Robert Ewing - Member Profile - CycleBlaze

Member Profile

Robert Ewing


Title Ratings
Bar Harbor to Boston 205
Station of the Confluence 5
Low Bridge 155
Following Zebedee's Son 49
The Subduction of Seaweed John 38
Tearing Down the Coast 147


The bicycle has been my principle means of transportation since elementary school. My first tour was in 1963 at the age of 16 and is documented in “Taring Down the Coast” on this website.

Bikes of the past:
1-Western Flyer, red and white steel frame, 16 or maybe 14 inch steel rims(?) with semi-pneumatic tires - no tube & no air required, single speed - fixed gear, no brakes. I remember with clarity and excitement the day the training wheels came off and I rode on two wheels. (I somehow survived and even thrived during this my first bicycle adventure.)
2-Columbia Cruiser, yellow with white and red accents, 24 inch balloon tires with steel rims, single speed with a coaster brake. (Longest ride was to a to my nearest school friend’s home some four miles away accompanied by my dog at the age of 10.)
-3JC Higgins (Sears Roebuck) English Racer, burgundy, 3-speed Sturmey Archer IGH, caliper (hand) brakes on 27 inch steel rims. (It was the envy of my older brothers for both speed and looks.)
4-Schwinn Continental, gold, 10-speed (2x5) Simplex derailleurs, downtube rear D lever & seat tube rod end front D, drop bars, 27 inch clincher steel rims, quick release axle skewers. Fondly remembered as a “water pipe special”.  (From my country home the beach, friends and relatives were in reach. Started a bike club in the 8th grade. We would ride 40 miles RT to mingle with real beatniks at smoky coffeehouses. Speed records were set.)
5-Schwinn Paramount, antique gold, Campagnolo Record drivetrain, Reynolds 531 chrome/moly silver soldered lugged alloy frame, 700mm aluminum tubular rims and “sew-up” tires.  Modified for my first long distant tour (1963) with 13/25 x 52-48 “wide range” gearing and “extra wide” 25mm sew-up tires to handle our 18lb touring loads in the mountains. (On a lark a highschool friend and I rode from British Columbia to Baja California. The Paramount was stolen while attending the University of Hawai’i in the 1960s.)
6-Pugot U-8, white, “10-speed”, carbon steel frame, Simplex drive train, 700mm steel clincher rims (It was a hope and a prayer to stop or even slow down in the rain.). Liked it well enough that I bought an identical model for my then girlfriend, now wife of 48 years. We toured the Hawaiian island of Maui together and nearly five decades later we both still ride bikes as our principle means of transportation.
7-Fuji Finest, pure white, 10-speed Suntour drivetrain w/ratchet downtube shifters, chrome/moly silver soldered lugged frame, 700mm tubular aluminum wheels. In its day it was one of the premier Japanese racing bikes.  I customize the gearing for criterium racing with 13-18 rear and 48/46 front.
8-Specialized Stump Jumper MTB, beige and dark red, 21-speed Shimano drivetrain with BioPace chainrings, TIG welded chrome/moly frame, hardtail and fixed fork, 26 inch aluminum clincher wheels with knobby dirt tires, cantilever brakes.
9-Trek 800 MTB, black with silver trim, 24-speed Shimano drivetrain. TIG welded aluminum frame, hardtail and pneumatic suspension fork, 26 inch wheels with linear brakes.
10-Downtube i8 20 inch folder, Silver, claimed 6061 aluminum frame, no name wheels (spokes pulled through the rear rim). Came with a Sturmey Archer 8-speed internal hub. Up graded with a Nexus 8-speed IGH and Patterson 2-speed internal crankset giving me an effective 17-86 inch gear range and 16 usable gears.

Bikes of the present:
1-2005 Bianchi Axis CX, was a stunning black & Celesté including bar tape now a well worn and chipped fire engine red, 7005 cold stirred aluminum triple butted hydroformed TIG welded 61cm frame (1.27Kg or 2.8lb),  Mixed group 27-speed drivetrain, cantilever brakes, carbon fork. This is the bike ridden on all my 21st century tours. Note that the frame and fork are about all that remains from the original bike.
2-Dahon 20 inch MU and transferred the Nexus/Paterson drivetrain from the Downtube. Love it. Have yet to take it on tour but plans are in the works.


Now that there is the starts of a forum here on CycleBlaze I think it necessary to add some depth and breadth to my profile so readers of my sometimes arcane posts have some idea where my thoughts come from.

 My formal education includes studying fine art and design at the University of Hawai’i. My middle age reboot included taking a degree in history and world religion at the University of Washington. That and other educational and life experiences flavor both my journals and forum posts.

 For most of my adult working life I was involved in the “Rag trade” that would be textile design and construction of finished products, mostly one off and custom designed. I got my start in Honolulu, Hawai`i as a sailmaker and owned and ran my own sail loft for over a decade. Moving to the Mainland US, I worked for twenty-five years in commercial and recreational canvas industry with the bulk of my work in the transportation industry, principally with a large well know aerospace manufacture located in the Pacific Northwest.

I list the above to give some notice of my expertise in an area that is peripheral to most of cycling but central to bicycle touring. Just adding up my expenditures on touring kit, the fabric component for touring is greater than my bicycle hardware part including my bicycle proper.  Tents, sleeping bags, air mattresses, panniers, rain gear etc. are often the topics of discussion on bike forums. I don’t by any means claim to know all the answers but I probably know as much as any touring cyclist on any forum, anywhere. If you have textile questions from basic fabric properties to sewing up your own gear feel free to contact me and I try my best to help out.