And so I’ve come full circle
I met Ron Kinang yesterday. Ron’s been helping me plan the Tassie tour, giving me bits of information here and there (not least of which, a link to his own account of riding in Tasmania). Ron’s been putting together a custom touring bike (details here). I was very excited to see the new bike and also to talk to Ron about his experiences touring. We chatted for 2.5 hours about various bike-touring topics. It was very informative. Thanks, Ron!
And then, he showed me the bike.
Ron’s bike is beautiful, no doubt. And from my perspective, it is pretty much an ideal configuration (though I would’ve gone disc brakes, but that’s neither here nor there, what’s important is that Ron’s happy). I’ve been thinking about a custom build, based around an LHT frame with a Rohloff hub and all the various bits and pieces. Ron and I spoke about the Vivente Randonneur, a bike that ticks most of the boxes off the shelf. Now that I’ve seen Ron’s beautiful bike – and I know this will sound odd – I’ve pretty much changed my mind and decided I might go with a Randonneur after all.
What’s that, you say, I saw a beautiful bike and decided I didn’t want one just like it? Yes. I know. I didn’t expect that either. But hear me out. I’m just getting into this touring thing. So new to it that I haven’t even toured. Not even an overnighter. It’s all just a concept right now, one that I’m learning lots about. I have grand plans, sure, but I don’t know how it will pan out. I might do it and hate it. And then I’ll have a beautiful custom bike that cost a fortune sitting around doing nothing. No. That’s not cool. So I think I’ll do some smaller tours (1-3 nights, or a week here and there if I can get leave) on my commuter (road bike with rack and panniers) and see how it goes. If I enjoy it, I’ll get the Randonneur for Tasmania. Once I’ve done Tassie, I’ll know if I want to keep doing it seriously, and I’ll also know if the Randonneur meets my needs or if I really do need something nicer/swankier/better/whatever.