27 January, 2023

Cycling Media in the 21st Century

by Scott 

I consume a fair bit of media I think. I read a couple newspapers (online) every day, check into 5-6 cycling websites, and listen to a number of podcasts when out and about. One interesting interview was with the CEO of Outside Media. The main discussion was about the state of outdoor media, and the fact that Outside now owns almost all of the big outdoor publications, and the impact of that on what we read and view.

                                  (Derek and Connor consuming media the old fashioned way)

The cycling industry and media have certainly changed in the 11 years I've been here at VO. When I started, there were at least 4 magazines (actual print ones) that we advertised in, sent test product to, or at least paid some attention to, as our products could get a mention in any of them in any given issue. There were probably 8-10 blogs that paid a lot of attention to our niche end of the cycling world.

Over time, the magazines all dropped off either in a physical format or all together. I've also seen a number of the blogs I used to read dwindle as well. In the case of personal blogging, I think it's a matter of having something to keep the author motivated to continue writing. Some blogs were at the point of sustained content for 10 years back in 2012 already. It takes a lot to keep that writing up, especially if it is not your day job. And in many ways, producing and maintaining the blog takes time away from family or riding your bike. Plus, people evolve, they change what they are interested in, and what they are interested in writing about. If you're a keen vintage cycling fan, 10 plus years of blog posts is a bit daunting to keep up fresh content. (Shout out to Guitar Ted who's kept at it all these years with fresh content daily). Also of note is that the Velo Orange Blog has been going for over 15 years!

The last few years have seen a rise of the YouTube channels related to cycling. Russ Roca at Path Less Pedaled, Katie Kookaburra, and Henry Wildberry are a couple of the folks that I look at for some interesting insights (I'll admit, I'm not a huge consumer of videos). I think Russ is one person who really gets our niche of the bicycle market, so it's always interesting to hear his take on things.

You can also see the rise of social media, in particular Instagram, explode in the past several years and how that has changed the media world. As shown with YouTube, visual media is popular and seemingly lots of people are interested in our content, through that medium.

                                      (Some cycling media we have collected over the years)

So I present to you, the loyal follower and reader of this blog, where do you go for news and cycling entertainment? Are you a devout reader of a blog, or watcher of video, or listener of podcasts? Are you joining Substack for niche written content?  Do you even care to get cycling related content online? Let us know in the comments below or send postcard answers to us at:

Velo Orange

6730 Dover Road

Suite 113

Glen Burnie, MD 20906


11 January, 2023

Practicality vs. Sentimentality - Does it Bring You Joy?

by Scott

A lot of us have attachments to items we own that don't make financial sense. I'm not a sentimental person, by and large. I have a few objects that I hold near and dear to me, but in the case of the house catching fire, my wife and I will grab the cats and the wedding album and that's about it. 

I bring up the idea of bonds and sentimentality and how it pertains to bicycles. We get a lot of folks coming to us to help keep their older bikes going. We've got the various bottom brackets and headsets to keep those older Peugeot UO8s and Schwinn Le Tours rolling along, handlebars to replace the going-on-40-year-old original bars, and all the fixings to make them unique to the rider. I'm curious as to whether folks are keeping them going in their original shape, setting them up as a commuter bike with newer components, or something in the middle like changing the bars and consumables for a spiffy and novel weekend rider.

The larger question of whether or not a bike should be restored to its shiny and new glory, simply spruced up and ridden, or hung on the wall? The answer is a resounding...."it depends"....

There are so many factors that goes into a decision like this. Does the bike have sentimental value, significant historical value, or is it just a fun project to work on? These decisions aren't easy especially when it comes to a budget.

There is no question that certain bikes hold more or less value to us as individuals - for example, Adrian and Igor have matching Campeurs that they used for their Denmark wedding tour. You can read about his and her Forever Bikes here. 

A Peugeot UO8 is perhaps the best bike to use as an example here, as it is a re-occurring character at VO HQ. Peugeot made thousands and thousands of these bikes during the bike boom of the 60s and 70s. They were mid to low end of the range with Simplex shifting, Mafac brakes, and cottered cranks. They weren't anything special, but they were affordable, had cool graphics and Aztec lugs, and it got people on bikes - and that's what made it an icon of the era.

