Let’s talk about bicycles


I haven’t really kept up with this blog for many reasons, mainly I was just being too lazy and putting other priorities before it. Let’s try and fix this and keep adding blog posts.

As one of my favorite things to do right now is work on and build bikes, let’s talk about that.

I’m going to write a bit about my current touring bike set up, and why I opted for a touring setup.

This is my 1980s to 1990s Specialized Sirrus or Allez steel frame road bike. (Identification help would be great.)


Why & how I started to cycle:
I started to actually ride a bike in 2014, the year before I transferred to Sonoma State. My mindset was this, find a cheap mode of transportation for school. Cycling fit that budget and I found several bikes from a Raleigh Cadet F1 to a Panasonic DX-1000, and even a Cannondale R800 (which I still own). My first semester in, I stripped the Octalink mount on the Cannondale and stripped the thread on one of the cranks of the Raleigh. A friend of mine had this bike that he was trying to get rid of and after much haggling, got the bike for about $100.

Building up the vintage Specialized:
Parts were mismatched and being a little too big for me, I didn’t care. I was ecstatic. I sourced some Cinelli bars and a Cinelli stem, along with a Brooks B17 saddle for cheap. The bike felt nice, just didn’t feel right. The fun thing about the Raleigh was the back rack, and how easily I was able to mount things on the bike. This bike has no places to bolt in or mount fenders, racks or other contraptions.

Sometime last school year I found the Karrimor, a bicycle bag manufacturer from England, at a local flea market for $5. Other than the smell of mildew I was pretty excited to mount the bag, but had no clue how to. I threw the bag on another bike with a front rack and strapped it down. It wasn’t until recently that I found the Velo Orange Randoneeur front rack with the decauler, something that I love since installing. Other than bending a tongue to reach over the caliper brakes, it was an easy install.


Karrimor front bicycle bag on a 1980s-1990s Specialized Allez or Sirrus. (Identification needed) 

It took me some time to figure out what I needed to hold the bag. I thought about buying the very nice Nitto Mark’s Rack for the bike, but starting looking into how the bag would sit, and knew I wanted to mount a dyno light on the rack. Nitto’s was $40 more, plus I would need to spend extra on finding a way to mount a dyno light and a separate decauler. This rack was just more logical in my mind but am glad I went this way. After finding some longer bolts, I was able to easily mount the LumoTec dyno light on the rack after finding some longer hardware from the local hardware store. The bag was the perfect height for the quick releasing decauler.



Karrimor front bicycle bag, updated with new strap systems and fun patches. 

Bicycle Info:

Frame: 58cm 1980s-1990s Specialized Steel Frame Allez or Sirrus (Identification help appreciated).
Groupset: Assorted Shimano 600 and 105s. Shimano 600 double crankset with a 7 speed cog (14 speed). Rear Derauiler is a Shimano 600 with a Shimano 105 front derauiler. It had a Shimano 600 downtube shifter, but swaped for Shimano bar end shifters.
Brakes: Shimano SLR 105s Caliper side pull brakes and levers
Rims & Hubs: 700 cc Mavic Reflex with Shimano 600 hubs (front rim was swapped out for a Mavic Open Sport with Shimano Nexus dyno 3v hub)
Tires: Bontrager 700×25
Stem & bars: Cinelli 64/38 drop bars and 110mm stem
Saddle: Brooks B17
Rack: Velo Orange Randoneeur front rack with integrated decauler

Why Geared towards touring?
Why did I set my bicycle up for light touring? The main reason is this, to be prepared to ride where I need to ride. If I ride to work, to the park or if I want to ride 20-50 miles. I don’t need a light and fast racing bike, I’m not trying to win any races or beat any times. I want to just ride, and if you know me, I like being prepared. The bag allows me to carry bike tools to help me get out of a jam, carry food and a small first aid kit.

As much as I find touring bikes beautiful, I find what you have on them as a necessity. This isn’t a true touring bike, but it’s the closest I can do currently on a budget. The frame itself won’t allow me to throw on beefier tires (I can fit 25s, but doubt I will be able to fit 28s due to clearance issues) and there is absolutely no room for fenders, which is a drag. The next bicycle purchase will hopefully be a CX or touring bicycle, where I can go all out and add some hefty tires, racks and dyno lights.

Got any questions?
Throw a comment below.


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