31 August 2014



It was the end of April when I last saw my sizeable stable of bicycles and bicycle-related items, wrapped in brown paper as they were and packed inside a giant wooden crate. I adapted to riding whatever other bicycles found their way into my life after that point, but in the back of my mind I was missing my Soma Stanyan. This was the first bicycle I built component-by-component back in 2010 after the Mrs. and I returned from our extended vacation in sunny Iraq. I had no idea what I was doing, but I managed to put together a fully working bicycle, and after riding it for hundreds of miles, must not have missed any major steps in said assembly. [Ed. note: Yesterday, courtesy of a friend, I learned that the wheel set is, in fact, for a 29” MTB and not a 700c road bike. Who knew!]

Fast-forward to August and we receive notification that all of our stuff is here, minus two crates that can’t quite be accounted for.  Luckily, of the crates that did arrive, one of them contained our bikes.

IMG_0931(Mannequin, for scale.)

So the once empty garage was now filled with numerous cardboard boxes and the joyful silence of stationary wheels. I immediately took to the task of inspecting everything for transit-induced damaged, and found only some scuff marks on one of the Mrs. bike’s top tubes. After the reattaching the handlebars and pedals, airing up the tires, and one or two adjustments to get the brakes just right, I took the Soma out for a quick re-acquaintance ride.


The Soma felt quick, light, and smooth, attributes that I didn’t necessarily notice when I rode it more frequently. I did however, start to feel back pain while in the drops, and knew it was because of the stem length stretching my riding position beyond what was comfortable.


The current stem was a titanium Specialized I had found on eBay, and aside from being shiny, I thought it might dampen road vibrations, too—but, it turned out that was not the case.  So, I decided to reinstall the Velo Orange stem I originally had on the bike, which was a bit shorter, had a much less aggressive angle and, due to my oversight at the time, required shims to mate to the handlebars.



I’ll probably reinstall the Wald rear basket again, and use the Soma for my everyday bike, running errands and bike camping alike, though it seems like the latter is always on my to-do list but never gets crossed off. Oh, right, that’s because of this guy:

IMG_20140415_155939 (2)

Well, his dog trailer is my next project.

- Bicyclist Abroad

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