After heading back to Southern California to build a stronger bike, my first choice was a gravel bike that I ordered online and then had to return. A gravel bike is a relatively new classification. It’s a steel frame road bike with larger tires that can handle dirt and gravel roads. The first thing I noticed was how heavy the bike was. I fitted it with racks for my touring bags, but the down bars did not appeal to me for touring. I proceeded to order an adjustable handlebar stem to fit my butterfly bars on the bike, but I still had reservations about the bike and the unnecessary weight.
A little research taught me that the Chromoly steel frames from non-suspension mountain bikes of the 90’s are ideal for a touring bike foundations. Apparently Chromoly steel is stronger and lighter that the steel frame bikes built these days. And so the search began to find the right sized Chromoly steel frame to build from the ground up. Fortunately for me, there are many, many older used bikes that people get rid of for very little because they have newer, lighter bikes available at low prices.
Having a 29” wheel mountain bike, a 28” wheel road bike and another older 26” wheel mountain bike I picked up for $10 as a parts bike, I couldn’t help but notice the acceleration difference between the 3 bikes. The 26” wheel bike was much quicker! No wonder all of the riders I rode with were pulling away from me on my 29” wheel bike! And so it was settled, a 26” wheel bike was required for my bike build.
I ended up finding a 1993 Giant 22” frame, 26” wheel bicycle for $20. What a deal! Now it’s a matter of disassembly, cleaning, lubing and rebuilding it better than new!
Being in Southern California created another opportunity for me. The Rosarito to Ensenada 50 mile bike ride took place yesterday. I’ve ridden this ride 4 times previously and I’ve always strived to beat my finishing time from the previous year. This morning when I checked the finishing results I discovered that I beat my last finishing time by 12 minutes and 2 seconds! I guess all of the hills and mountains I climbed in the Northwest did pay off!
Another benefit to coming down to Baja, was the opportunity to see a few friends I hadn’t seen in a while. And as timing would have it, Johannes from Germany (who I met in Oregon) was in the area as well. I had the pleasure of showing him around town and meeting his girlfriend Yara who flew back to Germany Friday. Johannes took off this morning after a delicious breakfast at Acuas. He’s heading toward Hurricane Rosa, but like all of the bike tourists I met, dealing with the weather is simply the cost of doing business.
Thank you for following me! I too, look forward to getting back on the road when I’m done with my touring bike and Giuseppe reaches Southern California.