Mixtes. The sleek lines of a step-through bike with twin tubes that start at the headset and end at the rear hub are, in my opinion, the sexiest bike on the street. I happen to own a few mixtes, and am lucky enough to own a mixte from a variety of companies and builders. For 2017, I thought that I would try to incorporate my mixte collection into my coffeeneuring challenge. Seven rides, Seven different coffee stops, Seven Mixtes. October 21: 6.5 miles RT. Coffee at Tupelo’s in East Sacramento. Mark and I rode over to Tupelo’s on Saturday AM for a bit of fresh air and a coffee. I rode my Rex mixte. Steve Rex is a fantastic builder here in Sacramento, best known for rando bikes, gravel bikes and touring rigs. He’s not a lug guy, but as fillet brazer’s go – Steve’s the best. I have one of his early mixtes, built for a woman who was going to tour on it with her husband. It’s a variant on the traditional mixte frame; instead of the twin tubes running straight from the headset to the rear fork ends, it sports a single full-sized top tube and a middle set of seat stays that provide extra strength to the frame. I found this beauty at a local consignment bike shop, and I took it over to Steve who remembered making it in the early 90’s and said that it was strong enough to ride distance. Since then, it’s been my constant townie and has completed a couple of 100k populaire distances. I love this bike. October 28: 4.5 miles RT. Coffee at Olympia Coffee Roasting Company Our buddy and bicycle builder, Corey Thompson was having an open house and gathering up in Olympia, WA. Mark and I flew up for the weekend’s festivities which began with a coffeeneuring excursion to their favorite spot: The Olympia Coffee Roasting Company. As the weekend was all about cool bikes, I brought up my SnS coupled Yipsan Mixte. This bike has it all: 650b, the sexiest couplers and it’s DI2. After my car v. me crash a few years ago, Renold Yipsan (NAHBS winner!), contacted me and asked if he could make me a replacement bike. My bike was the only one that didn’t get creamed in our collision, and I didn’t need a replacement bike, but I told Renold that I’d love a travel mixte. He went full bore and it rocks! November 1: 7 miles RT. Coffee outside at night on the American River Bike Trail I live right off of this Sacramento gem. It’s a paved trail along the American River that extends some 30 miles from downtown Sac to Folsom (yes the same Folsom Prison of Johnny Cash fame). We loaded up our bikes and threw on some warm gear and rode up the path at about 8:00 at night. I took my titanium Black Sheep swoopy mixte. This rig is something else. It could be a mountain bike, a gravel bike, and while not a “true” mixte, it still fits the bill. It comes apart in a different fashion than the Yipsan, but it can travel in a small suitcase like any SnS coupled bike. And it rides like a dream. We rode upstream, made and drank coffee, took pictures under a full moon, then rode home. November 7: 4.5 miles RT to Temple Coffee on Fair Oaks. Temple coffee is a local chain in Sacramento, and they are the hip place to grab a brew. Mark n I rode over before dinner and my Paramount mixte was the rig of choice for the outing. I had just put Rivet’s latest saddle — the Sonora – on this lovely bike and I wanted to get a first impression (not bad for a non-slotted saddle!). This Paramount was built by one of the frame builders in Waterford, WI, home to Schwinn and Waterford bicycles. He built it for his girlfriend, who didn’t like it and never rode it. They split up not long after he gave it to her and it sat in her basement for 20+ years. They remained friends and he sold it for her. Her loss, my treasure! He told us that it was cool by the Schwinn’s to have builder’s work on their own projects after regular work hours, hence this bike wasn’t a “real” Paramount. I bought it with less than 200 miles on it. Not a scratch and the cleanest shifting Dura-Ace gruppo. Even the original tires were on it and still are. The only thing new is the Sonora. I love the green and purple bi-color paint job. And the cappuccino was good too. November 8: 7 miles RT to Chocolate Fish Roasters on Folsom. A buddy was in town who used to live in Sac and now lives in Bogota, Columbia (I know, doesn’t that