What's the difference between a cross bike and an adventure bike? They seem awfully similar: even from pretty close up they both appear to be typical racing bikes with some extra room for bigger tires, but the difference can be summed up simply. A cross bike is designed to be ridden for up to one hour. An adventure bike is meant to be ridden all day. And nothing rides all day like a Jamis Renegade.
I thought I might put this idea to the test when my family decided to get away to the coast for the weekend. Bandon, Oregon is 186 miles (300km), or a bit over a three hour drive from our home in Ashland, which means if you leave after the kids get out of school you can usually sneak in a stroll on the beach before dinner. My idea was to sneak in a bit more than that, and my wife kindly agreed to do the whole drive so I could get a head start - on my bike.
Three eggs, two slices of toast, and one cup of coffee got me started before sunrise. I picked a route that kept me on the back roads, which might have been a little bumpier, and frequently had no more than a hint of shoulder, but they were largely car-free. Oregon's Tiller-Trail Highway was a delight as I rode accompanied mostly by bird song (except in the clearcuts), eventually rolling into Canyonville well before noon, where I refueled with a buffalo burger from Ken's Sidewalk Cafe.
On the busier roads, from old Highway 99 to route 42, I was grateful for the bike's ability to handle the rough stuff on the far right road shoulder, where I could stay well clear of log trucks, RVs, boat trailers, and the like. A steady headwind resisted my efforts to speed along to the ocean at quite the pace I would have liked, but by Myrtle Point I was able to peel off onto the idyllic Lampa lane for a final hour or so of spinning through a Vermont-like valley of farms and greenery, interrupted only by an unexpected, and rather unwelcome, 13% gradient hill thrown at me after about 175 miles in the saddle. Thankfully the Renegade carries a few spare low gears for just such an event.
As it turned out, my family and I arrived pretty much simultaneously at our destination, the Windermere Inn. After nearly fourteen hours on the road, and just under twelve on the bike, I could confidently state that here was a bike designed and built in every way to be so comfortable, so efficient, and so fun to ride that it simply begs to be ridden all day long.
The details: The bike is a stock Jamis Renegade Expert, but I did trim the weight to just over twenty pounds (with pedals and bottle cages - no cheating) by fitting it with a set of Rolf Prima (handmade in Oregon!) Hyalite alloy wheels, with Panaracer Gravel King 700x38 tires. It has five - count 'em - sets of water bottle bosses, but I used only three, carrying as much as 72 oz. of water at a time. The drivetrain is Shimano 105, with a compact 50/34 up front with an 11-speed 11-32 cassette. Hydraulic road disc brakes were dreamy on the rare occasions when I used them. Oh, and of course I wrapped the handlebars with Arundel's Gecko Grip bar tape, and replaced the stock saddle, however nice, with an Ergon SRX3 Pro because twelve hours in the saddle is still, you know, twelve hours in the saddle.