Thursday, January 12, 2012

An old friend moves on

Over the couple of years or so I've been reducing the number of bikes in the shed. I know the ideal number is supposed to be n+1, "n" being the number you currently own, but for me there's nothing smart about hanging on to a bike you don't ride and is taking up space. Over the last few years I've given away an old hardtail mountain bike and the folding bike I bought in China and sold my full suspension mountain bike and another folder I bought from ebay on a whim. Looking at last year's rides, I did the vast majority on just two bikes and if I had my way - and if it were possible to find a fast road bike which handled panniers and rough dirt roads with elan - I'd own just one which did everything.

Me on the Centurion during a triathlon in about 1985.
The hardest bike to part with wasn't a complete bike at all. My old steel Centurion frame has been hanging in the shed after I sold all my vintage Cmapagnolo gear on ebay three years ago. It's a lovely steel Japanese-made racing frame built at the height of the triathlon boom the mid 1980s, well made and still in fine condition. I've owned that bike since the year after I left high school and it was a bike I raced and competed in triathlons on, so being a little sentimental about it was perhaps understandable.

The bike has stayed with me over the years, through moves from state to state but languished in a shed for a while before I resurrected it as a flat bar road bike when I lived in Melbourne. A few years later I had the bike resprayed and restored it to its former glory, though the paintjob didn't last too well. I rode it while I lived in Melbourne, including a fun few weeks to and from the Commonwealth Games media centre and on a couple of Audax rides. It was as smooth and as fast as I remembered - responding easily to a kick in a sprint and the handling razor sharp.
After the 2007 restoration.

With my growing interest in Audax riding through and perhaps getting older, I've been putting in fewer and few miles on the old race bike and after stripping the last paint job back to the glorious original chrome underneath, the frame again hung in the shed awaiting another restoration that I knew would most likely never come.

A few months ago a friend at work who is a keen cyclist mentioned he was keen to put together a road bike but had a very tight budget of just $400. Richard is a mad-keen mountain biker but wanted something decent for his 20km commute to  work, so it seemed right that my quarter-century old racer should find a second life with someone who would appreciate it. I dug out a back wheel I wasn't using any more and some old cranks and other bits and pieces and pointed him in the direction of the fine folk at the Hobart Bike Kitchen and he was off.   He's done a great job of the rebuild and the bike even featured Ride On the magazine of Bicycle Victoria (which you can almost read by clicking the image at the top of this post and zooming in a bit). It's a fitting tribute to a bike which has served me well. I was delighted to spot my old bike in the rack at work the other day, it was like running into an old friend. Far from being sad or sentimental to farewell an old friend, I'm quite chuffed to know it's going to be going to be ridden and appreciated for years to come. 

105km so far this year.

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