sound awesome? He loves it), and we met at Chocolate Fish to catch-up, exchange $$ for a saddle (A Rivet Loveland for his new mixte!!), and to discuss bicycle advocacy. I brought “#1” down from my bedroom (yes maybe this is TMI, but it lives in my bedroom), pumped up the tires and set off to meet “the Happy Gringo”. I arrived at Chocolate Fish before Chris and ordered up. The folks at Chocolate Fish had not yet heard of coffeeneuring, so I explained the idea and encouraged them to give it a shot next year. They were enthusiastic and my latte was lovely. But, back to “#1”. I’m talking about the first bicycle built by Peter Weigle under his own name after returning to the US after his time at Witcombs in the UK. That #1. Built for a woman who toured on it with her husband who owned #2 (of course!). It was a barn find a few years back and the pair had found their way back into Peter’s hands. I happened to be at his place for FFD when the bikes showed up and immediately measured it on the sly. I asked him to please let me have first dibs on it when he was ready to sell. He did a fast and gorgeous restoration and I took possession of it soon after. On the way home from Chocolate Fish, I rode by this very cool car that I knew nothing about. Turns out it’s pretty rare, like my #1. November 12: 4 miles RT to Starbuck’s on Howe. A crisp Sunday AM and I desperately needed a haircut and a coffee. Mark and I rode the long way over to Starbucks where I sipped my standard Triple Grande Latte. While parking our bikes near the front window to keep an eye on them, an older gentleman struck up a conversation with us about cycling. Turns out he had toured across the country and had ridden across Canada in his youth. He loved riding bikes and had never seen a bicycle like mine. I wasn’t surprised that he hadn’t because not many Pinarello mixte’s were made. Full Campy Italian stallion. This hot rod was twitchy at first, but I got the hang of her short wheelbase and we flew around town getting errands completed, haircut included. November 19: 9.5 miles to Old Soul Coffee on Broadway, then onto birthday celebrations at Oak Park Brewing. To be honest, Mark and I hurried through the coffeeneuring part of this to get to the brew-neuring part. A good friend and riding partner was having a birthday and the plan was to drink beer, but I dislike dark brews of the hops kind, so we stopped first for a cuppa at Old Soul next door. I slammed an espresso, took some pics and headed over to the Bier Garden. I jumped on my Raleigh Super Course mixte for this ride. I owned a Super Course when I was a kid – it was my first real bike and I rode it all over Los Angeles – so when I stumbled upon the Super Course mixte, I had to have one. And in a lovely dark red to boot. This baby was found at the same shop where I bought the Rex, and it had a light restoration with Velo Orange parts. I rode this bike last year for the entire Coffeeneuring challenge and since this year I was riding without a huge halo around my leg, I thought I’d finish the challenge with the same bike that successfully got me through last year’s adventure. Super Courses weren’t the top of the Raleigh line, but they were fine bikes in their day. Excellent daily riders I suppose. The mixte doesn’t ride like the Paramount or #1, but it gets me around town and I love the color and the cream panels against the red. I broke a spoke on the way over to Old Soul (my light got caught in the wheel), but it wasn’t an issue, I just need to remember to get it replaced. I think I’ll add a front rack and a basket to dress it up a bit – she deserves a bit more TLC, and I need to lay off the espressos.
Wow. SEVEN mixtes – and they are all so different from each other! Do you have a favorite design or favorite “ride”?
I love my mom’s 1972 Peugeot UO-18 mixte town bike, which she bought on my recommendation and rode about 30 miles before giving it to me when she turned 85 or so… It is now equipped with front and rear racks, 700C wheels (Phil Wood hubs 3X with Mavic Open Pro rims), “priest” bars, an older Campagnolo NR road crank (one ring, one chain guard), and an old crashed, and bent-frame Brooks Pro saddle. Only the stock seat post bolt remains from BITD… It is a workhorse and still fun to ride “unloaded.”