So, spring is finally here. Along with spring come all the “doctors” and “dentists” (a term used actually to make fun of me by my
friends) rolling out their new carbon wheels to the local 1.1 mile loop at the park. I’m a great lover of carbon wheels, and even tubular tires, but I really have to wonder if the benefits of their new tubular wheels are really being put to good use cruising along as far left as possible chatting to their friends at 16 mph.
I guess if they went faster you might not be able to see how carbon their wheels were. Not only this, but I’ve noticed that the more expensive the bike, the shorter the ride they seem to go on. From James observing that at least 1/3 of the Cat 5 pack rolled in on new Cervelos, to my own observation that the Cervelos only seem to do less than 10 laps, as if somehow their accented “e” will catch on fire and turn their bikes back into pumpkins if they exceed 10 miles in a session.
This is basically like taking your Honda Insight powered Ferrari out for a spin at the race track and you can imagine about how cool that looks. Most big cities have a riveting charity ride scene, with most of these dudes riding four abreast, and scarfing down hamburgers after stuffing their face with cliff bars and gu shots starting with the first mile of their Fred century (less than a real century. length is unknown to mortals. Freds live forever and have no souls and eat infants under cover of darkness)
I really just sometimes wonder: Do you like bikes? Or do you like actually riding them?
Bill Murray is the man. From his early role in Caddyshack, to the more recent Sophia Coppola film “Lost in Translation” (a personal favorite), he has delivered. In Zombieland, Woody Harrelson even confessed to an obsession with Bill, who had discovered the secret to living amongst the zombies was to dress like one.
It’s pretty great to see a star not only advocating bike riding, but hitting up Austin’s SXSW and actually using a bike! Perhaps it was not only the festival, but the ease of traversing it on two wheels that attracted the celebs. South by Southwest is a great place to not only hear up and coming bands, but also to see famous people walking amongst us normal folk.
“Don’t get hit” is the advice he leaves us with. Is it possible that more celebrities not only riding bikes, but actively doing so in the public eye will make it safer and less “fringe” for the average rider to participate in this growing sport?
A little over two years ago I jumped into the world of riding bikes. I had been running for a year or so prior to that at a local park watching the cyclists go by and decided that I wanted in on the fun. With my new found stimulus check I made my way to a local bike shop. I had been doing a little bit of reading online but in retrospect was quite clueless. About an hour later I was walking out of the bike shop with a Fuji Newest 4.0. The bike was heavy, had downtube shifters and was a size too small but I didn’t care as it got me around the park and was barrels of fun. I hadn’t been on a bike in probably 10 years prior to that.
But it wasn’t quite what I wanted. When I had been doing my research I read about a new craze of converting old road bikes into single speed and fixed gear bikes. I began scouring the Houston and Austin Craigslist bike listings for something that would fit my needs. Weeks of searching passed and Lo and behold I found an 80s road bike frame with wheels and handlebars, perfect for my project. It was a Vitus Carbone 3 which is the complete antithesis of a current road bike as it was built with aluminum and steel lugs with carbon tubes. I contacted the seller and we reached a price that was well within my budget. A friend picked up the frame and all the extra parts and brought them from Austin on his next trip to Houston.
Months passed and components piled up. The Vitus was together but it wasn’t perfect. The vertical dropouts kept me from having perfect chain tension and the original saddle was falling to bits. I eventually stripped out a crank arm from not retightening a pedal after it’s installation. I was frustrated by the constant mishaps and simply didn’t have the time to perfect the bike like I wanted to. The project was shelved.
A while later I posted on BikeForums.net asking if anyone had any information on what the bike might have been like when it was new. A dutch poster was nice enough to supply scan a few magazines from the 80s that contained ads from when the frame was new. It turns out the bike was sold as frame only and for a resto project I was practically free to do as I pleased.
I began scouring e-bay for period specific parts and started bidding. After about two weeks I wound up with a mishmash of Shimano Dura Ace 7401/7402, Shimano 600, and Campagnolo bits. A bit later and with the aid of Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance everything was together. The bike was ready to roll out for its first real road ride since the 80s. The vintage carbon tubes makes the bike silky smooth for a road bike and friction shifters bring back the memories of riding my first road bike. The frame was finally returned to its original French Glory.
You can check out the gallery of completed photos below:
This original 1994 Bridgestone bicycles catalogue article details how to choose the right bike. You can see, here, how far bicycle technology has come in a short time. Still, these classic machines have a place in our hearts and in our stables and a classic Bridgestone is a very sought after bike for their superior ride quality and craftsmanship.