Saturday, October 25, 2008

Soma Double Cross

Took a little recreational ride over the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian bridge today, then a trip south on the Wabash trail to the Mineola steakhouse for a couple of beers. Beer is a food!

I wanted to measure the mileage from the Wabash trailhead to my work. I've been parking my truck at the trailhead and bike commuting to work, and I was curious about the distance.

The bikes I've been riding lately are computerless. I've been commuting on the Quickie Blue Fixie, and the Rambouillet has been getting an inordinate amount of attention as of late. I decided this morning I'd take my Soma Double Cross, which of course has a cycling computer mounted along with some other tasty bits.

My Soma is actually a fusion of an old road bike I bought several years ago, along with a few new parts. A little background, perhaps?

A few years ago, I purchased a Giant OCR2. This was the first road bike I'd owned since college, when I terrorized the campus on my black 10-speed Zebrakenko Golden Sports. It had some decent components, 105 rear derailleur, Tiagra front, STI brifters, Xero 20 spoke wheels and hubs, Truvativ Touro crank. The frame is aluminum, 'compact geometry', sized XL.

It fit OK...not great. It may have been a bit large for me but I have long arms so I had no problems reaching the handlebars. The stock saddle put my wedding tackle to sleep so I purchased a new 'ergonomic' model with the center cutout. This was only my second bike at the time, so it got quite a bit of use.

I'd been reading about the advantages of steel frames, and had been drooling over the Rivendell bikes on their website. Since I wasn't yet willing to shell out the bucks for one, I purchased a 62cm 12-speed 80's vintage Schwinn LeTour on eBay at a very reasonable price. This bike probably hadn't been ridden more than a few still had the original Schwinn tires with hardly any wear (although they were seriously weatherchecked). I replaced the tires, did some minor tuning and it was ready to go.

I fell in love with this bike. It fit me so much better than my Giant, and the ride seemed so much smoother...less harsh than the aluminum bike. Although it was heavier, I preferred the fit and ride and spent quite a bit of time on it. I call it my 'Pepe LeTour', although it definitely does NOT stink :>)

Because of my experience with the Schwinn, I decided to take the plunge and purchased my Quickbeam from Rivendell. Again, another bike that I absolutely love. The QB fits me perfectly and though it's a bit heavy it's a wonderful ride.

The Giant OCR languished in my basement. I definitely wanted to go steel and decided I'd find a decent multipurpose steel frame at a reasonable price, and swap out my OCR components. I looked at several frames and narrowed it down to either the Surly Cross Check or the Soma Double cross. I found a local dealer selling Soma frames and struck a deal. He would install a new headset and bottom bracket, and do the component swap. I dropped my bike off at the shop and waited in anticipation.

Several weeks later, my bike was finished! I picked up my new Soma and my old OCR frame and I've never regretted making the swap. It's kind of a 'light tourer'. I could classify it as a randonneur or maybe an Audax bike, since it has road bike components but I've outfitted it with a Tubus cargo rack, fenders, headlight and tail light, and a mounting bracket for my Carradice Nelson Longflap. I'm planning on using this for a commuter bike when I want to coast and shift.

I've posted some pics on, so check it out!

BTW, it's 13.7 miles from the trailhead to the parking garage at my work :>)


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