I have been commuting to work on my bike on and off for almost twenty years. I started when I worked for IBM in Manassas, VA and commuted from Vienna, VA. It was about twelve miles and I had a great little Cannondale touring bike. I once rode home on Braddock Road from Centreville in a driving rainstorm like NoVa gets. Water was over the bottom bracket and I could barely see. It was probably my most interesting commute home ever. Lucky I lived… Since then, I have commuted from 2–10 miles in one direction. I have commuted on a Bike Friday, a Rivendell Quickbeam, a Rivendell Rambouillet, a Surly Long Haul Trucker, and now, a Rivendell Atlantis.
As you can tell, I have a thing for Rivendell bicycles. When you are short, most bike companies make short-sighted compromises to get ‘standard’ equipment like 700c tires on every size bike. RivBike does not follow this. I am short — 5’6" with short legs — I started with the Rambouillet, followed with the Quickbeam. The Rambouillet was a great go-fast bike and a good supported touring bike. The Quickbeam was great when I had a short commute and I toured across North Carolina in it with BikeNC. But neither was set up for commuting or supported touring per se. So I sold the Rambouillet and Quickbeam to get a more practical bike. The LHT was a fine bike and I made the requisite modifications to it. I added fenders and fat tires, a rear rack and a front rack. Bags all around were added. It was a nice bike but it was unloved. It was me not the bike but it still had to go.
When I turned 50, I still wanted a bike that could serve the same purpose as the Surly; a commuter with the ability to support touring either with a group or self-supported. The bike should also support a moderately fast 13–15mph ‘fast’ ride or century type rides. I bought a 52cm Rivendell Atlantis.
Google Rivendell Group ideas…
I am an avid reader of the (Rivendell Google Group)[https://groups.google.com/forum/m/?fromgroups#!forum/rbw-owners-bunch]. I have gotten better advice from the folks on that group than any bike group that I have ever been a member. There were several discussions on the group about making your bike serve several purposes easily with (DaVinci Tandems Cable Splitters)[http://www.davincitandems.com/comp.html#split]. The idea being that you can have several different cockpits and have ‘different’ bikes depending on the type of trip that you are doing.
I have a 52cm Atlantis in the standard color. My commuter set up consists of Albatross handlebars, Paul brake handles, and the newest additions are a (Pass and Stow front rack)[http://www.passstow.com/] and a (Freight Baggage)[http://freightbaggage.org/] front bag that fits the rack. This is a tremendous combination. It looks great.
Riding this is amazing. The riding position is very upright so you see traffic well (and are seen also). This position is very comfortable for medium distances; I have ridden upwards of 60 miles with the Albatross handlebars without any numbness. You have plenty of hand positions with these bars beyond the ‘ends.’ I have a Garmin 300 and a light on the bars with still plenty of space for more crap if necessary.
The Pass and Stow rack is very sturdy and was very straightforward to install. Dealing with Matt @ Pass and Stow was a pleasure and I would heartily recommend this rack to anyone who is looking for a big front rack. The Freight bag is very well assembled, also sturdy, and has lots of pockets to store stuff. The bag will get a separate review at a later date.