29 September, 2016

Container Arrival Plus Sneak Peek of a New Stem

by Igor

We just received a container you folks have been patiently waiting on, which includes but is not limited to:

Thank you for your patience.

In other news, we've been testing prototypes of a removable faceplate 1" quill stem which has already passed ISO MTN standards! We've been asked to make these for a long time, and they'll be ready for production once our real world testing is completed. Like our Cigne Stems, they'll be available in Chrome, Nickel, and Noir in the 31.8mm clamp size-way.

We think this will be a great upgrade for people wanting to retro-mod bikes with newer performance components or even use our Dajia Far Bars on repurposed adventure rigs. Personally, I'm stoked for the increased ease of packing and unpacking my bike for airline travel. 

What do you think?

22 September, 2016

Coffeeneuring 2016 practice

By Scott

Now that fall has arrived, one's thoughts turn to the annual coffeeneuring challenge - the quest to drink coffee on a bike ride over 7 rides in October and November.

Friend of VO, Mary Gersemalina came up with this idea in 2010 for the post PBP riders who wanted a challenge/goal of riding just for coffee. Since then it has steadily grown to be an international event, with riders joining the challenge of going to 7 different coffee shops or outdoor places to drink coffee, tea, cider or really, any beverage, over the specified dates. The rules and dates can be found here.

Here at VO, coffee and tea are part of our daily routine. Filter coffee in the morning gets most everyone here moving, followed by afternoon macchiato's (the Italian kind - espresso with just a stain of milk) to keep things going for the last push of orders out the door. So any kind of challenge or  reason to go and drink coffee on a bike ride has got us interested.

Our Soto coffee filter in action

I like the coffee/tea outdoors option of the last year or so. I'll take a thermos of tea sometimes or bring my stove and have a brew after a ride. Most early fall days here are nice enough that I don't get too cold waiting for the water to boil or for the tea to steep.

Practice make perfect

Adrian and I decided to put in a practice run to Ceremony Coffee's cafe and roastery here in Annapolis. One of the rules is that for the ride to count, it must be at least 2 miles round trip. The roastery is just over a mile from our office, so it works! I'm also working on a theme of 7 different cookies or treats with each of the coffee stops this year.

Anyone else planning on doing the 2016 Coffeeneuring challenge this year?

15 September, 2016

Cigne Stems Available

by Clint

They're long, they're limp, they're in stock! Cigne Stems are here for all of your high handlebar needs. We have them in 2 lengths and 3 finishes. 70mm and 90mm. Noir, Chrome, and a really spiffy Brushed Nickel. I'm really excited about the nickel. Looking forward to using this on some more of our future projects.
For those of you who haven't kept up, the Cigne stem gets its name from the French word for swan. The shape is inspired by the old gooseneck stems by Ibis and Cunningham, but with a few accommodations for modern bike needs. 1 1/8" threadless, 31.8mm handlebar clamp with a removable faceplate. It's pretty useful for getting your handlebars up high without using a ton of spacers.

These were air shipped and they really got beat up in shipping. So we have a bunch with little nicks and scratches that we'll put on the specials page at $15 off. The scratches are all small, the sort you'd get on any component after a few months of use.
Okay, so now you have one of these units in your hands. Now what? The Cigne functions as both your stem and top cap. Your star-nut should be approximately 1cm from the top of your steerer tube and you need at least 55mm of tube (metal only, not for use with carbon steerers). Now slide your stem on the steerer, slip in the long bolt with the washer, pretension with the long bolt, and clamp it down at the base. Use grease as needed. Also, if you plan to use a shim for smaller diameter bars be sure to use a two piece shim, like these.

We're currently working on several projects related to the cigne stem. First, a 1" quill stem adapter with 55mm of clamp space. We should have prototypes soon. There may be a 1 1/8" quill stem version.

08 September, 2016

Protect Your Trails Plus a Teaser

by Clint

Last night Igor, Scott, and I headed over to Bacon Ridge after work for a quick ride.  Every time I go out there, I'm impressed by how well maintained the trails are.  Eroded sections are patched with sand and rock for drainage, branches are neatly clipped, and trash is nowhere to be found.

Logs on blogs.
The local trail crew is looking to expand the trails at Bacon Ridge this fall.  I've been talking to some of the folks involved with making this happen.  The land is owned by the county, but it's up to a land trust to approve trail expansion.  They make sure the natural environment is protected and regulations are obeyed.

Ultimately, the expansion of the trail system is dependent on the condition of current trails and how they affect the land.  It's a good reminder that we affect the land as riders.  When you enjoy this sort of activity, it's easy to care about the environment.  Do so and we can gain more access and eventually create more trails!
Since you sat through my micro rant.  Here's a teaser for a new stem.  It's being tested now.

02 September, 2016

Labor Day Weekend Approaches

By Scott

The long Labor day weekend approaches us here in the Mid Atlantic and we just wanted to say that we'll be closed on Monday for a little extra R & R (riding and reading). We'll open up again on Tuesday at 9 am EDT to answer all the emails and such that came in over the weekend.

I'm still hoping to be able to sneak out for a quick overnight tour along the C & O some time this weekend. We'll have to see how the rain looks.Thankfully, Hermine seems to be losing strength and won't affect us in the Mid Atlantic too much. The C&O can get muddy quickly and I hate to be "that" person who rips up the trail when it's muddy.

(C & O camping a few summers ago)

Hopefully, where ever you are, the weather is great for whatever you want to do this weekend.