Saturday, August 01, 2009

The iCyclist Review

VO Retro Water Bottle Cage & Cane Creek Brake Hoods from Velo Orange

Long ago, sometime in the early to mid-1960s, I fitted my road bike with a water bottle cage, attaching it to my handlebars.

Back then, many road bikes didn't come standard with braze-on bosses; serious riders often put their water bottles in their back jersey pockets, or they put them in cages attached their own handlbars.

My 1962 Follis (made in Lyon, France) did not come with the bosses, and I wouldn't own a bike jersey for perhaps another dozen years. I purchased a water bottle, a cage and a clamp, which may have come standard issue with the cage, but it's difficult to recall after the passage of so many years.

In the 1960s, I lived about 1,300 above sea level in the Santa Monica Mountains, which bisect the flatlands of Los Angeles.

I still have my Follis, most of it frame, forks, brakes, bars, etc., dating from 1962. The original water bottle cage disappeared into the ever-thickening mists of time, so I ordered up a new one from Velo Orange, the Retro. Because they have such fine cycling accessories, and because some of them so well match my old bike, I'm a fan of Velo Orange, which makes "accessories for randonneurs and cyclo-tourists."

I'm not sure I fit into either of those catagories; when I'm on my Follis, I like riding my it around my town, either up into the hills or out toward the ocean, usually alone, but sometimes with friends or even on occasional fast-paced club rides. I do know I like the Retro cage.

Several posts back I reviewed the excellent, VO Moderniste cage, which is mounted to the down tube on my fixed gear bike. That cage primarily exhibits the influence of the Streamline Moderne movement, which was an outgrowth of the Art Deco movement of the Machine Age. The Retro cage would appear to incorporate the same stylistic influences. In particular, the Retro, like the Moderniste, is devoid of any unnecessary ornamentation. Form follows function, and it is that attribute which makes this cage so appealing. In addition to the cage, I purchased a nice looking mount, also from Velo-Orange, which allows the cage to attach to the handlebars.

The Retro cage is so retro, it would go as well with many of today's current bikes as it does with more traditional looking ones, whether on the handlebars, the down tube or the seat tube. Certainly its use gives me a pleasurable sense of nostaligia, for that time when my first road bike, with its low gears, opened up the wider world not just around me, but below me, because I could venture down out of the Santa Monica Mountains and back up again, and hydrate myself along the way.

Cane Creek Brake Hoods: According to Velo-Orange, these hoods are designed for non-aero Dia-Compe brake levers. They work perfectly with the ancient Beborex brakes on my Follis.

In truth, I don't believe my Follis came equipped with brake hoods. Again, it's difficult to remember that far back. These new ones certainly add a touch of class to the bike, and by chance the hoods nicely match my honey-colored Brooks saddle that currently graces the Follis. In addition, and unlike the old Weinmann hoods that gave up the ghost after many years, these Cane Creek hoods are well textured for a good grip, on both the top and bottom.

Photo Tech: Cages and hood photographed against the shaded front door of my home, with a DSLR and an old, 55mm f/2.8 lens macro lens.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I lived in Santa Monica, and in my days, LA Wheelmen met at Western and Wilshire at a movie theater.

Still ride my Follis, 1957, I believe. Simplex 543, and Beborex brakes.


David Miller, Bellingham, WA