Earlier this month I showed you my own new MIN.D
. and explained that it was almost the longest taking build ever. The only reason it didn't make it into the Guinness Book of World Records is that I also was trying to put together a bike for my wife Janet around the same time and that took even longer.
Lately, especially after a bad crash and some broken bones, she didn't feel too comfortable on the bike anymore. Given that even pure road riding can be a bit tricky around Amsterdam with brick roads, tram rails and crazy traffic, this is understandable. So I started thinking about how a bike can increase confidence and motivate to go riding again. I decided to build a WI.DE. for road plus riding, with bigger tires that take away any worries for bad pavement and also help you explore the unpaved treasures in the Netherlands. But given that she's small and light, weight was also a consideration.
Originally I had in mind to put road wheels with 35mm road tires on the bike. That to me is a great compromise for road plus riding, but then things got messed up a bit with deliveries. Andy mentioned he still had a set of Rene Herse Snoqualmie Pass tires kicking around. At 44mm nominal width, they are certainly road plus plus plus, but I decided to give them a try. I have to say it was a good decision. They are light, they are fast, they give the rider a ton of confidence and of course they let you blast through everything without a worry.
But back to step 1, which was the frame. There is nothing nicer than starting a new bike project with a blank slate, an RTP frame that you can do with whatever you want. I've always liked the special designs Cento Canesio has done for us, for example Andy's personal UPPER:
Plus I figured that with how Cento makes the custom design really personal, it would be a great motivator to go out and ride. I asked Cento if he would do something for Janet and luckily he said yes. He wanted to do something in color this time, so with Janet's favorite color (blue) he got to work. As usual, he also asked for a list of interests from Janet so that half the icons hidden in the artwork are his and half are related to her background. The original idea was to do silver drawings on a blue background but in the end Cento asked if he could do something different as he'd been working with some blue on blue designs. It felt strange to tell an artist what to do, so I said "do what you want" and that was that.
Just as a side story, I sometimes get emails from people wanting to do their own Cento and they are afraid of whether it will stick or not. I think the most important part is to get the base and clear coat right. No wait, that's the second-most important thing. The most important is of course that you know how to make it look nice. The drawings may seem quite simple, but to make it all look good together on a frame and to draw it with a steady hand is really, really tough. So on the one hand, it can be nice to truly make a frame your own by doing it yourself, but on the other hand you may get much more than you could have hoped for by working together with Cento. Otherwise we wouldn't have ended up with a funky dog on the frame!
Tony Spray did a beautiful blue base coat, Cento did the artwork and then it was back to Tony for the clear coat. And then it was waiting, waiting, waiting for the components. Anyway, that will be for the next post, but first the photos to showcase the painting, which definitely scores cento per cento (100%) for me. There are some little jokes included, let's see if you can spot them: