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Veloforma Strada iR

Veloforma Strada iR

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A death is a painful thing to experience. Particularly, I imagine, for the one doing the dying. For those left behind, it takes time to mourn and come to grips with the change; it is an unpleasant process, but such is the way of things.

The crack in the chainstay of my beloved Cervelo R3 had been weighing on my mind ever since I discovered its existence while cleaning my bike in Hawaii. Assuming the crack was superficial, I continued to ride the machine and took it with me to Belgium to rattle along over the cobblestones during Keepers Tour. It was during this trip that Andrew, a carbon fiber engineer for B’Twin, pointed out that the crack was not superficial and in fact quite serious.

I continued to ride it, and slowly made peace with the fact that my favorite-ever road bike was destined for retirement. Denial turned into anger, anger turned into grief, grief into acceptance, and acceptance into glorious Rule #12 obsession, deliberation, and contemplation. Still, my final ride on my trusted friend was bittersweet; I was on great form that day, and together we turned mountains into hills and carved the many curves as we rode along the seaside in the somber knowledge that this would be our last day out together.

I contacted the shop where I bought it and had them reach out to Cervelo for a warranty replacement, but even if they warrantied the frame, I wouldn’t want one on account of the tall head tube they’ve adopted on their large frames. I’m very picky about my position, and loved the ride and fit of my R3, so I was left with a conundrum as to what bike to get as my new #1. Then Mark, the owner of Veloforma, pointed out that he’d designed his Strada iR based on the R5ca, along with several improvements to the design. And he could do it in a custom Velominati paint scheme. Sold to the obsessive-compulsive Dutchman in the back! (That makes two Veloformas bought in the span of a few months, the VMH pointed out when I delivered the news.)

As much as I loved my R3 for its ride quality and fit, I have never been crazy about the 73 degree head tube angle. You wouldn’t think a half degree would have much effect, but the Strada’s head tube is relaxed just a hair to 72.5 degrees, and it really smooths out the handling compared to the the Cervelo. Aside from that, the dimensions are similar enough to my Cervelo that the first ride on the new steed felt like a reunion with my lost friend.

This thing is embarrassingly light at 6.3 kilos. For a 61cm. The head tube is nice and short at 19.5cm so I can get as low as I need to but tall enough that I still get to slam my stem. I also got a new carbon Pro Vibe stem whose paint job accidentally matches the markings on the frame’s custom Velominati paint job. It is almost too glorious for my tiny little brain to handle. Also, the front derailleur hanger is mounted at a slight angle which brings the derailleur cage in perfect alignment with the chain rings, which results in lightning-quick front shifting. Its little things like that which really impress me about Mark’s attention to detail when designing the bikes. Now that I think of it, both my Veloformas have the best front shifting performance of any bikes I’ve owned. Finally, the internally routed cables makes it astoundingly quiet; the lack of rattling cables makes this machine the high water mark in my quest for the Principle of Silence. And that paint job, oh that paint job.

I haven’t ridden the Strada a whole lot, but I did the V to V Cogal on it which consisted of two long days in the saddle and featured a lengthy session with my old friend, the Man with the Hammer. I’m happy to report that she climbs and descends like a monster. The bike has the road feel of my R3, but is more responsive with a stiffer BB and steering column. But the relaxed head tube makes it handle like a Merckx; the descent off Mount Saint Helens had some seriously sketchy tarmac in places and her handling probably gave me too much confidence in light of my Schleckian descending skills.

What started as heartbreak ended in a love affair. Funny how that works out some times.

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  1. @ChrisO

    Thats a good analogy, I think you should definitely write that article. Both sports are about as interesting to watch as paint drying.  Both attract lonely obsessives with few friends. Both require the wearing of expensive and highly, (for any other purpose), impracticable clothing.  I could go on.

  2. @E

    Or more precisely it was “The Bowler was Holding the Batsman’s Willey” but that may spoilt it for those that still don’t understand.  Personally one of the best was Jonno’s summary when Aggers had him in tears of laughter about Botham not quite getting his leg over………then there was the time I was watching a test and Gooch was on 100+ and going well and my wife came in shortly after he was out and asked what happened and I said something like “He got a snorter that lifted and cut back off a length, snicked it off an inside edge to the keeper, it was unplayable”.  She just stood there with a blank look and said “Oh so he’s out then”.  The cricketers here will be able to picture the ball precisely……..

  3. @Teocalli

    Precisely this one for those who don’t follow cricket http://cricketcrowd.com/displayvideo.php?ccvideo=2443

    Stupidly the YouTube version has dubbed laughter, what is the point in that.

  4. @ChrisO Superbly well put, especially the last bit about the mandatory refreshments. Proper enjoyment of a five day test match requires a certain level of devotion.

  5. I see y’all are still talking about cricket. How disappointing.  Can I remind you what we’re supposed to be doing here

  6. @PeakInTwoYears

    @ChrisO

    Upwelling of Bryson love. His description of hiking the Appalachian Trail in the US is priceless. He would be the one to describe cricket to ‘Mericans. I will read this.

    Here it is – excerpted from Down Under (which I also think is a pretty good description of Australia).

    http://www.wandererscricket.com/Yank_view.html

    @Ali McKee I’m sure if you want to start a chat about the Tour of Poland nobody will have any objection. Oh, hang on that’s finished… Tour of Utah – nah, I’d like to keep my will to live for a little while longer.

  7. I’ve always found Bryson to be a bit of a smug git but he is spot on with his description of the soothing nature of cricket commentary. Test Match Special great for getting the kids to to nod off in the car.

  8. A while back I read the account of a British PoW who’d been held by the Japanese during the unpleasantness in the Pacific in ’41 – ’45. He wrote that one of the things that kept them sane was two of their comrades setting up a box painted to look like a radio in one of the huts and proceeding to improvise the radio commentary of an entire imaginary test match over five days – just for an hour or two they were home.

    Whilst trying to find the source of this quote I came across this extraordinary article from 1946 http://www.espncricinfo.com/wisdenalmanack/content/story/152863.html by E W Swanton about cricket being played in Japanese PoW camps. The line about “large and happy crowds of men anxious to forget the tiresomeness of dysentery, beri-beri, and malaria” brought a lump to my throat. 

  9. @Teocalli

    No it was definitely his Willy he had hold of, I was there.  What happened next is unprintable but involved a straight bat (well oiled of course) and a couple of gogglies. Am I right in thinking Gooch’s ball ended up in Silly mid off with an early bath for all concerned?  Rub-a-dub-dub :)

  10. @Marcus

    @minion your obsession with my height (or lack thereof) is getting weird. Since we havent met, i can only guess you must somehow be imagining me to work out my height.

    That’s the weird bit.

    Well, when I do try to imagine what you’re like, it’s more this

    Than

  11. How did this discussion of Frank’s new bike devolve into cricket and Brad Pitt?  What the fuck?  Someone post an Assos girl or comment on Frank’s seatpost length to get this thing back on track.

  12. @PeakInTwoYears

     

    Reminds me of the old joke about the panda. You’ve all heard it a million times right?

    I usually hear that joke wrong.

  13. @ChrisO

    Here it is – excerpted from Down Under (which I also think is a pretty good description of Australia).

    http://www.wandererscricket.com/Yank_view.html

    That made me laugh out loud. Classic Bryson. Thank you.  I don’t know a damn thing more about cricket, but I know now that there’s a town in Australia called Tittybong. Which makes the morning that much better.

  14. Bill Bryson’s road trip around America after he returns from many years in the UK  is priceless. “How you laak Miss Hippy?” he gets asked by a cop in a southern state. He has no idea how to reply as he has Iowa license plates and the cop has a big gun.

  15. @wiscot

    Bill Bryson’s road trip around America after he returns from many years in the UK is priceless. “How you laak Miss Hippy?” he gets asked by a cop in a southern state. He has no idea how to reply as he has Iowa license plates and the cop has a big gun.

    Fantastic book, that story reminds me of a friend from New Mexico, who, while traveling through Alabama, was told by a cop, “I don’t care if you are from New Mexico or Old Mexico, I’m going to need to see a passport.”.

  16. @PeakInTwoYears

    @ChrisO

    Here it is – excerpted from Down Under (which I also think is a pretty good description of Australia).

    http://www.wandererscricket.com/Yank_view.html

    That made me laugh out loud. Classic Bryson. Thank you. I don’t know a damn thing more about cricket, but I know now that there’s a town in Australia called Tittybong. Which makes the morning that much better.

    Oh, thanks. I really needed this. Laughing so hard my coworkers are wondering WTF is up with me.

  17. @razmaspaz

    @wiscot

    Bill Bryson’s road trip around America after he returns from many years in the UK is priceless. “How you laak Miss Hippy?” he gets asked by a cop in a southern state. He has no idea how to reply as he has Iowa license plates and the cop has a big gun.

    Fantastic book, that story reminds me of a friend from New Mexico, who, while traveling through Alabama, was told by a cop, “I don’t care if you are from New Mexico or Old Mexico, I’m going to need to see a passport.”.

    Apparently, that’s why it says New Mexico USA on the license plates – so folks knew it is in the US. I think it was added after the 84 Olympics when people calling for tickets from NM were told they had to use the international number, not the domestic one. Might be an apocryphal story, but sounds plausible.

  18. @wiscot

    I was travelling from Vail to Denver a few years back by taxi/limo (inexpensive one!) and the driver asks where we were from “UK” says we after a bit of chat he pauses then says “UK gee, now is that over the Atlantic or Pacific” ………

  19. @razmaspaz

    @wiscot

    Bill Bryson’s road trip around America after he returns from many years in the UK is priceless. “How you laak Miss Hippy?” he gets asked by a cop in a southern state. He has no idea how to reply as he has Iowa license plates and the cop has a big gun.

