Un Orso sotto la pioggia

The Bianchi Orso sports a Tubus Cargo Classic (with adapters to clear the Breezer-style dropouts and thru-axle levers), an Arkel TailRider rack truck with attached Dry-Lite panniers and a Revelate Egress Pocket. Oh, yeah, and five water bottles.

August? Say what? Wasn’t it July just a minute ago?

Here at Ye Olde Dogge Parque the party just keeps rolling along. The Bianchi Orso is nearly ready for its closeup. I need a few details from Bianchi HQ, but they seem a taciturn lot for persons of the Italian persuasion.

Perhaps they’re distracted by the antics of that other ugly American, the one whose coloration is rare among the primates, save for the orangutans, who do not claim him. Happily, Bianchi USA is lending a hand, trying to fill in the gaps. Che figata!

The sharp-eyed among you may note a rain jacket strapped behind the Egress handlebar bag. It has indeed been raining in the ’hood, and not just your occasional refreshing sprinkle, either. Daily full-on frog-stranglers is more like it.

Seems it’s either drought or deluge around here. Some middle way would be greatly appreciated. Why, I actually had to dodge a puddle on my morning run. Che cazzo!

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20 Responses to “Un Orso sotto la pioggia”

  1. Chris Coursey Says:

    That puppy is really going to fuck up your time-trial results.



    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Damn, I knew I forgot something. The aero bars. Thanks for the reminder, brah!

    • Herb from Michigan Says:

      Can’t help but start the “stupid touring experiences” zig-zag from this entry. I’ll start. On my first bike tour in 1973 we brought along Lodge cast iron cook wear. How’s that for shaving grams? None of the bikes had any water bottle holders. Hence no water. Figured out soon how thirsty 4 pogues could get only 10 miles out. So bought igloo 1 gallon thermos and filled it with a high tech energy drink (Pepsi). As the thermos had to ride on its side, of course the Pepsi leaked out all over the tent and sleeping bag, which in turn…..oh god lets not go there. My buddy’s bottom bracket on his Raleigh exploded in the middle of nowhere with only a crescent wrench as a repair kit. Ended up using a hammer and punch chisel borrowed from a farmer to put things right. Aw hell… They were never right with that piece of shit Raleigh. It broke down every five miles.

  2. JD Dallager Says:

    Don’t ya luv it? The bike designers spend long (billable) hours designing a bike to do a specific thing at the least weight/rotating weight, drag, etc. Then the users hang the highest weight, drag, CG, etc. they can get away with on it…….and don’t up the “engine’s (that’s you and me, PO’G)” horsepower or torque to compensate for it.

    Which regretfully gets me started on the weight-weenie philosophy of paying a lot more $$$ for a few grams lower weight when a pound or two less body weight or a half-full water bottle, not a full one, would be weigh (see what I did there?) more healthy and less costly.

    5 water bottles? Looks like it’s e-bike time trial time to me!! πŸ™‚

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Hey, they tell me it can carry five bottles, I’ma put five bottles on it, see if they’re jiving me.

      It looks like more weight than it actually is. Twelve pounds plus another 6.5 pounds of agua fria.

      But if a fella were to ride from, say, Albuquerque to Weirdcliffe, why, there are some long stretches between watering holes. Might need five bottles and a water filter. Water weight is a self-correcting problem.

  3. debby511 Says:

    Well, you know what they (actually, you IIRC) say: it beats being on fire. Up here it dried out a bit and all we had today was a refreshing shower.

    I need an eBike with a sit up and beg riding position. But they’re too expensive for this retired peasant girl. So I’m twisting throttles and burning petrol instead.,

  4. khal spencer Says:

    With all that shit hanging on the bike, give me something with a touring triple or a 50-34 crank and more like an 11-46 cassette.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I was talking gearing with a Bianchi factory sales rep just yesterday, K. He agrees that some massaging of the drivetrain might be a good thing. But there are some “this don’t work with that” hurdles to hop, and not everyone with a credit card is nuts enough to load the thing up like a draft horse and go tilting at windmills.

