I’ve spent the last month making adjustments and adding accessories to the Bianchi Camaleonte Uno with the intention of making it my primary ride to work and around the community. With the addition of fenders yesterday, I’ve now got her where I feel comfortable with moving ahead with that idea. Here’s what she looks like at the end of this adjustment period:
2011 Bianchi Camaleonte Uno
Topeak Super Tourist rack
Deuter Rack Pack Uni Panniers
Planet Bike Hardcore Fenders
Kryptonite NY 1210 Chain & Evolution 4 lock
I got great deals on all of these items from my local bike shop (Truly Spokin’) or Amazon. As always, the guys at my LBS have been fantastic, making suggestions, adjustments, and helping me solve a number of smallish issues.
It’s been more money than I had intended on spending, but even just riding the bike 3 days a week to work will pay off the bike in a year. Using it 5 days a week for work and for all local driving (errands, shopping, etc.) will save even more.
- Replacing the stock tires with a pair of Continental Gatorskin Tires
- Replacing the stock saddle with something a bit more comfortable
- Putting a bike computer on her
She’s a LOT of fun to ride – a very different ride than my 2004 Klein Aura V, but they were made for very different purposes! Looking forward to what this next year of cycling brings!
I’ve been dreaming of getting a new bike to use for commuting to work. Yeah, my Klein Aura V is a sweet ride, but she’s been difficult to work with, being very stiff and inflexible (And no surprise! She’s a racing bike, not a commuter!) . I needed something with a bit more weight, something that could handle having a rack, wider tires, fenders. I needed something that I wouldn’t be afraid of banging up too easily.
Mark, at Truly Spokin’, told me that this would be an excellent bike for what I was looking to do. This is the 2011 Bianchi Camaleonte Uno, a hybrid bike (“hybrid” meaning sporty, but also practical – road bike & commuter bike in one). I tested his faith back in July 2011 by asking if I could test ride this bike for 3 days, and with only raised eyebrows and a curious look, he said, “Sure. Come get it Friday, bring it back to me Monday.” It was a great 3-day test ride! Rainy, windy, sunny, warm, calm – the whole shebang. I took that thing out and rode it all over and in all weather conditions because I wanted to make sure.
I test rode 4 other bikes as well (among them, Giant & Torker) but none of them quite had the ride that the Bianchi did.
(“Camaleonte” is Italian for Chameleon. I admit to having more than just a passing love of the chameleon on the top tube. It makes the bike just a little bit more fun, a bit more out there.)
After paying a little bit here, a little bit there, since July for the bike, I was finally able to pick up this sweet thing on 11/11/11. Obviously, I’m quite excited about giving her a run on the commute this coming week!
Things I like about the bike:
- It’s slick looking. Sexy. Sleek. Truth is, though, most of Bianchi’s bikes are slick.
- It rides well. It’s not like the Klein, but it’s not meant to be! It’s got more weight to it and the steering is stiffer (a plus).
- It’s got a shorter top tube. It’s going to take some getting used to, but it’s not as much of a stretch from the seat to the handlebars. It’s more of an upright position than I’m familiar with on my previous bikes.
- The flat handlebars. I like ‘em. The shifters & the brakes are easy to access and quick to respond. I’ve been riding on dropbars for the past year, so my arms are a bit stiff from the different position, but it’ll be a good change.
- An adjustable stem. The handlebar stem is adjustable so that it can drop or rise a pretty significant amount. I’m going to play with this a bit, but it was definitely a selling point!
- 32mm tires. I started off with 25′s, then went to 28′s on the Klein. These fatter tires make a big difference when it comes to dealing with carpal tunnel in the wrists.
- Mini-V brakes. When I hit the brakes, this bike stops, even when it’s wet. I’m impressed.
- Racks & Fenders! It can handle a rack on the rear & front, plus there’s plenty of space for fenders for the wet Pensacola commuting days. I’m having a rack installed this week – I’m getting too old to carry a backpack full of books, a laptop, and all the other stuff I need to teach!
- Good handling in various conditions. With the Klein, I’m afraid to do some things (riding in the rain, banking turns hard, going over particularly rough patches / railroad tracks, etc. at higher speeds) but with the Bianchi, I’m a lot more confident of its ability to handle these conditions.
- It’s just a fun ride. Seriously.
Will I eventually go car-free? I dunno. I’ve been working towards a reduced-car existence for the past year (and with over 2600 miles on the Klein since November 2010, I’d say I’ve gotten a decent start). This bike will help me increase my bike commuter miles, and reduce my carbon footprint, not to mention continue a healthier lifestyle and influence others in myriad ways. I’m excited!
Ask me questions, or stay tuned for more on this bike!
It’s been raining the last 4 days off and on. I’ve been doing a test ride of a 2011 Bianchi Camaleonte Uno this weekend and wanted to get it out as much as possible. This morning, sitting dejectedly in the living room watching the continuing rain, I thought, “I can’t go out on the bike and ride! It’s raining! I’ll get wet! The bike’ll get wet! I’ll look silly! Dang!”
At some point, I started thinking, “Hey, dumbass! When you were a kid, did the rain stop you from wanting to go outside & play? What’s wrong with you? Are you gonna melt? Is the bike gonna break? Don’t you remember the fun of riding your bike through the biggest puddles? Good lord, what’s happened to you?!?”
That was about as much fun as I’ve had riding a bike in a long, long time.
I’m reminded that there’s nothing wrong with childlike thinking.
There’s nothing wrong with getting wet.
There’s nothing wrong with getting dirty.
There’s nothing wrong with doing things with abandon.
I don’t need to worry about what others think.
I don’t have to color inside the lines.
This may seem like a stretch for a guy who already pushes the envelope as much as possible, but even I get into a rut. An hour out on the bike in the rain, careening through puddles, feeling the water against my face, not worrying about my clothes, the bike, my hair, what others might be thinking… that was a refreshing reminder.