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Sunday, 13 September 2009


Can you get into biking at age 52?

Of course you can! I'm 49 in less than a month and ride regularly. OK, it'll will need a bit of willpower to begin with - just to get out there often enough to build fitness but, once you have that all-important base, one day it will just 'click' and there will be no stopping you!

In Wisconsin, where the roads are covered with ice for, seems like, ten out of every 12 months?

Spiked tyres? (Sorry, I meant tires :^) )

I'm tempted to say that you Americans never did understand cycling (no need to call it bicycling in the UK) and that since the evolutution of the "mountain bike" in California late 70's/early 80's you have grossly corrupted the rest of the world's notion of what a bicycle should be! - but that would just be me ranting on about one of my pet peeves.....
The so called "Country Bike" has been alive and well in the UK (and to a certain extent France and other parts of Europe) since the 1950's, it is the machine of choice for members of our great national institution the CTC (cyclists touring club).
Anyway, good to see that someone over your side of the pond is creating "real" bikes at last.

Yes, cycling and photography do indeed make symbiotic pastimes. In the days when I was young, fit and single competing in the various sections of our local CTC annual photo competion was a great spur for both activities.

Cheers, Robin

The hands on the wheels would seem to make for a bumpy ride otherwise a great looking bike.

Very interesting! I've given the subject some thought myself, photography being my profession and bikes my passion. Lots of my colleagues are also bicycle freaks and I think it theres something in a bike that appeals to the photographer, the obvious funcionality, the design; two triangles and two circles in perfekt harmony, craftmanship and handling.

My advice is get yourself a nice bike, Rivendell is nice, get it properly fitted, ride it alot, starting slow in low gear to build up strength and stamina, don´t worry about the cold, as a photographer you know about proper clothing, get some winter tires with studs ( I ride all year..in Stockholm, Sweden).

You will save time, money, help the enviroment, strengthen your stamina, calm your nerves, discover the pure fun of selfpropelled speed and learn to see things in a new way and isn´t that what photography is all about? To SEE!

Can you get into cycling in Wisconsin? Isn't that where LeMond started out? And you can get studded bike tires for the winter months.

Can you start at 52? Yes. Like any type of physical activity, it is a question of perseverance.

I knew what a transom is without your footnote definition. Boy, we must be a couple of codgers.

As for the railroad shirt -- I don't think it cost $55 a pop when the nation was being built....

(Years ago, when Banana Republic sold travel and functional clothing, instead of trendy yuppie clothing, and I was doing a lot of traveling to hot climate developing countries, I stocked up on their light cotton safari shirts and a couple of pairs of replica US army pants (button fly and all). They are still going strong (20+ years later) and did not cost more than any other kind of casual pants at the time. Which should have been expected, since my Dad had a couple of pairs of army pants he was issued in WWII and they lasted 25+ years until he passed away in 1970.)

Of course you can start riding a bicycle again at fifty-two. To get a bike that fits, you should go to a good shop, get measured and see if they have something for you. If they don't, you may be best served by having a custom frame built for your particular anatomy. A great builder, Waterford Precision Cycles, isn't that far from you. It is owned by Richard Schwinn, which says something right there.

Rivendell is indicative of a cycling aesthetic that sees bicycling in it's historical, utilitarian terms and not as an extension of the running shoe. Like the Brooks saddle and tweed breeches there is a long lineage back to when bicycling was a gentleman's pastime. Although it's utilitarian in spirit, it's not cheap; handcrafted anything is expensive.

Summertime here in Minnesota I do a great deal of photography from my bicycle.

We're lucky enough to have a Rivendell distributor in town.

That's a really funny coincidence. Just a couple of days ago I found provocative a comment that Rivendell's founder, Grant, had made to one of the Leica-related posts here. So I clicked on his name, which was a link, and I found myself at the rivbike.com website. It's been 25 years since I was into cycling (in the US, bike riders are called cyclists and motorcyclists are called bikers) so it's no surprise I hadn't heard of Rivendell. Anyway, I thought I'd stay a minute and poke around.