      The bike has a 50/34 crank, but a 46/30 subcompact would be betterer. An 11-36 cassette would be nice, too. Co-Motion’s off-the-rack offering, the Deschutes, which costs a few hundy more, rolls using a hodgepodge of 11-speed 105, SLX, a 46/30 FSA crank, 11-40 cassette, and Wolf Tooth Tanpan. But it’s more of a purpose-built tourer than an “all-road” thingamajig.

      The gravel subculture is an interesting one. Check out some of the rigs Adventure Cyclist tech editor Nick Legan is riding. You thought I was kidding about the aero bars.

      Meanwhile, here’d the Orso tricked out as a bikepacker. No aero bars. Not yet.

  5. David Watts Says:

    Must be underexposed, or that’s the darkest shade of celeste I’ve ever seen. And the most useful accessory there – the plastic and rubber band wrap over the water bottle under the down tube. πŸ™‚ Love it.

    • larryatcycleitalia Says:

      I think every Bianchi bike should come in any color you want, just like the Ford Model T did…as long as it’s celeste!
      Isn’t the lower bottle on the downtube supposed to be for your camping gas rather than water? I scratch my head at the water issue too, “Gimmee the lightest bike you got!” and then they stick on the largest water bottles I’ve ever seen, like they’re riding off into a desert.
      Italians not taciturn PO’G? There are plenty of ’em in places like Piedmont – in a way like folks in New England…a bit cold at first but once they know you things change quickly. The stereotypical “Italian” in the US is often from the south…and just like the south in the USA folks down there tend to be more overtly friendly than in the north. Then there’s “Iowa Nice”…but we’ll just leave it at that as I have to go back there for a few months soon 😦

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Some folks carry water down there, Lorenzo. We do live in a desert, after all β€” the upper reaches of the Chihuahuan Desert, and we average less than 9 inches of precip’ per annum, though it occasionally seems like we’re getting it all at once.

        But yeah, some folks carry a stove under the down tube, and still others a toolkit. I like the idea of a toolkit, and there are several outfits sell a bottle-shaped pod that will hold a couple tubes, tire irons, CO2 cartridge and minitool.

        Back to Iowa? Man, that’s gonna be an adjustment, hey?

        • larryatcycleitalia Says:

          Seems your bottle of water would get rather yucky down there, that’s why I thought these rough and tough, self-contained tourists put their camping gas bottle down there. I’m with my mother-in-law when it comes to camping – camping is a hotel without room service!
          Yep, Iowa’s gonna be..strange. We left in January but in a few weeks I’ll be busy getting the stuff we’re keeping out of our shack there, selling/donating the rest and generally getting ready to get out for good by sometime in November.. if all goes well.
          I’m looking forward to asking some of the Iowa Trump voters about MAGA…as Princess Dumbass of the North used to say, “How’s that workin’ for ya?” Will they ever figure out they’ve been had by Don the Con?

        • Hurben Says:

          I use old Metamucil containers for my tool carrying. Recycling plus keeps you clean inside & keeps your floaters fluffy.

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

      Good eye, Dave. I also noticed the plastic wrap on that lower water bottle. I prefer to put my pump on that lower bracket, and I use a soft canteen in the pannier for extra water. Or, you could use one of these bottles. I use them all the time, and they eliminate the mouthfuls of grit you can get with regular bottles.


      PS: I am really liking my new Arkel Tailrider rack trunk. Thanks for the tip Patrick.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Pat, Ortlieb sells some bottle cages you can attach to rear panniers without compromising their waterproofing. But I have a couple large insulated bottles I can slip into the panniers and not worry about leakage. Bladders are good, too.

        Incidentally, my man Wayne will be shutting down The Touring Store soon. Profitability isn’t what it once was, it seems, and that’s a damn shame, because Wayne has been an invaluable resource to me as I try to match racks and bags to various weirdo machines in the service of cycling journalism.

        He’s running a going-out-of-business sale as we speak, and if any of you needs some touring gear, now’s the time to snatch it up.

  6. Pat O'Brien Says:

    When I go back and read some of my comments, I am reminded of an old Groucho Marx quote.

    “If you’ve heard this story before, don’t stop me, because I’d like to hear it again.”
    Groucho Marx

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