Death before Derailleur?
I’ve had a massive slump recently. I think everyone has. Perhaps it’s because here in Britain we’re not used to having decent summers so when we do decide to go out on the bieks it can be quite draining. What I’m trying to say is it’s been super hot and we (read: I) have not really been doing anything. More enjoying the weather on picnics, parks, dog walks, bbq’s etc. All without my bike friends…
Anyway, I digress. I did actually start this post with an intention…
Every summer, for the past 3 years, I find myself in possession of a road bicycle. You know the type with actual gears for people with weak legs…. No, that’s a joke! I’m sure I’ve mentioned before though that I’m the type of cyclist that wants in on every genre going, if you can call them genre’s. It just so happens that I fancy gears during the summer.. Actually I say that, but really I always think gears would be ideal for winter training.. I think what it really is, is that I find these geared vintage beauties for quite good prices that it’s stupid not to have a punt. Perhaps people are all out (like I mentioned above) enjoying the hot weather that nobody has time for checking eBay auctions or Gumtree sites. **insert Aint Nobody Got Time fo Dat meme here**
Here’s the story so far:
2012 – Falcon – Reynolds 453
Suspected frame builder Ernie Clements (dont hold me to that) – *Pictured above*
Bought this from Vintage Clobber, for those of you local, which is a shop not too far from where I live. Pretty fresh faced into the whole “fixie” fad having ridden my first ever conversion for just over a year and loving it. The first build was always just meant to get my foot in the door and see what all the hype was about. I was hooked. Really regret what happened after owning this for just a few months though. Was such a clean, mint condition frame and I completely ruined it. It got stolen in December 2012, a few days before a visit to South Africa. Someone contacted me half hour before I had to board the plane. Fuck sake. But oh well, it was never seen again! I started slowly by removing the gears, running it single speed on the big chainring (twat) then finally using the rear wheel from my first ever build, an old Weinemman faithful, and it got abused in that guise for a while. Even bodging a mudgard on as it was at this point I came to realise the effort it took to cycle during British pre-2013 “Summer”. It was stolen shortly after forking out on a Brooks saddle and some new, decent wheels! Apologies for the Instagram quality photos…
May it rest in peace – or may the thief die on it!!!!
2013 – Raleigh Corsa – Reynolds 531
Moving up in the world.. This was my first time using Indexed Shifting. Awesome awesome bike. Would probably have kept it cus like above it was absolutely mint and super quick. Only problem was the sizing! It was a fairly large frame.. Seat tubing wasn’t much of a problem as I didn’t have the seat post protruding much. The Top tube was the problem though. Over long distances I would be too outstretched which wasn’t all that comfortable. Sadly I had to sell it, along with the best saddle in the world – Brooks B17.
2014 – Ribble – Columbus SL
Well, this is my first foray into Columbus tubing – to be honest, feels no different to the above frames. Albeit this one and the Raleigh feel way smoother to use compared to the Falcon. I suppose cus they’re way more refined re tubing and components. It’s got full Shimano 105 groupset, Mavic Open Pro 4CD rims, Selle Rolls saddle, Cinelli cockpit – I could go on… The fit is more or less the same as the Raleigh. I have therefore come to the conclusion that I suffer from what is known at “T-rex syndrome”. So basically I have really short arms and every respectable stem which comes in 110mm means that the reach is too far for me unless I buy a 54cm frame…
Oh well, it just means that next summer I’ll have to try harder at finding the perfect vintage road bike for me. I did win 3rd place at the last Velo Sur Mer alley cat on the Ribble though but I’m just not drawn to it as much as I think you should be with a bike.
So all in all these bikes have been good. I grew up after owning the Falcon and reaslised that some of these mint road bikes are way too nice to convert to single speed / fixed gear. Deeply regret converting that one, however would I have learned from it if I havent? Who knows. Who cares even… I wonder what 2015 will bring…