Hi Scott,
I hope you had a good summer and that this email finds you well. I've been wanting to write ever since I finished my ride across the States on August 15. I wanted to say thank you for your part and for R & E Cycle's part in making my trip a joy and success. Check out my trip log and you'll see me and my Rainier at spots all across America. (www.sea-to-see.blogspot.com)

The Rainier made the trip in fine style. There were nearly no problems. Shifting was smooth and sure the whole way. The wheels never needed touching (although in Bar Harbor I did true the rear wheel as is was out about 1 millimeter). It was comfortable so the fit was right. The FSA bars were really great. The Terry saddle was extremely comfortable (I know you didn't choose this, but now I can recommend it for long distance riders). The ride is fast and stable even with the rear rack, the trunk bag and the fenders ( it would wobble as at high speeds when I rode no hands, so I just didn't ride no hands going down hill as high speed). I made the mountains with no problem although the hills of northeast Iowa are a real challenge and as are mountains of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. But the gearing was just low enough.

I rode each set of Vredesteins 2200-2500 miles. I only had three flats the whole 4200 miles. I changed the chain even through the wear indicator showed it didn't need to. I did it because the rear derailleur developed a clicking noise and I thought the problem was the chain. But changing the chain didn't stop the noise. So, I examined the derailleur and found that the top jockey wheel was was worn on the inside. The plastic around the bearing/bushing was worn causing the wheel to wobble. So I replaced the wheel and that solved the problem.

Once in a while when shifting into the small chain ring, the chain would get sucked into the space between the ring and frame. Not sure why. It must just be the slight over-shift when the chain moves inward.

But I was and am very pleased with my Rainier. It's now with me in Switzerland. I know it is already one of my favorite bike.

I had no real physical problems apart from some muscles tension in my upper right shoulder that caused some transient pain and numbness. My hands did fine although there was some numbness in my left little finger which is now gone. I did experience some weakness in my hands and arms. At one point I couldn't shift with my left index finger. But those problems went away well before the end of the trip.

So, I want to pass along my thanks to you and rest of the team. The bike you built me, the advise you gave and the chance to work with you in choosing components all came together to make my trip a great success. If any of you come to Europe, please come and stay we me. If you give me enough warning and it's the right season, let's do the Alpes d'Huez together.

One request: In truing the rear wheel I rounded one of those alloy nipples. Could you send me a few for the future?

So, I'll end for now. Thank you again. I've really enjoyed knowing you and I hope our paths will cross again.
Paul L.