30 March 2006

Candidates: The Orbea Bilbao

This is a nostalgic choice. My first kiddie bike was an Orbea. Strong as an Ox, but those were the days. My LBS says it’s okay, but no Lapierre in this bike range. Made in Spain. About $450 (€ 375).


Alu 7005


28" Hi Ten Tig


Steel 1 1/8 Black


Aluminium "V"


Shimano Stef 50 7S


Shimano TZ 07


Alu 170x28/38/48


700 x 35 City


700 Vision D.W


Adjustable 1" Black


Trekking Alu Black

R. Deralieur:

Shimano C-051

F. Deraeliur:

Shimano Acera X


Orbea Trekking

Seat Post:

SP 242 Black



Candidates: The Lapierre Sub 550

Sooner or later I have to get a replacement for the Pig. My budget tops at about $450 (or 400 Euros this side of the lake). Don’t ask exactly where that figure came from; I just gathered it would be decent for an entry commuter / tourer. But I still have little idea about what I am doing.

The first candidate – very high on my list – is the Lapierre Sub 550. This is a French bike. A bit about Lapierre, the company, here. For my budget and the light, beginning touring I’ll be doing with the kids, this is the bike my LBS recommends. This may not be a world tourer but it’ll get me back and forth from work, whenever possible to commute in my rainy Galicia, Spain. Check out the specs. Price about $470 (€ 390, all included). What do you think?

  • Frame - Alu 7005 T4/T6
  • Fork - Suntour CR850 50 mm travel
  • F.Derailleur - Shimano TX70 TV
  • R.Deralieur - Shimano C051
  • Crankset - Shimano TX71 28x38x48
  • Shifters - Shimano STEV50 7Spd
  • Cassette - Shimano MFTZ 7 Spd 14-34
  • Wheels - Shimano TS30 hub, Mach 1 M110 36T Rim
  • Tyres - 700x38
  • Headset - 1-1/8 inch
  • Handlebars Steel Hi-Ten
  • Stem - Alu
  • Grips - Hermans Ergonomic Double Density
  • Saddle - Selle Lookin gel Men
  • Seatpost - Aluminium Suspension diam 27.2x350 mm
  • Accessories - Mudguards, rear carrier, dynamo lamps
  • Weight 15.7 Kg
  • 14 March 2006

    Hill Training: Chainrings

    (This note was sent to the bike list on 13 March.)

    There ain’t no touring without training. Today I set out with my seven-year-old to do some climbing – six miles of steep hills. Don’t laugh! Now I know why God, on a good day, created down-hills. I’m new and it was wonderful to see me destroy my boy up those hills. (That’s for laughing that other time he waited for me.) Anyway, there I am blitzing along and wamb! the chain comes off the…the front part of the gear thing…the crown or whatever you call the round thing with teeth where the chain links, right where the pedals are. What do you call that thing?!!!!

    Well it came off and I tried to put the chain back on but to no avail. I noticed that one of the three rings on the THING seemed deformed, like it wouldn’t take the chain back on without spitting it out. Thank the Lord for down-hills, I tell you. The thing definitely seems broken. It’s part of some sort of a Shimano thingy, a Shimano SIS System, whatever that is, although I think that it has to do with the back shifting mechanism. Now I have to take the bike to the shop, you know one of those places no one buys a bike at anymore but turns to when the shit hits,…well…the thing.

    What is a Shimano SIS System (SL MY 20)? Is my purple pig dead or is this minor surgery?

    The Purple Pig

    This is about my bike. It’s the only one I got. It dates to 1995 and it is / was my niece’s. It was lying, forgotten, in the basement until I started reading about bicycle touring. This at about the same time that my children began to ride their first "real" bikes, so to speak, and started demanding that I ride with them. I hadn’t ridden in about 15 years -- which did great things for my sore bottom on the first outings -- but what doesn’t one do for family?

    So I don’t know how I ended up reading about bike touring or how any of this connects to bike touring or to what I may want to do with my bike: the purple pig. (I only remember not too long ago some guy struggling up a hill fully loaded with bags front and back on his bike. He was smiling in between puffs so that scene stuck in my mind. My obsessions start like that: with a scene that recurs happily over and over again…with that touch of masochism.)

    Well the kids want to ride but I realize I haven’t put air on a tire in so many years and the pig's tires are flat. And I guess we’ll also need helmets and water bottles and hundred other things one may need to ride safely and comfortably. My children are only seven and eight (the third one three months, so no helmet for him!) So I do need to worry about safety and things careful. But I don’t know anything about this, this bike business. So I turn to Phred Org somehow and find they have this wonderful list were people talk everything you want to know about bike touring. If you want to know something you ask, they tell you. Good enough for me and so I embark. I suppose my first post there was “The Purple Pig” or something to that effect about my inane difficulties in getting my bike back into shape; sort of like bringing it back to life from the recesses of Hades. The kids bikes are new but mine isn’t and I’m the sort of fellow who doesn’t buy new things when old things are around that may just as well do the job. Indeed, perhaps foolishly idealistic, but what the hell.

    Little did I know. Hence, the purple pig.