Photo courtesy of DJCatNap

Would a UO8 be my first choice for a restoration? Probably not. But if a particular UO8 had significance in my life, like it was a beloved family member's, a first bike, or something of that nature, well that is a whole different story. Now that specific bike has significant sentimental value and that doesn't necessarily have the same price tag as a random UO8. I would absolutely argue that it deserves either a full restoration or moderate refurbishment to make it safe to ride - budget allowing. Replacing consumables like chains, brake pads, handlebar tape, and tires goes a long way.

Adrian's Bertin with Campagnolo Nuovo Record

I see outrageous pricing for original Simplex derailleurs and hear stories online of collectors paying huge amounts of money for period-correct parts. Is it to recreate this bike from 1973 and then display it or is someone actually riding this bike? For a lot of people, it's a totally worthwhile exercise to go and take an older frame, fix it up, put a new saddle on it, new brake pads and cables and then go out and use it. But I think one has to admit that, like many things, bikes have improved over the last 50 years and to just blindly restore a bike back to its original condition may not be the best decision.

Do you restore old bikes for sentimental reasons? Do you restore them to stock condition or do you make them more modern? Let us know in the comments!

09 December, 2022

VO's 2022 Gift Guide

As the end of the calendar year approaches, one's mind turns to gifts - gifts for yourself, gifts for loved ones, and people who help make your life just that little bit more special. Here at VO, we wanted to give some suggestions for gifts that aren't necessarily reliant on knowing what sort of bottom bracket your friend has on their bike or if their bike has flat or post mount disc brakes. So here are some gift ideas for 2022 that should suit any and all of your cycling friends!

Bottle Cages

We offer a variety of stainless steel bottle cages that will add a touch of class to any bike.

Runwell 15 mm wrench



These 15mm Wrenches come in Silver or Gold finish and have a unique 15 degree angle to the head, so that your fingers don't get jammed into the fork or seat stays when tightening or loosening your hub nuts. We also have a To-Go version with a shorter handle to more easily fit in portable toolkits.

Burrito Handlebar Bag

The Burrito Supreme Bag fits onto any handlebar using two straps around the bars and a third strap around the headtube to keep the bag from bouncing. With a capacity of 2.6 L, it will hold tools, wallet, phone, tubes, and pretty much whatever other small things you want. 

Bell

The classic choice in safety, a VO bell works on virtually any bike and is a wonderful way to announce your presence along the bike path.

Rough Stuff Fellowship Books 

These Rough Stuff Fellowship books are perfect for reading/looking at the photos while sitting next to a warm fire and dreaming of open roads and green lanes to ride through next summer. 

Bottle Opener with 10 mm Wrench

How many things on your bike need a 10 mm allen wrench? A few, but you can certainly use the Runwell Bottle Opener while you think of all the ways this could come in handy.

VO Hoodies





Want to stay warm and stylish this winter? Grab one of our Hoodies and stay warm and look good while waiting for spring to arrive.

Var Compact Multi-Tool


You should always have a quality set of tools out on the trail. These VAR Multi-tools are lightweight, compact, and can fix most issues you have on the side of the road.

Austere Cam Straps

These super cool US-made straps from Austere Manufacturing use a CNC machined body and a titanium pin for light weight and incredible strength. The strap is 3 feet long and can be used to tie down a myriad of items on your bike or elsewhere.

#8 Stainless Steel Opinel Knife

A classic knife, we've sold Opinel Knives for almost 10 years because they work and they stay sharp.  This Stainless Steel model is great for folks who might be around salt water or who don't always wipe their knives down after using it.

E-Gift Card

VO E-Gift Cards are perfect last minute gifts! It's totally electronic and guaranteed to fit. 

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Note: Shipping companies are getting into their super busy season, so while we can say your order will leave our warehouse asap, we cannot guarantee there won't be shipping delays.

02 December, 2022

Drop Your Drop Bars!

by Igor


We've already extolled the virtues of changing your handlebars to change how your bike feels (in fact, we've even done a how-to video!). Changing from drop bars to flat or upright bars changes your riding position, the bike's handling, and the fun factor to turn a stagnant bike into a brand new one - all without spending a ton of dough. So let's dive into my Pass Hunter where we dropped the drop bars for some Seine bars!


This bike mostly gets ridden off road on lighter duty local trails, double track, and to and from the house. I have a road bike and an all-rounder, so I don't need fenders and dynamo lighting and all the gizmos, so something simple and unencumbered is what I was looking for.
 

In the effort to simplify, I opted to go with Sensah 1x shifty bits: CRX Shifter, SRX Rear Derailleur, and 11-46 Cassette. It's simple and without fuss.
 


