The Swift Industries Rando Lexicon
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW TO INSTALL A TRADITIONAL RANDONNEUR RACK AND BAG
The Randonneur Rack Set-Up:
A Randonneur Rack and Decaleur are required to mount the Peregrine and Merlin Randonneur Bags to the front of your bicycle.
The rack typically comes in two styles to mount to different forks. One style attaches to the Cantilever Brake bosses on a fork, and the second rack style typically uses rubberized P-Clamps to attach the stays of the rack to the bicycle fork where eyelets are missing.
The Decaleur is a male/female metal bracket that stabilizes the bag on the bicycle. The male part is permanently affixed to your Peregrine and Merlin Randonneur Bags and the receiving end stays on your bicycle. You can choose between decaleur designs which stack into the headset spacers right above your headtube tube, or bolt to your stem faceplate on more modern componentry. Additionally, Velo Orange has designed an integrated Rack and Decaleur system that does not require the female end of decaleur to be installed on the bicycle: instead the receiving end of the decaleur is a part of their rack.
Choosing the right Peregrine and Merlin Randonneur Bag height:
Get ready to do a little homework. It’s simple stuff but requires attention and accurate measurements. Each bicycle design has different geometry (the angles and lengths of the frame and fork of a bicycle). As angles change so do the distances between mounting points for a randonneur bag set-up. This is why we at Swift Industries are challenged to tell you which size bag to use on a bicycle we’ve never laid eyes on.
Don’t fret, we’ll walk you through the principles of selecting the right Rando bag and you’ll be in business in no time.
Ideally, the rack is installed on the bicycle before you go to choose your Peregrine and Merlin Randonneur Bag size. You will be looking at two different measurements to decide which bag is right: the height of your decaleur relative to the platform of the rack, and the height of your handlebars relative to the platform of the rack.
First: Measure the space between your rack and the receiving end of the decaleur to determine which Peregrine or Merlin Randonneur Bags is compatible with your bicycle. Check which bag’s spacing corresponds the top of receiving end of the decaleur. This will determine which sizes are compatible with your bicycle.
Second: The height of the bag should be as flush with your handlebars as possible without interfering with your hand placement on the flats of the bars.
Now that you’ve narrowed down which bag works with your declaeur placement, you can select the height that suits your handlebar position the best.
The nuances of riding with weight in the front of the bicycle: How steady a bicycle will handle with front weight goes back to the geometry of a bicycle. Some frame and fork sets are explicitly designed to carry front loads, and others will compromise the stability of your ride. We can’t really advise according to each bicycle (there are too many nuanced measurements that influence this issue), but you should be aware that some bicycles will handle better than others with weight up front.
Install both your randonneur rack and the female/receiving end of your decaleur on your bicycle. Put the male side of the decaleur into its receiving end and then place the Rando Bag on the rack and mark precisely where the holes of the male end of the delaceur intercept your bag. This is where the male side will be bolted to your Peregrine and Merlin Randonneur Bags.
You will need to punch holes in your Rando Bag to install your decaleur. For best results, we recommend using a soldering iron. Feed your hardware through the body of the bag, the coroplast insert, and the interior cloth liner.
What is Randonneuring?
Randonneuring is a veign of organized long-distance cycling that was popularized in Europe at the turn of the 20th Century and is experiencing a strong contemporary resurgence as we speak.
Riders aim to complete a course within a specified time and must pass through checkpoints, or Controls, along the route. Typically the rides, called Brevets or a Randonee, begins at 200k and the longest routes are 1400k.
A Randonneur must adhere to a set of rules in order to receive merits for completing a route. Fundamentally, randonneuring is non-competitive, though riders challenge themselves and their compatriots to ride further faster with ambitious goals. To find out more check out Randonneurs USA (RUSA), or Seattle’s publication Bicycle Quarterly.
A traditional front bag design facilitates endurance riding by making one’s belongings accessible while on the move. Tools and a Brevet card, food, and warm layers should all be right in arm’s reach so that stops are short if even necessary.