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09/17/07
Homeric Riding - Prologue
Filed under: rides, photos, bike tech
Posted by: The Cyclofiend @ 8:01 am

Ludere quo velis birota permittit aggrestis

- Quote from the A. Homer Hilsen headbadge, which I’m guessing means something along the line of:
“To allow aggressive play with a bicycle”  Though if that’s laughably, woefully inaccurate, please feel free to correct my Latin.

Regardless.  I’ve never had to look up words that appeared on my headbadge before. I think it’s cool.


It’s also possible that this is the first bicycle where I owned the coinpurse first. Actually, it’s the only bicycle I have which has a coinpurse counerpart. Old A. Homer made it to 78, according to the inscription, which is pretty impressive from that era. It would have been pretty incredible to have lived through the first bicycle boom, to be sure, not to mention the array of other occurences, events and struggles which took place in that time.

Lucky for us that A. Homer Hilsen had such an effect upon bicycle designs - or at least approaches to bicycle designs - that his philanthropic, far-ranging wheelman ways inspired the bicycle that bears his name. For it is through the bicycle that he remains a healer today.

Or at least on last Saturday. I haven’t ridden yet today.

As the photographically caught mitosis example demonstrated, I managed to split into two parts, get my work done and zip over to RBWHQ&L to pick up my A. Homer Hilsen. I’d been trying to ignore the fact that it was close, that Toyo had been posted photos of the frames, and that Keven had indicated it would be arriving in late August/early September. As much fun as the Quickbeam is, running one gear on some of the local trails can be a bit punishing, especially when you like leaving it in fixed mode. Besides, the QB was getting antsy to ditch the racks and bottle cages, slap on some knibblies and get ready for cross season.

The salient facts are dispersed through earlier entries, but basically my Lemond CX bike went lame a day before my first race last year, and the Quickbeam got its chance to go to the show. It wasn’t always easy, but it was fun. So, when the warranty replacement frame came from the fine folks in WaterlooWis, it never got built up. The spirit of Tarik appeared during a ride and intoned “Pedal Faster” and I got hooked on riding CX on a one-geared bike.

Meanwhile, my old open-wheeled racer was getting cobwebby and dusty. When a friend asked for advice about upgrading their own ride, we both came to a mutually satisfactory conclusion about what to do. It went to him, he’s happy as a clam and the only bike I’ve got left that has derailleurs is a mountain bike which doesn’t get ridden all that much. One of the concerns I’ve had is in doing a “fleche”, where a team of riders engages in a one-way brevet-style randon to a set destination. Riding a fixed-gear (the QB) means your momentum is different, an it’s easy to become separated from geared/coastable riders. That’s not a big deal on a day ride, when you’re regrouping and casual.  But, a fleche is more of  a team effort, and it seemed that it might place uneccesary pressure on things to be the only one thumping away on a single cog.

I was kinda thinking about a Legolas to replace the Lemond as a CX bike, but the more I rode the Quickbeam, the less intense that desire became.  Of course, I was thinking (based on Veronica’s bike, as an example) of setting it up more brevet style.  Then it could be used for longer rides, but wouldn’t be afraid of our Mixed-Terrain outings.

All that got pretty messed up by Grant, of course. Earlier this year, I’d found myself in the RBW neck of the forest, and popped by to pick up some small stuff. Grant had been working with a customer, sending him out on various models.  As I walked up, he pushed a blue bike my way and said, “Give it a try…”  Thus began my first interaction with A. Homer Hilsen.  About 20 minutes later, I was reluctantly back at the roll up door, holding the bike at arms length, repeating the phrase, “Now, that’s interesting…”

It had big tire clearance. It felt nicely responsive. It had gears. It had mid-fork and mid-chainstay braze ons. It had the stability that I really liked in the Quickbeam. 

I’ll be honest.  Upon first reading about the Hilsen, it didn’t quite make sense to me. But, after a ride (admittedly a short one) and looking at the design choices, it was pretty clear that it was well equipped for anything I wanted to throw at it. It just made sense. 

Which is why, a number of months later, I giddily watched Mark wheel my new Hilsen out into the daylight…

Coming soon - the first rides…

One Response to “Homeric Riding - Prologue”

  1. beth h Says:
    Very nice bike there. Put on a bib to catch the drool.