Saturday, January 2, 2016

My Steeds: Number One: The Road Bike

In my mind, 2015 was the year of the bicycle.

In late 2014, I had in my possession, two bicycles that had been lying dormant, neglected in my garage for well over ten years. A year later, it's grown to a collection of six bikes, plus 3 more obsolete frames and a box full of old miscellaneous parts. None were bought new, and all except two were built up or significantly modified from old frames and a hodgepodge of new and used parts bought on the internet or at the local community bike shop.

What started as participation in a charity bike ride quickly became my primary means of commuting, and then blossomed into a hobby, an infatuation, a way of life, a philosophy... and all I could think about was bicycles through most of 2015. To my surprise, I became one of those crazy guys riding in Edmonton's dark mid-winter through slush, ice, and snow. I am now in the business of converting others into this cult. I see it as a healthy expression of middle-aged-ness.

Although I haven't been able to ride as much as I would like, I spent more than enough time learning how to tinker through Youtube, stealing away to look at bucket-loads of parts at the shop, and drool over vintage steel frames and folding bikes on the internet. However, surprisingly, I didn't sketch my trusted companions that much... so here begins another series: My Steeds.

One: The Road Bike

This bike, a Viner "Special Professional", is the spiritual descendant of my first road bike, a Panasonic DX-1000, which I rode in high school but which I regrettably parted with a long time ago. I've had this bike for just over 15 years now, and it's one of the two bikes that lay neglected for the most part of the last 10 years. I believe it's from around the early to mid 1980s, and has a combination of Shimano and Campagnolo parts, including Biopace chainwheels.  As the one I've had the longest, and because of its vintage, handling, and ride quality, I have a special affinity for this bike (it got me through the 4-month long 2001 Vancouver transit strike!), and remains my go to road bike for summer weekends. I wish I took better care of it... an overhaul is in order this spring.

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