sponsors” BS, these are good people, they have pulled all the stops out, they believe in me when sometimes I may not.

TransconBike Final - Wildcat Leopard.jpg

TransconBike Final - Wildcat Leopard.jpg

Rory at Upgrade for the Kinesis GF-Ti frame and fork and the Praxis Wheels and chainrings.

Madison for the Shimano Ultegra Di2 electronic wizardry.

Exposure Lights for the dynamo hub and lights.

Fabric for the saddle.

Bontrager for the tyres.

Beth at Wildcat for the bike-packing bags and customizing them to make sure the stitching and dry-bags matched my bar-tape.

Gore Bike Wear, I pretty much lived in that jersey for three months of training.

Clif Bar.

Morvelo for all of the clothing and the special ‘Fuck Cancer’ socks.

Specialized for the shoes and helmet.

And on a personal level, some names you won’t know who have all helped along the way, their quiet contributions have been a godsend and lifted me to crack a smile when spirits might have been flagging; Moose and Jo, Olly and Abby, Vic, Dalia, Alice, Adam, Andy, Rayments Cycles, and finally and especially my sister for all the cat-sitting and surprise food parcels.

TransconBike Final - Miffy.jpg

TransconBike Final - Miffy.jpg

Finally, sorry to all the people myself and Gavin (my Transcontinental pairs team-mate) have bored shitless over the last few months about this stupid thing. It’s not over just yet, you’ll have to endure all the stories when we get back, make the most of this couple of weeks of quiet.

TransconBike Final - Arty Bike Shot.jpg

TransconBike Final - Arty Bike Shot.jpg

All these people have done all they can, it’s up to me now.

Let’s go for a ride.

Jo Burt has spent the majority of his life riding bikes, drawing bikes and writing about bikes. When he's not scribbling pictures for the whole gamut of cycling media he writes words about them for road.cc and when he's not doing either of those he's pedaling. Then in whatever spare minutes there are in between he's agonizing over getting his socks, cycling cap and bar-tape to coordinate just so. And is quietly disappointed that yours don't He rides and races road bikes a bit, cyclo-cross bikes a lot and mountainbikes a fair bit too. Would rather be up a mountain.

18 comments

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Johnnystorm [68 posts] 3 weeks ago
2 likes

Good luck and have fun!  1

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mylesrants [380 posts] 3 weeks ago
1 like

Big luck, Bike looks stunning set up. Love to see how it pans out. I cant use a bar bag for my knees hitting off it.

Now if the dymano hub charged the garmin and phone!!!

 

 

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Sniffer [385 posts] 3 weeks ago
1 like

Good luck.  It is far away from anything I have attempted.

Most importantly, have a great experience.

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barbarus [446 posts] 3 weeks ago
0 likes

I hope it goes splendidly.

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davel [1488 posts] 3 weeks ago
0 likes

What an experience - I'm slightly envious, but can only imagine the efforts you haven't written about in getting even this far.

Well done, and all the best.

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therevokid [1013 posts] 3 weeks ago
0 likes

Good luck mucker ... will be "rooting" for you  1

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beechtail [1 post] 3 weeks ago
0 likes

Good luck to all doing the TCR especially rider 51 'Calvin O'Keeffe'!!! go get 'em chief

RIDEFORMIKE 

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LastBoyScout [234 posts] 3 weeks ago
1 like

I'm still not convinced by the monster saddlebag concept - I'm sticking with a dry bag on top of a rack, which seems easier to pack (shape), easier to attach and more stable.

Like what you've done with the bar bag stabilising straps round the forks, but with the addition of the tri bars, I'd probably scrap them and put a luggage strap around that instead.

Good luck.

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RobD [469 posts] 3 weeks ago
0 likes

Bon Chance! All the hard work's done so enjoy the ride.

That loos like a great setup, very similar to how I'd try to spec a bike if I was going to attempt something as crazy as this.

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Davywalnuts [2 posts] 3 weeks ago
1 like

Does anyone know what that mount is called and where I can buy one that attaches the front light to the forks? 

I've been looking at something like this for ages and just not found the right thing; its so needed in my life! Ta.

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Zjtm231 [47 posts] 3 weeks ago
0 likes

Desperate to know how that light is mounted.

Any ideas anyone?

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Zjtm231 [47 posts] 3 weeks ago
0 likes
Davywalnuts wrote:

Does anyone know what that mount is called and where I can buy one that attaches the front light to the forks? 

I've been looking at something like this for ages and just not found the right thing; its so needed in my life! Ta.

 

Maybe this?

https://www.rosebikes.co.uk/article/rixen--kaul-front-light-holder/aid:6...

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The Rake [74 posts] 3 weeks ago
0 likes

Best f luck. Make some great memories

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Goldfever4 [240 posts] 3 weeks ago
0 likes
LastBoyScout wrote:

I'm still not convinced by the monster saddlebag concept - I'm sticking with a dry bag on top of a rack, which seems easier to pack (shape), easier to attach and more stable.

Like what you've done with the bar bag stabilising straps round the forks, but with the addition of the tri bars, I'd probably scrap them and put a luggage strap around that instead.

Good luck.

 

Have you tried it though?

 

I'm a massive fan, it's just so much lighter than panniers.

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mike the bike [921 posts] 3 weeks ago
0 likes
Goldfever4 wrote:

   .......Have you tried it though?  I'm a massive fan, it's just so much lighter than panniers.  

The weight is irrelevant, there's no way I could cock my leg over that thing!

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ConcordeCX [332 posts] 2 weeks ago
0 likes
Goldfever4 wrote:
LastBoyScout wrote:

I'm still not convinced by the monster saddlebag concept - I'm sticking with a dry bag on top of a rack, which seems easier to pack (shape), easier to attach and more stable.

Like what you've done with the bar bag stabilising straps round the forks, but with the addition of the tri bars, I'd probably scrap them and put a luggage strap around that instead.

Good luck.

 

Have you tried it though?

 

I'm a massive fan, it's just so much lighter than panniers.

there are other options, such as traditional saddlebags of the Carradice type. I've used all of them in extended tours, and have settled on the old school approach.

I had a Revelate Viscacha when it was the only thing of this type on the market and you had to order it from Alaska. It was excellent and I used it until it fell apart, but the big issue for me was that when it was packed full and fully extended it would swing around too much at the back.

With the much larger volume Carradice Camper LF I don't even notice it's there. 

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Twowheelsaregreat [81 posts] 2 weeks ago
0 likes

Just noticed that Revo up there. The design looks ever so slightly different from the two designs I've seen thus far i.e.

here...  http://singletrackworld.com/reviews/files/2015/02/IMG_0104.jpg

and here... http://road.cc/sites/default/files/cropped/preview_500/images/Cycle%20Sh...

I own the latter of these two which is what's piqued my curiosity.

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robertchappel [5 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes

Superb Images laugh

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