    Fantastic book, that story reminds me of a friend from New Mexico, who, while traveling through Alabama, was told by a cop, “I don’t care if you are from New Mexico or Old Mexico, I’m going to need to see a passport.”.

    It’s a funny story but I’m afraid there is no way an Alabama cop is asking for a passport.

  20. @paolo

    @razmaspaz

    @wiscot

    Bill Bryson’s road trip around America after he returns from many years in the UK is priceless. “How you laak Miss Hippy?” he gets asked by a cop in a southern state. He has no idea how to reply as he has Iowa license plates and the cop has a big gun.

    Fantastic book, that story reminds me of a friend from New Mexico, who, while traveling through Alabama, was told by a cop, “I don’t care if you are from New Mexico or Old Mexico, I’m going to need to see a passport.”.

    It’s a funny story but I’m afraid there is no way an Alabama cop is asking for a passport.

    Never underestimate the potential for United Statesian paranoia, xenophobia, geographical ignorance, and compensatory bullying. The story is probably fictional, but it really could be true.

  21. @the Engine

    A while back I read the account of a British PoW who’d been held by the Japanese during the unpleasantness in the Pacific in ’41 – ’45. He wrote that one of the things that kept them sane was two of their comrades setting up a box painted to look like a radio in one of the huts and proceeding to improvise the radio commentary of an entire imaginary test match over five days – just for an hour or two they were home.

    Whilst trying to find the source of this quote I came across this extraordinary article from 1946 http://www.espncricinfo.com/wisdenalmanack/content/story/152863.html by E W Swanton about cricket being played in Japanese PoW camps. The line about “large and happy crowds of men anxious to forget the tiresomeness of dysentery, beri-beri, and malaria” brought a lump to my throat.

    not too many jockinese in that particular camp then ?

  22. Fuck. Me. Gently.

    That’s a lovely bike.  Sad about the Cervelo, but, as they say, “The King is dead.  Long live the King!”

  23. @PeakInTwoYears

    @paolo

    @razmaspaz

    @wiscot

    Bill Bryson’s road trip around America after he returns from many years in the UK is priceless. “How you laak Miss Hippy?” he gets asked by a cop in a southern state. He has no idea how to reply as he has Iowa license plates and the cop has a big gun.

    Fantastic book, that story reminds me of a friend from New Mexico, who, while traveling through Alabama, was told by a cop, “I don’t care if you are from New Mexico or Old Mexico, I’m going to need to see a passport.”.

    It’s a funny story but I’m afraid there is no way an Alabama cop is asking for a passport.

    Never underestimate the potential for United Statesian paranoia, xenophobia, geographical ignorance, and compensatory bullying. The story is probably fictional, but it really could be true.

    I can’t speak to the validity of the story, only that it is damn funny.  As Buffett would say “the picture is fuzzy and the details are sorted”.  Which I’m pretty sure is a lyric about a cop in Alabama, or Texas maybe.

  24. @strathlubnaig

    @the Engine

    A while back I read the account of a British PoW who’d been held by the Japanese during the unpleasantness in the Pacific in ’41 – ’45. He wrote that one of the things that kept them sane was two of their comrades setting up a box painted to look like a radio in one of the huts and proceeding to improvise the radio commentary of an entire imaginary test match over five days – just for an hour or two they were home.

    Whilst trying to find the source of this quote I came across this extraordinary article from 1946 http://www.espncricinfo.com/wisdenalmanack/content/story/152863.html by E W Swanton about cricket being played in Japanese PoW camps. The line about “large and happy crowds of men anxious to forget the tiresomeness of dysentery, beri-beri, and malaria” brought a lump to my throat.

    not too many jockinese in that particular camp then ?

    Or Canukians either.

    I would have thought other nationalities were involved – by 1945 it may have come down to “cricket or go mental/die” – what would you choose?

  25. @PeakInTwoYears

    @paolo

    @razmaspaz

    @wiscot

    Bill Bryson’s road trip around America after he returns from many years in the UK is priceless. “How you laak Miss Hippy?” he gets asked by a cop in a southern state. He has no idea how to reply as he has Iowa license plates and the cop has a big gun.

    Fantastic book, that story reminds me of a friend from New Mexico, who, while traveling through Alabama, was told by a cop, “I don’t care if you are from New Mexico or Old Mexico, I’m going to need to see a passport.”.

    It’s a funny story but I’m afraid there is no way an Alabama cop is asking for a passport.

    Never underestimate the potential for United Statesian paranoia, xenophobia, geographical ignorance, and compensatory bullying. The story is probably fictional, but it really could be true.

    You don’t understand. Really it couldn’t be true.  An Alabama cop wouldn’t know what a passport is.  Hell, Los Angeles bankers prefer to see a drivers license over a passport as valid Id.  Only 20% of the population have a passport, god love em.

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