We wanted to get in some additional base miles last weekend but were once again challenged by the weather, as storms on Friday had lingered into Saturday morning.
In anticipation of a wet spring I had already taken steps to outfit our once beloved but now rarely ridden ’98 Erickson with our Reynolds Ouzo Pro carbon fork (which has a much larger wheel opening at the crown than our True Temper Alpha Q X2 fork) and mud guards, noting that while not exactly stylish mud guards are highly practical when faced with anything other than dry roads.
So, while it was possible that the day might eventually deliver dry roads to us, I asked Debbie if she’d be willing to swing a leg over the Erickson for our Saturday ride. While it came with some hesitation, she realized that it was the Erickson or nothing since getting splattered with road slime wasn’t something she was interested in either. I say road slime only because we’re in the midst of our Pine pollen season and our roads were covered with a yellow slurry of pine sludge.
Despite not having the Erickson’s riding positions perfectly dialed in, she did deliver a very nice ride. Unlike our last ride a couple of years back — yes, it had been that long — I had the bike fitted with our old-reliable 36h conventional wheels instead of the Rolfs and the ride was actually quite plush up front, but according to Debbie the back was still not on par with what she enjoys on the Calfee. When I pressed a bit she confessed that bike simply felt “heavy” and didn’t climb as well as the Calfee and, well, the steel frame still didn’t seem to soak up the bumps and road vibration the way the carbon did.
What was actually quite interesting is that when weighed “as ridden” our Calfee with the seat pack, pedals, frame pump water bottle cages, computers, tail light, rear disc brake and fitted with the Rolf’ Vigor Pro Tandem wheelset tipped the scales at 33.4 lbs. Amazingly, the Erickson was only 2 lbs heavier sporting 36h conventional wheels, a frame pump, water bottle cages, pedals, a frame pump and the aforementioned mud guards. Now, to be fair, that seat pack on the Calfee adds at least 1.5 lbs to the bike and the Lithium ION tail light with its battery is also close to a pound whereas the one with AA batteries that we used on the Erickson is only about 1/2 a pound. So, even though the Erickson was very close on weight, the steel frame truly did feel a lot less lively than our composite Calfee.
Regardless, at least for me, I really enjoyed having a chance to get back out on our Erickson. I still enjoy mixing up the riding with the different bikes and the “feel of steel” that the Erickson delivers. It truly felt like I was visiting with an old friend and I’m secretly hoping that we’ll have a few more damp weekends this year for our rides from the house.