Maybe it’s my encroaching years but I continue to look at randonneuse as the ultimate bicycle. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to ride long distances on my bicycle with friends and by myself, and there truly is no finer pleasure in the world for the enthusiast. The sense of self sufficiency, the silence (bar the whir of pawls against the ratchet and rubber against the road) and the glorious knowledge that you’re participating in one of the timeless pursuits of man … well, that’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it?
Of course, you don’t really need a handmade steel frame with custom racks and bespoke luggage to enjoy the fresh air and fitness of bicycle touring, but it does help. One of the specialists in this field is Mitch Pryor of MAP Bicycles, a native of Portland, Oregon. Mitch is a master of the classic genre–mixte, randos, touring and commuter bikes. This particular randonneur is a 700c, but Mitch has also kept up with the fascination with the 650b diameter wheel, producing a series of rides in that size. The finishing touches, like the aforementioned custom luggage racks are icing on the cake for passionate bicycle tourists, but de rigeur for Mitch’s clients. All the racks are created in house, specific to each build. Mitch tops this build off with some of the finest paint I’ve seen, a Chris King headset, Brooks saddle, cork grips… essentially, the little things that ensure a carefree multi-mile tour.