Well, I liked the quirky spirit and homespun tone of the site so much -- kind of the same buzz I got 20 years ago from J. Peterman and Vermont Country Store catalogs -- that I left the tab open in my browser for the past couple of days, using new tabs to surf elsewhere. I returned a couple of times to read more, and when I clicked on TOP just now I was sure I'd clicked yet again on the Rivendell tab!

I'm always looking for rugged clothes, so now I have a new source (I'm not in the market for a bike right now, but if and when I am I know where I'll look). I only wish camera-makers could be as feisty and creative and independent as these bike makers are; we'd have a lot more interesting cameras to choose from.

Of course, that's an impossibility in the computers-as-cameras digital realm, but there still are plenty of fresh thinkers in the large-format film-camera arena like Keith Canham and Richard Ritter. It's no shock to learn that with their significantly lower labor costs the Chinese LF camera-makers Chamonix and Shen Hao have taken a good share of the LF market. But lots of large-format photographers are feisty and creative and independent in their own right and a surprising number of them are willing to pay a little more for imaginative, small-shop, American-made cameras, like those from Keith and Richard. The Rivendells of the camera world, if you will, albeit with less-polished websites.

Long live small-business ingenuity, whatever the product and whatever country it hails from! If TOP attracts other non-photo-related sponsors, I hope they're as refreshing as Rivendell.

By the way, this may be the most impressive page of the rivendell website:


Me too, right through the filter.

Zen and the art of bicycle maintenance. What is Quality? Could be the measure of care with which something is made.

In Danish, "hilsen" means salutation or greeting.

I had to comment that I was thrilled to see their add on your site. There is much in common and I have owned a Rivendell Quickbeam for several years. I was about to order some bags and clothes from them and now I can do it through the links and benefit two great groups. By the way their bags are great for hauling cameras around and shooting the countryside.

Mike you can ride a bike year round. I used to live in Northern Michigan and rode my bike to work all year. They make studded tires which make riding on ice and hardpack safe and (in my opinion) quite fun.


Motorcycles and photography go well together, too.

Only today I've been thinking about working motorcycles; bikes that perform similar functions to the bicycle above. There are not many motorcycles made like that now.

Actually, there's an awful lot of products of all kinds out there whose specification gets in the way of their function. For example, the bike above is unusual because it (quite rightly) comes with mudguards.

Er, hasn't this been covered here before?

Roger, 1982 Yamaha XJ750 and some sort of pushbike.

Having been a regular Rivendell customer in the past*, I can attest to the quality of the gear they stock - all fine kit selected for fine form in performing a clear function. I always think there is a lot in common between a fine bicycle and a fine camera - functional items that are also beautiful to look at and handle well.
*less regular now because well made kit lasts a while and doesn't need so much replacement and I have plenty of bicycles right now.

Grant Peterson is actually an avid photographer. My wife and I had the pleasure of interviewing him for a (now defunct) bicycling magazine some years ago. Eventually the conversation got around to cameras and his love of the rangefinder specifically. Not necessarily the Leica, but more proletariat cameras, Canon QL17, Yashica Electro and the like. In fact, in a Rivendell reader (their newsletter) I seem to remember a photo of a Voigtlander R2 stuffed into one of those beautiful saddlebags.

I like bikes almost as much as cameras. Just built a minimalist single speed.


I'd suggest a simple, rugged bike for re-entry into the sport. Check out Swobo or Surly offerings if Rivendell is too dear. 52 isn't too old. But close.

I find that when I cycle and shoot, I end up doing far more of the latter than the former. When I ride with my neighbors (dedicated cyclists all) I usually end up returning hours after they do. Seems that every few hundred feet something else interesting turns up and I just have to stop for another photo. Cycling is a good way to find intimate landscapes, macros, and other small scale natural world shots that you would never suspect are there when flying past in a car.
Get a good sturdy bike, a lightweight photo kit in a well padded backpack that can also hold water and some food and off you go.

