For nearly twenty years, I’ve made San Francisco my second city. In 1993, I began dating the woman who I now call my wife, who’s father lived on Potrero Hill in the city and mother lived in the East Bay. For nearly twenty years I’ve traveled north from San Diego frequently, exploring the neighborhoods and cities – and more recently making friends and discovering the beauty of the area by bike.
Among those friends are the folks at Box Dog Bikes. They design and sell the Pelican, a refined all-rounder made for the kind of urban utility, mixed terrain, and distance riding that the varied terrain of the San Francisco Bay Area allows. The bike got a great review in Bicycle Quarterly, and I’m sure many folks are familiar with the particular qualities of the design.
For much of the last year when I visited, I would spy a 58cm 700c model from a previous batch that was hopscotching around the shop – it sat for a time above the merchandise; it was in the glass below the counter for a while; and the last time I went in, the frameset hung with newer Pelicans above the workshop. I asked Gabe if the 58 was still around. It was.
My nearly 2-year old commute is 10 miles each way, and my stout Kogswell, built for 5-mile utility rides, was no longer fun. My Protovelo always begs my legs to slow down and enjoy the ride. The commute offers me precious time for exercise, so I wanted to ride to work in a spirited fashion – I wanted something akin to my Ebisu, but built with a porteur rack, which I find the most useful for carrying clothes, sundries, a computer, and/or books. I wanted to be able to do a 30-mile loop on the way home and count it toward “training” for brevet season. I wanted the Pelican. And I got it.
Built up with Gabe’s Bicycle Quarterly bike as inspiration, the Pelican has served as a daily commuter for the last 2 months. I’ve also taken it out on longer rides with a rando bag attached to the rack. On flats, the Pelican rolls as straight as an arrow with a front load – or without. On climbs, it feels lively – and on descents, it tracks more predictably than any bike I’ve ridden. Fendered, light, durable, and equipped with a Shimergo 8-speed drivetrain, I feel like I can go from commute to 300K without any hesitation. It’s a fantastic bike. Paired with the Pass & Stow rack, the complete bike is all about San Francisco design. I’m in the club!