And just in case I was confused as to which way was up, it was clearly labeled for me:
It turns out I had nothing to worry about. Inside the box, every part was secured with zip-ties and dense foam. Every tube on the bike was covered in bubble wrap. No chance of anything moving or being improperly jostled in transit. NICE! It is rumored that the packing team at Rivendell takes 2 hours to partially disassemble and pack a complete bike for shipping ... and from what I can see here, it's no joke.
See all those zip-ties? Next step was to cut them and free the secured parts. Good thing I had all of my tools prepared ... diagonal cutters ... check.
After the rack was installed, it was time for the trimmings. I'm trying these here pedal thingies from Fyxation, called the Mesa. They're very strong Cro-Mo (a technical term for steel) spindles with heavy-duty sealed bearings and impact-grade nylon platforms. That means I can really bash on them. Dudes like to bash things. Really, it means they're strong and durable ... and the nylon spiky things won't chew up my shoes like metal spikes do.
I also put on some King Cages Iris stainless steel water bottle cages. These are the best ... seriously ... the BEST bottle cages ever. They're really strong, and they really hold a Klean Kanteen tight, with no rattling. That's important, because real dudes use only stainless steel water bottles. And, of course, they're shiny and pretty.
I immediately went out for a quick spin. And by "immediately", I mean that I didn't change into my usual riding shorts, socks, shoes, sweatshirt, and so on ... I left the house in my cut-off sweatpants, Birkenstocks, and sunglasses. Style be damned! And it was ... the most AWESOME 15 minutes on a new bike EVER. Why only 15 minutes? Well, since I'd gotten the bike into a ride-able state, I just couldn't wait any longer for the remaining step to finish it, which would mean not being able to ride it for at least 24 hours ... but I didn't want to get the cork grips all sweaty and grimy, so I kept the ride duration brief. Make sense?
Okay ... the last step in finishing the build was to add some cork-look-alike bar tape to the front curves of the handlebars, where the secondary hand position is ... and then apply some Zinser Bullseye Amber Shellac (2 coats for the grips, 3 coats to the bar tape for a good color match). The shellac will keep it from getting nasty with hand sweat and dirt, while simultaneously making it look ... well, warm and authentically aged ... and ... yes, I'll say it ... pretty. Hey, dudes like pretty things, too. And here's the result:
Notice the little copper bell? Nice sound, a great functional warning device for people walking their dogs or tandem baby strollers occupying the entire 2-lane bike path, and ... pretty. There's also a German-made mirror on that bar ... works well ... but while not ugly, it is not pretty.
Now complete with bags attached to carry camera gear, repair kit, cell phone, keys, and whatever else I may need, the final build looks like this:
I am thrilled and honored to own this bike. The photos don't do justice to its in-person appearance. But, while stunning to look at, the ride is even better. Smooth and stable on any surface ... and amazingly comfortable on rides near and far. More to come ...