Going with these components also gives me the ability to switch back to drop bars using the Sensah SRX Integrated Shifters if I want to change it up in the future. They're all a really good value and not a huge investment to try out a flat or drop bar system.

18 November, 2022

Introducing the Granola-Moose Handlebar!

by Igor


The Granola-Moose is a beautiful one-piece bar and stem combo. It's based off our popular Granola Bar and features an integrated 1 1/8" clamp for threadless steerers. This integrated design makes for a truly buttoned up and streamlined appearance on your city, touring, or mountain bike.


Made from 4130 chromoly steel, this bar has a bunch of details that really makes it special. The steel is heat-treated, the tubing of the bar has multiple butting profiles, the front cross bar is slightly flattened for your lights and/or gizmos, and the system has been tested to stringent MTB standards. All in all, the Granola-Moose makes for a fun, unique, and comfortable upright handlebar.

It's available in both Silver and Black finishes on our webstore! Check it out now!



02 November, 2022

2022 Philly Bike Expo Roundup

by Connor

While VO didn't display at this year's Philly Bike Expo, Derek and I did go in place of the company, sporting our new VO Hoodies, scoping out this year's event. This year's turnout was really energetic, and we're happy to see participation in events like PBE is back! Below are just some shots from this year's expo we managed to grab. Enjoy!

SWOOD Cycles came out sporting full bikepacking regalia
 

Royal H had a few bikes highlighting some of our gear, including this Mixte with our Hammered Fenders, 31.8 Quill Stem, Nouveau Rando bars, Sensah SRX kit, and Touring Pedals!
 

This Mars Cycles frame caught my eye in particular, as its paint was matched to replicate a San Pellegrino bottle. Super Classy!

This fixed-welded Titanium rack was apparently a custom job requested by a customer at Blaze Cycles, a Moab-based Ti company. With Pinion Belt Drive, dropper routing, and custom touches throughout, the bike definitely was something to behold.

A number of months ago, Fergus at Ritchey reached out looking for a set of Growtac Equals for a project coming up. We didn't get many details at the time, but it would seem they made it onto this limited-run colorway Outback, and the blues we sent looked right at home!

I've been a Ritchey fan for well over a decade now, and this green/yellow colorway of the Breakaway 'cross frameset is still my favorite scheme to date- to me, it evokes Lotus Racing style without being too overstated.

While admiring how well-installed our Hammered Fenders were on a Handz Bikes road frame, Derek and I noticed this special touch on a mountain frame of theirs- a section of a stainless rotor, cut to the diameter of the seat and chainstay and welded on the non-driveside, then painted to match. It's just one of those custom touches that makes smaller-fab shops so special.

While browsing the Chapman Cycles booth, I couldn't help but notice this sage-green colored road bike with Chapman's own hand-made V-brakes. Note that the straddle cable isn't actually a cable, but a spoke.

Our friends Tommy (Cutlass Velo) and Chris (Bishop Bikes) were rep'ing our Baltimore area, showcasing their craftsmanship and attention to detail.

Having attempted harlequin tapejobs on bikes time and again with minimal success, I thought this custom paintjob on a Dean frame was really unique and tastefully done.

 

Alex Meade has been building custom frames for more than 20 years, and also produces his own jigs for folks looking for quality framebuilding tools. He's been a longtime customer of ours and his work is meticulous.

Doing a walkabout in town afterwards is, of course, necessary. Philadelphia's a great city with a lot to see. If you finish up at next year's expo early or get to extend your trip, I'd suggest staying downtown and checking it out - especially Reading Terminal Market for the pumpkin rolls.

 

 

28 October, 2022

Frame Blems and Overstock Savings!

 

Don't miss out on these spooky savings!

We've been going through inventory numbers and found we're overstocked on a selection of products, so we've put them on sale! No discount code is required! We don't have a specific end date, so when the levels are a bit lower, the prices of the respective products will go back to normal MSRP. 

There are more products than these on the Specials page, but here are some highlights:

Check out the Specials here!

Blem Frames, too!

We're pretty picky when it comes to our frame finishes. Each frame comes out of the box and gets inspected prior to shipping out and sometimes we find one that has a little blemish. That could be dust under the clear coat, a scratch, etc... nothing that would affect performance or safety. But we can't sell them at full price, so we've knocked some $$ off of them. These typically go fast.

Snag your new frame here!