A while back, we reminisced on our evolution from childhood bike freedom to bicycle commuter to bicycle tourist (The Accidental Bicycle Tourist: A Life Journey). We left off looking forward to the next phase in our self-powered journeys, awaiting the arrival of our first new bike in 15 years, the Bike Friday Traveler Q.
Well, it’s here, at last. It will be a few days before we give it a test run, but we got it unpacked and assembled without too much confusion. It’s a well-made machine, designed to be packed and unpacked on tour to take advantage of planes, trains, buses, and automobiles without racks.
The new bike, disassembled, fits into a large pullman case that also functions as a trailer. It also converts to a single bike by removing the stoker’s section, creating a versatile travel solution. We’ll be experimenting with rack configurations over the next few months, as we plan our touring strategy and get used to the new machine.
We haven’t had it outside yet, but had to sit on it in the hallway: it fits just like the Santana–after all, it was custom-built, just for us, and has a nameplate on the frame with our names on it, giving new meaning to the bicycle as personal transport.
We’re putting our Santana, Leviathan, which has served us faithfully for 25 years, up for sale. It has a lot more miles left in it, but we no longer have the capability of transporting it other than getting on and pedaling. With upgrades and regular maintenance, it’s still like new. Santana still makes a fat-tire tandem, but has switched from the classic Arriva road bike frame geometry to the lower, bent top bar configuration modern off-road mountain bikes sport, and renamed the model Cilantro XC. But, the old Arriva XC is still an excellent back-roads touring machine. It served us well on the unpaved sections of the Galloping Goose Trail on Vancouver Island last year, and we have ridden a few miles of gravel road in Montana when that was the only option along the route.