I like bikes.

I like to ride them. I like the way they look. And I like they way they function. There’s just something about a bicycle that appeals to my imagination and sense of adventure. With minimal kit, I can hop astride my two-wheeled steed and venture off into parts unknown, I can lose myself in hours of quiet, uninterrupted thought; within minutes, the stress of the day is shed. I am calm.

As an artist, bicycles appeal to that sense of aesthetics in me: especially those lugged lightweight steel beauties of the past: a near perfect balance of form and function. There is a prettiness of design, but examine the parts closely – nothing superflous is present; everything has a purpose, a reason for being, and a reason for being there, right there in that exact location. Geometry and balance. Crafted functionality. Taking something with purpose and making it special, imbuing it with personality; with gender amd style.

For some months now, I’ve wanted to document the bikes I’ve collected and saved. It’s winter now, and unless Mother Nature smiles upon me these next few months, I’ll do more riding on the trainer than the road. So I’ll take this opportunity to sally forth with my documentation.

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3 thoughts on “I like bikes.

  1. zac says:

    neat opener. Im probably going to read too many. The net with so many interesting people. I like the intro and your bicycle discription is good, i shows a peak at the beauty of cycling, at least the bicycle part. I suspect the relationship with nature and the cyclist, and the mechanical with the spirit or passion is whats next. We shall see. Neat opener. I collect bicycles too, but mines a quality thing, and a reconnection with the past. hope you get many more miles ahead. Zac

    • As with all things, one’s relationship and interest tend to evolve over time. I love cycling as much now – more, in fact – than I did when I was twenty years old. My appreciation for the design, engineering, and mechanics has become fine tuned, while the focus has narrowed. I certainly understand that “reconnection with the past” thing you mention, and that was a driver for me for a while: Some bicycles from my youth were mere pipe dreams at the time and it was cathartic, in a way, to acquire some of those models as an adult. That desire has evolved, as I say. Like wine (which tastes have also changed), I’ve become more discerning in the types of bicycles I seek out and build up. I’ve become less concerned about being “period correct” than using components of an era that enhances the enjoyment of a particular bike. For instance, my 1966 Paramount sports a pristine SunTour Cyclone rear derailleur. Both are “vintage” but the one certainly predates the other. It wouldn’t have been unreasonable “back in the day” to have made such an upgrade to keep a bike useful for many more years to come. It remains a frictions shifting mech, and allows a larger freewheel to be used – and it’s not a jarring, fundamental change such as electronic shifting. That sort of change would be out of character, indeed. So I do this sort of thing unapologetically.

      Most of my regular riders sport wider, supple tires these days. I especially love the Compass tires for that characteristic. Those bikes are also set up for long hours in the saddle, so those aggressive geometries of the past have less appeal to me now than they once did. Chrome, fenders, compliant frames, lugs – all these continue to catch my attention for their unique combined net of form and functionality.

      • zac says:

        neat and I understand. You have some years on me but the dream of the best in that day, the ones I dreamed of, and was afraid to even ride they were so nice that friends owned, now are in my garage. I have Cinelli now, imagine that! I won nationals as a junior on a cracked and creaking Trek aluminum but dreamed of a hot rod like this one. Now today I take out the bottom bracket, each pieces I know without even looking, and I will of course put the best for me on, not the full campy. Sun tour Cyclone old model, lightest long and short cage made back then or darn close. Great der. I have a couple saved for a perfect need, like a big fat freewheel that I would have laughed at…
        Regina chains, running 15k miles hard use, image that vs the newest 11 speeds getting 2k.
        The best bicycles are quite unremarkable I find, Ive ridden them all, and the real great ones just fit so perfect they don’t need a lot. They just do correct better. Now I still ride the same seat for 30 years if I can find them (Regal). And yes Compass (Panaracer) has always been a incredible tire maker that most have no idea how good. I always rode the ultra light Panaracer Paselas, because the do all tire was $15 and better than any at varied use (non racing).
        Now I age at it pains me not to ride. The cars are so packed where I live I find myself looking at your photos and dreaming. You capture that well. I noticed the roads and the quiet clean feel to your photos, many seem like a riders view of a perfect rolling experience. I enjoyed and hopefully Ill read more. Thank you for a unique taste of cycling. I have Turbo like you and I have not ridden it yet, I just finished a clean up, not really a restoration, and its showroom but mine came with Cyclone so I put some Superbe Pro 84 generation to spice it up, correctly even!
        I enjoy your site and insight. All the best, Zac

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