Well Mike,
I am 58 on Tuesday, and I too have purchased/given a few bikes in the last couple decades. I stopped buying new ones after I found myself thinking that I should sandpaper those little "nubs" off the tires so it would at least LOOK like I was using them. I have 2 bikes at the moment, one a 40 year old Schwinn Super Sport just like the one I had in High School and the second, a something or other that I got at a yard sale because it looked like it might fit a 58 year old better than that "sport" model.
I'll let you know how it works out Maine Winter is around the corner, not much time left to oil the chain...


I met Grant Peterson (owner of Rivendell) at Interbike back in the 90's. He is an interesting guy, and self-proclaimed "retro-grouch" who does know his stuff. I appreciate his approach and aesthetic (and owned a Rivendell a few years back). I don't agree with everything he says though - frankly spandex and modern fabrics have their place (coolmax is amazing).

Never too late to start riding again. It's just like riding a bicycle. Oh wait, wrong metaphor...

I'm an avid reader of TOP, as well as a fan of Rivendell. I have a little blog titled EcoVelo where I do bike reviews and do my best to inspire others to ditch their cars and take up bicycling as their primary mode of transport.

By odd chance, just the other day I received a Sam Hillborne (another interesting bike with an interesting name) on loan from Rivendell to review for my site. I was so surprised to check my RSS feed for TOP this afternoon and see a post about Rivendell. Serendipity is a wonderful thing when it smacks you square in the face like your post did today!

If you're interested, here are a few snaps I took of the Sam Hillborne the other day:



I love Riv but feel obligated to mention that not all of their bikes are made in America. Some models are made in high-end shops in Japan. I think one "budget" model was made in Taiwan. Nothing wrong with this, of course, since MUSA bikes are usually very, very expensive.

I've owned a Rivendell Bike for five years now and I regard it as the best thing I own. It's got about 20,000 miles on it, a few dings in the paint and a couple of tiny rust spots. It cost about the same as a new Zeiss-Ikon with a 35mm lens and it has been worth every penny.

I wasn't expecting to be drawn into this post but as is usually the case, you managed to draw me in.

Several things struck me about this post:

1. It didn't take me long to realize that people who appreciate well-made bicycles might also like appreciate well-made cameras (and vice-versa). I suspect that Rivendell riders share the pragmatism and sensibilities of TOP readers.

2. 52? I don't know why but I suspected it took you more years than that to cram all that photographic knowledge, experience, and fancy book learnin' into that noggin of yours.

3. Bruce A: I also used to shop at Banana Republic when they routinely bought well-made surplus military clothing from around the world, re-labeled it as their own, and sold it at sensible prices. Do you also remember when you could get gentlemen's tweed at Abercrombie and Fitch?

You think 52 is old, no way. Not only is Rivendell high class, its built on practical functionality. These bikes are built to be enjoyed tooling around. They are not for competition. The funny thing is, most riders who don't race suffer with racing bikes.

A few things:

What Hans said. A major impediment to bicycle enjoyment is a poor fit. Make sure your shop is equipped to take proper measurement.

I've ridden year-round in Calgary. The chinooks there mean the main roads are usually ice-free. I'm a little skeptical of the studded-tire recommendation. We never used them, but if a Scandinavian is saying they work, there's probably something to it.

Walking will always be best for photography. A bike has a few drawbacks. Managing a bicycle, a camera bag, various pieces of gear and frequent mounts and dismounts can sometimes spoil the creative rhythm. It's usually safe to leave a car somewhere, locked, and strike out walking; not always so with a bicycle. The best method for me is one camera with one lens, the strap over one shoulder, diagonally across the torso with the camera under the opposite arm, shifted slightly forward. Then the camera won't flop as you ride, the picture-taking can be quick and intuitive and you can cover a lot of ground.

On the subject of bicycle brands, Trek makes something called the District, a road-sized bike which recalls traditional sensibility while offering some futuristic elements. Saw one go by me today in Montreal. Sweet-looking.


