Pass Hunting is a non-competitive pursuit, consisting of riding a bicycle up and over a mountain pass and keeping track of the passes you’ve conquered. Take a picture at the top, ride down, find another pass, repeat. Of course, there is French governing body, with lots of rules.
I’m not into lots of rules, but I am into classic looking bikes with a sporty demeanor, which describes this new bike from Velo Orange pretty well. A butted steel frame is mostly TIG-welded, but with socket style drop outs, a fancy seatstay arraignment, decorative headtube reinforcing rings, and a sweet twin plate crown on the fork. The frame and fork are priced at $520, which seems very reasonable for the level of detail and decoration. The paint is pretty stellar too.
We have a complete bike built up with almost entirely Velo Orange parts, except for the Shimano derailleur and shifters. Everything is nicely polished and shiny, it hurt me to take off the pedals (with leather straps and chrome toe clips), but my winter riding boots are clipless.
So far, the Pass Hunter has been a blast. It blends speed and utility well, making for a swift commuter or mixed surface weekend mount. It was the perfect companion for a 60-mile, mid-20s temperature Christmas day ride to my parents place. I loaded it up with some clothes and two growlers of beer, got lost in a West Virginia landfill, and made it in time for a late lunch.
Expect a full report in an upcoming issue of Bicycle Times.