A year and a day ago, on January 8, 2021, Sophie the Fairdale Weekender Archer was shockingly stolen. Sad times for sure. Read that sob story here… (and weep.) After a few months of test cycling, some adjustments with seats and stems and such, hemming and hawing, and typical Libran weighing of the pros and cons, I have a new (to me) bicycle, a Fuji Finest. I’m calling her Sommar (some MAHR), which is Swedish for “summer’. That’s because she’s a lightweight cro-moly steel vintage racing bike with skinny tires that just feels like you must go riding on a warm day, wind in your face, sun on your skin… Toes in the sand, drink in your hand. All you need… is the woman,” as Van Halen sang. But it’s a bike.
Born the first year the Fuji Finest came out in 1997, Sommar is 25.5 years old, so she’s technically a vintage bicycle. That’s how I decided to go back in the naming scheme to Som. It began with Sonnie (GT Arette), then Sookie (Fuji Silhouette), and finally Sophie (Fairdale Weekender Archer). Sommar was generously loaned to me when Sonnie was stolen for a few days, then I recovered her. There’s no room in the former owner’s garage, who just wants to see her ridden.
Despite not being a perfect fit, with skinny tires that would be easy to crash, I’ve grown to appreciate her grace, speed, nimbleness and supple handling. Speaking of models, she’s not unlike Japanese-Swedish superstar Sofia Wakabayashi. Here she is in Bali, with Sommar in the middle, and Sofia again with graffiti that says “We ride as one.” I couldn’t find a photo of her on a bicycle, so it will have to do.
I’ve probably put about 500 miles on her and man, is she quick! My usual speed on much heavier Sonnie is around 10 mph. I took Sommar on Southern Walnut Creek Trail and went 15 mph. Here are some more photos.
It’s quite an adjustment to ride a drop-bar road bike. I almost never use the drops; it’s all up on what’s called the hoods. I modified her with a stem that prevents me from having to lean over too much. But I still have to bend more than I’m used to. And the seat that came with her was simply painful and caused a lot of problems. There has been some debate that she’s too tall for me, but that’s a bit subjective. In the end, I love riding her and that’s what matters.
I would like to thank the very nice person who donated the bike. I don’t know him well, but he’s obviously a good guy. He saw my need, and stepped up to share a bike he didn’t ride very much lately. (He’s been doing more mountain biking, but also it was due to the skinny wheels). Big thanks and kudos, and good karma to you, dude! Check out Orion’s profile on on Strava.
Let’s see what adventures we have. And hey, Sofia, when you’re in Austin, call me up. We’ll go for a bike ride.
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