You might also note the photo on their page:
What does that camera look like, and:
"Camera recommendations
Old way: Film. New way: Digital. All the pix on our site are film, which is why some of them are technically lousy! Wide angle lenses are the most useful for group camp shots. A small tripod comes in handy."

I think you might just be their kinda guy, even if you don't ride.

Mike: Most regular diamond frame bikes are pure pain machines which is why the majority of them end up hanging on garage walls unused. Those of us who have discovered the joy of riding recumbent bikes (or in my case a recumbent trike) call them "wedgies" for good reason. If you ever get up near Stevens Point, WI drop by the Hostel Shoppe. They are one of the largest recumbent bike dealers in the country, and they might just change your view of biking.

A two thousand dollar bike frame! Yikes! And some of us great unwashed were saying Like-Ka was too expensive. This pot-bellied-over-the-hill guy does not have the breath to ride a bike anymore but as a twenty something in 1970's Chicago all I had was a Schwinn Varsity and it sure wasn't 2K but got me around fine for the better part of 7~8 years. It stayed with a friend when I moved west.

One of the reasons I moved to San Francisco from NYC 10 yrs ago was for the freedom and pleasure of riding a bike again. Yes, people do ride bikes in Manhattan, and while I salute them all- each and everyone of them are absolutely out of their freaking minds. I do not not have a death wish, yet. Walking the streets and riding the subways of NY is adventure enough, thank you very much.

It took me three months and several sleep interrupting charlie horses to finally "get my legs" (we got hills here), but I'm still going strong at 53. It's great exercise, and offers excellent opportunities to cover lots of ground in a very intimate manner since you can go as slow as you want, as close as you want, and disembark whenever with camera gear in tow. I got one camera always (currently a diminutive black Nikon FG w/20mm) in a shoulder bag, or can take the "entire studio" in a LowePro Micro-Trekker 200. That said, while backpacks are, in fact, a great way to transport camera equipment (particularly on a bike)- they verge on the useless for location action shooting.

I love going into bike stores as much as camera stores- or art galleries. And you can get excellent "commuter bikes" these days for between $500-$650. But beware those classic metal and wire frame saddles- the ultimate butt crunchers! Happy cycling- and shooting!

I'm a long-time reader of both TOP and Rivendell and was inspired by both sites to make a little bicycle photoblog of my own.

I'm developing a new photo category "bicycle landscapes". If you're interested here are some examples:



Speaking of biking and photographing, you can do that with a Leica, it turns out. Well, maybe not, we'll see when the film comes back.

And I second everyone's encouragement for you getting on a bike. Rivendells, from everything I've read of them, are built for grown-ups. The bike I ride now is a fixie built for early-twenty-somethings to ride recklessly in city traffic. And while I love my bike more than is reasonable for an inanimate object, my next bike purchase should be a Riv.

Rivendells were my bicycle crush objects like Leicas were my camera crush objects. So far I'm 1/2.

Incidentally, the last thing Grant would ever call himself is a "retro-grouch". He's very quick to point that out.

Mike, if you're willing to put practicality above 'street cred' the Rivendell mixtes are really nice to ride and easy to get on and off of... and like most expensive hand-made things give a pleasure in ownership and use that is not equalled by mass-market bikes.

If you really don't mind looking just a little different and you want an extremely comfortable bike at a very affordable price, consider getting a 'crank-forward' bicycle from RANS (www.ransbikes.com). The Fusion is their most popular seller and it is VERY comfortable and easy to ride even if you never felt comfortable on a bike. The crank-forward design means you can have the proper seat-pedal distance yet put both feet down while sitting. My wife bought a Zenetic (the light, road bike variant) a few years ago and can now ride 100 miles on it in perfect comfort.

I love the way Rivendells look, and the few I've ridden have been nice... but my next bike (I have 3 right now) will most likely be a RANS crank forward. They're just too much fun.

You know? In the middle of the discussion of lately about the Leica M9 I was about to write that I can (and do!) take my M8 in a handlebar bag when cycling. In fact, I use to shoot it when pedalling, no need to stop aside, as for instance here in the Mont Ventoux, one of the Tour de France myths...


