In the realm of long-distance cycling challenges, Paris–Brest–Paris is one of the most famous, testing the mettle of riders on a gruelling 1,200-kilometer journey across France. For Justin Pogge, a Tallahassee native, the 2023 PBP wasn't just a chance to conquer the challenge; it was also an opportunity to showcase his beautifully hand-crafted pink Old Field Cycles randonneur bike.
Pogge is one of the lucky ones to have turned his passion into a kind of art form, building frames under the name 'Old Field Cycles' - which is what the Muskogean tribal language word Tallahassee translates to. Entering Paris–Brest–Paris is a challenge in itself, and like many others, Pogge spent the good part of the last two years preparing for the event, completing qualifying rides in north Georgia and Alabama, and also custom-building a bike for himself, perfectly tailored to the demands of PBP and his own preferences.
The core of this bike is of course its frame, which represents a homage to the classic low trail geometry, a typical feature of mid-century French-style randonneur bikes. The frame is a blend of Columbus and Kaisei tubing, paired with dropouts from Paragon Machine Works.
The vibrant pink colour scheme was a practical choice, as Pogge aimed to make his ride stand out among the crowd during the Paris–Brest–Paris control points.
"The titanium bike I rode during the last Paris–Brest–Paris was impossible to find at controls," Pogge explained.
"My wife had a bike bag company called Anhaica for about a decade and she has a lot of materials left over, she had the pink waterproof material and the lavender trim, so that was the start of the colour palette."
How was the bike to ride, then? Pogge says the bike proved both reliable and comfortable. To think that you'd spend 84 hours and 12 minutes (that's how quickly he completed PBP) on the saddle, the bike must be pretty comfy.
"My bike worked great. No issues at all on the road and very comfortable. The only thing I can see wanting is some aero bars – just to have another position and to give my arm a rest. This was the first PBP that fully allowed them," Pogge said.
Delving into the bike's drivetrain components, it's a fascinating mix. The bike is equipped with a modern 1x setup, with a SRAM Rival XPLR AXS rear derailleur that's paired with a 10-44 cassette, and up front there is an in-house narrow-wide chainring that would work with the classic 50.4 bcd SunXCD crankset. The titanium bottom bracket is from White Industries.
Moving onto the shifters, things get really custom. Die-hard Campagnolo fans might want to look away, but here we have the Italian brand's Centaur Ergo levers integrated with SRAM wireless blips where the thumb shifters would have been. It's certainly the first time we've seen this combo in a set of brake levers, but clearly it worked for the man behind the madness!
Pogge's creative mind is also visible on the stem, which he custom-made and is based on a classic Rene Herse design. His bike bell is made from aluminium with a brass knocker, and the spring is titanium.
The last neat detail can be found on the brakes, which Pogge said he got a lot of questions about. The Donkey "Pacer" engraving on the custom brakes is a play on Mafac "Racer", the classic centre-pull brake that revolutionised road bike braking in the mid-20th century. Pogge's small local randonneur club, Randonneurs Of Tallahassee (ROT squad) also uses a donkey as its mascot, making the engraving even more fitting.
Let us know in the comments what you think of this bike and what your dream Paris–Brest–Paris setup is! And as always, remember to check out our other Bike at Bedtime features as well.
Suvi joined F-At in 2022, first writing for off-road.cc. She's since joined the tech hub, and contributes to all of the sites covering tech news, features, reviews and women's cycling content. Lover of long-distance cycling, Suvi is easily convinced to join any rides and events that cover over 100km, and ideally, plenty of cake and coffee stops.