My nickname is even cycling-related (Oronet is a mountain pass close to my home), and so I am really delighted to see both my hobbies so close in the blog. By the way, American hand-made bicycles are gorgeous; it's a pity they are so difficult to get here in Europe (more in Spain).

Is there *any* TOP topic that will not get high quality comments from people with expert or first hand knowledge of said topic?

If you think 2k for a bike frame is expensive, you should see how much a carbon frame can cost. The local bike shop is full of 7k - 8k bikes, not that I shop there or anything but I know a few people with a half dozen 6k+ bikes each.

Being from the Netherlands, I learned cycling about 2 weeks after I learned to walk, and since I was ten years old I've never owned less than 2 bikes at any given time (currently 5, including a recumbent and a tandem). I don't even own a car anymore nowadays.

Regarding cycling and photography: I agree cycling and photography go together better than cars and cameras, but I find that if I want to make pictures, I'm still better off walking. Continuously stopping gets annoying quick (not to mention irritating to your traveling companions), which puts up a barrier every shot has to overcome, and having a camera around your neck on a bike isn't exactly comfortable.

But of course the bike is a great means to get to places for photography.

Regarding cycling after 50: Check out the late Sheldon Brown's website, he kept cycling until his MS-related death at 63 (despite his illness, and regardless of weather). Incidentaly, his site is also a great source of practical (as opposed to commercial) information on selecting and maintaining bicycles (I'd consider it the TOP of the bicycle world. Maybe it's the beard).

On Rivendell bikes: Judging from the components I can recognize, and the build of the frame, it looks like a quality bike. Maybe expensive if you're not used to it, but a well built and maintained bike lasts you a lifetime. (Kinda like a Leica, I guess).

Also glad to see you Americans are finally getting over your silly mountain-bike phase, and putting fenders on your bikes again. Now put a chainguard on it, and you get a bike you can actually use...

Responding to Mike in Montreal, he is right that a bike has a few drawbacks, but I have found here in England, and in our favourite holiday area, the Alps, a parking space for a car may be a long way from a location with potential for good pictures. The roads are narrow and twisting.You can though almost always find a corner nearby to tuck a bike or two into. We've been lucky and never had our bikes stolen, perhaps because they're not in the popular mountain bike style.

Rivendell Bikes and their ilk are the veblen value added Leica's of the cycling world. They won't make you a better cyclist, they will just extract more money from you.

I live in Scotland, cycle all year and I can tell, expensive handmade exotica like that is just excessive and needlessly flash. Bah humbug.

I am happy to say that the local bycicle industry is alive and kicking around here too (The Netherlands).
I am a little suprised as seeing a 2000 dollar bycicle as being "luxury", surely that is not expensive for something you use every day? 1)

Offcourse there are little specialty bicycle shops around these parts for any type of bycicle you might imagine.
I am personally a fan of the good old-fashioned "dutch bycicle", because it has a really comfortable riding position for day to day short-ish trips (around half an hour).
You can also get steel, hand-made ones for around 400 euros around here. You would have to shop around for a decent saddle, increasing the price of the bicycle a tad. 2)

One thing I don't understand is this obsession with off-road tires or with racing weels. All seem very impractical to me.

1) I am aware that this is not the case in the US. Over here it is very common for people to use their bicycles for their daily commute and most of their shopping.
In fact there are a significant (but small-ish) amount of people who don't own cars and get by just fine using the bicycle.

2) I have a brooks saddle that I absolutely love. Strangely enough I got a few of them for free; I know a second-hand bicycle salesman and he says they sell better without the good saddle but with a cheap, plastic one.
Happy to get a good saddle for free though.

Try a more sports oriented bike with thin high-pressure tires or at least one with a large transmission ratio. Easy to reach 35-40 km/h on the street, making the bike a real means of transportation for short distances.

I've found bike rides (mostly on an RB-1, BTW) to be very productive photographically, using either of two modes of camera-carrying:

-A compact camera in a Ziploc bag in a back pocket of a cycling jersey. Best with a long, cord-type strap over one's shoulder that is just long enough for the camera to slide easily into the pocket. This will allow you safely to take photos from the bike if you want to. The more accessible your camera is, the more photos you will make.

-Or something like a DSLR in a belt pack (I used the smallest Lowepro). The trick is to tighten the belt enough so that the pack doesn't flop around when you stand to pedal.

I've done many long rides with cameras. You see things while biking that you would never notice otherwise.

I don't even know where to start Mike.

I suppose the first order of business is that it is NEVER too late to take up cycling. Snow and Wisconsin winters, 9 months a year it is zero problem? Besides don't you move the TOP HQ to Florida in the winter? You live in a very active cycling community in southern Wisco. Ever hear or TREK? Waterford built or may still build some of Grant's bikes and is owned by Richard Schwinn. Yes that is in Waterford Wisconsin. Madison, just a short piece to your right is one of the best...you get the picture.

The A. Homer is just the ride for you! No need for fancy pants or clothing, just toss on your favorite tweed jacket and head out the door.

Some people around here talk of buying and collecting too many cameras, I was one of those people that used to have too many bicycles.

I had so many bikes that when I opened my small business back in 2000, I funded the entire start-up with the capital I raised selling my bikes! At the time I had a Volvo that I paid $290 dollars for,and at full retail (I never paid retail) about $30K in bikes and bike related stuff. I once lived in an apartment with two other bike dorks and we had a staggering about of money in bicycles, tools etc in that place. We had over 30 sets of wheels that were not even attached to bikes!

I have known Grant a long time, and had a few bikes that had his name all over them from Bridgestone. I never have bought a Rivendell, but I will some day. My guess is that it will be long before I ever buy a Leica.

These two passions are very similar and go hand in hand perfectly.

It's not how fast or how far you ride, it's how long.

Ride forever!

A two thousand dollar bike frame! Yikes! Said John Robinson.

Peanuts John.

I think you might be drawn to the Pashley G'vnor too. http://www.pashley.co.uk/products/guvnor.html

I knew that I should not have come to the comments on this post:

"Most regular diamond frame bikes are pure pain machines which is why the majority of them end up hanging on garage walls unused."

As mentioned, get a properly fitted bike---and then be prepared to make further adjustments and wear appropriate clothing. Oh...and please, PLEASE, do not try to take photos while riding, or read e-mail, or newspapers, or post to your blog, or bird watch, or...

Sorry. Got carried away. I see that kind of stuff everyday, and everywhere in Tokyo.

60 and currently riding a 1985 Guerciotti

Mike, take a look at the http://www.bikefriday.com/ for a look at a DMD in the bicycle world. Sturdy compact bicycles that you can take with you everywhere and are fun to use, even at 52. And they ride like a "full frame" bike. The company has an interesting story as well.

"My bikes never seem to fit me"

I used to think the same thing until I finally went to a really good shop (Cycles de Oro in Greensboro, NC) and got fit for a custom-made bike. Now I ride comfortably but I feel really weird since my road bike has a 58cm seat tube and 52cm top tube (for those who know what that means). I feel a little top heavy on it but no more back pain! I guess my torso just never grew to keep up with my legs.

A steel bike frame producer now advertises for TOP- I'm starting to get scared that I'm being stalked! Although I guess I like reading you because you value craftsmanship and quality and you tend to be a bit of a purist like me.

Apparently John Robinson hasn't priced bike frames recently: http://www.jonesbikes.com/production_framesets.html

Mike, you are killing me. I just took the Leica Challenge by getting an M7 and Voigtlander 35/1.2 and now you announce you advertising these killer bikes. As an avid cyclist I could not be happier. Good Luck.

Rivendell is an interesting place, the ne-plus-ultra for a certain kind of authenticity seeker. Their basic idea is to move in the opposite direction from the rest of the bike industry, which has successfully sold most cyclists on the idea that they need lighter, fancier bikes based on a racing/fashion model. A little tight lycra here, carbon fiber there. Where I think that Rivendell has gotten it absolutely right is that most of us don't need a consumer version of Lance Armstrong's frame and wheels. Those ultra-light racing components are, in the long run, less durable than their more lumpen-counterparts. The last time a bike store owner tried to sell me a $5K frame, I patted my amble belly and said, "if my ride is going to be 20 pounds lighter, the loss is coming from here. , ," I will have one of Grant's bikes before the next decade is out. M9? Not so sure.

Ben Marks

Sorry, I don't recognize the book. Can someone help? Thanks.

Not only can you start riding at 52, but Wisconsin should be an excellent place for it. Waterford bikes, made by Richard Schwinn and company, are made right there, and they also make some of Rivendell's frames. As for recumbents, been there done that, and they just don't climb or handle well enough. By using Grant's seating position and frame size recommendations, you can get comfortable on a traditional bike, and the ride will be so much better. Buy one of his bikes, or a Waterford, with a saddle bag, place camera in bag, add sandwiches and go!

I bought an electric bike recently. I'm barely middle-aged, but after a decade of working from home I'm way out of shape.
To my nice surprise, this (expensive) model, while not light, actually *feels* light to ride, and I don't need the motor (silent) as much as I thought.

I bought it primarily to get around farther to photograph. I don't want a car, and I've photographed everything within walking distance.

There's a car-free partial city in Germany.

I was a BOB (Bridgestone Owners Bunch) member in the years before Bridgestone bowed out of the U.S. bike market (Mr. Peterson spec'd the Bstones here according to a similar philosophy as Rivendell.)

The old Bridgestone bike catalogs and Readers are filled with gems, and old Bstones command good prices on eBay -- with good reason.

Rivendell is a great match for this site IMO.

Hi Mike,

Here's another vote for the recumbent bike. I started riding "bents" in my late 40's when regular (diamond frame bike) were no longer comfortable to ride for any length of time. When I turned 50, I realized my dream of crossing the US on a bicycle. Did another when I turned 55. Considering another when I turn 60 next year couldn't have done it on anything other than a recumbent.

Don't let the strange look and initial feel of the bike deter you. Rent a medium or long wheelbase recumbent over a weekend and see if it is right for you. It is all about comfort and the recumbent is the "king of comfort". It is also more conducive to photography.

There is as much debate about the merits of various styles of "bents" as there is about the various camera makers. Don't sweat the details just go out and ride (shoot)

The one drawback is hills. If you're in a hilly section of WI, you'll have your work cut out for you until you develop you "bent' legs.


Something is afoot. Rivendell starts to advertise on TOP, earning them a blog entry. Rivendell's latest ad copy for their new shirt notes the shirt's pockets are big enough for a rangefinder camera with a 50mm lens (M9 just released). Now Bike Hugger gushes uncritically about the Nikon D3x. There has got to be a recent marketing white paper out there showing bicyclists and photographers mix. If fatcyclist.com or luminouslandscape.com list switch gears, I'll know something is up.

If you want to try a more comfortable bike without spending the thousands a Rivendell requires, find your local Raleigh (USA) dealer. They have several bikes that would look right at home on the Rivendell website, but are more in the $500 to $1100 range.

And no, 52 is not too old. Buy for comfort and practicality first. Avoid shops filled with spandexed whippets under 25.

Can you get into biking at age 52? In Wisconsin, where the roads are covered with ice for, seems like, ten out of every 12 months?


Actually Grant embraced the "retro grouch" term back when he was a product manager for Bridgestone in the early 90's. It was a badge of differentiation that helped distinguish Bridgestone's bikes from the pack. Sadly solid design along with a unique aesthetic often (usually?) loses to shiny colors and latest/greatest technology. Sound familiar?

Truth be told the one bike of mine I'll never sell is my Moots YBBeat. Functional rolling art. Take a look at the welds...mmm, titanium. www.moots.com

I ride one, they are great, and Grant is a funny guy who, like us is into photography.

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