Every road…

I like to carry a sketchbook – just scraps of watercolor paper, really – with me when I ride. As I wander along, meandering across the rural Clay County, Missouri countryside, I’ll frequently pause along the road and simply absorb my surroundings. During these short breaks I may pull out those scraps of paper and use a Pilot Varsity to scribble out my impressions. I’ve no firm destination in mind to begin with, so my thoughts and sketches tend to meander nearly as much as I do on my bike. I like to treat every outing as a tiny little adventure.

Saturday mornings we sometimes reserve for small adventures of a different sort; yesterday we went to an auction. We love attending and know some of the auctioneers very well. Many of the same people show up and there’s a certain thrill of “the hunt” and even the competition of bidding against these familiar faces. Sometimes, after nosily digging through the detritus of some elderly couple’s lives we leave almost immediately: I’ve no desire to spend money on, and haul their junk home with me. Other times we stand around for hours, hoping to discover hidden treasures. Yesterday, I discovered that the 94 year old owner had been a serious competitive cyclist in his younger years. The family had no idea what he’d done with his racing bikes, but he had purchased a nice sports touring bike in his 60’s. A Sekai 2700, it had never been ridden outdoors – he pedaled it on Kreitler rollers in his house for a couple of years, then hung it on the wall for a few decades. Perhaps needless to say, it followed me home.

Once I began to clean the bike up, I discovered that what I thought was rust and bubbling paint was in actuality simply the build up of decades of dust and grime. It all wiped right off with gentle cleaning.

A nice 52/40 Sugino Mighty Touring crankset with MKS pedals.

Suntour VX rear dérailleur shifts so smoothly on this wide ranging (and almost unused!) gold freewheel. The ornate pie pan literally gleams.

A nice surprise: atop the Laprade seat pin was perched a nice Concor saddle!

I have always liked the Gran-Compe brake set, which are quite robust and very grabby. The tires, crusty and dry – but holding air just fine – are Sekai-branded 27 x 1 1/4 inch models. I’m always intrigued to come across these manufacturer-labeled tires.

I was very pleased to see the condition of the brake hoods in such splendor! The lavender-colored bar wrap is in mostly decent condition, and I found it a curious choice with the tan/gold colored bike and blue housing/lettering. Lifting a loose edge I discovered that the wrap had begun life as a brilliant blue, fading over the decades to this lilac hue.

The tubing is labeled as Tange Champion, no number indicating which level of Tange.

And stuck in the bottle cage was the original owner’s manual and receipt. Although the serial number indicates the bike is a 1980 model, it was purchased new in October 1983 for the then quite hefty sum of $390.30


4 thoughts on “Every road…

    • There were a few other cycling related items at the auction also: a leather helmet from the 70’s, a pair of cycling shoes (that would’ve fit me perfectly, darn it!), a few other items here and there. I kept getting wildly outbid on them and discovered that they were being bought by one of the family members. Chatting with him, I discovered he planned to put together a sort of wall ornament to give to the old man next Christmas. With that information, I stopped bidding on cycling items so that he didn’t have to pay through the nose. I also decided I would make some artful photos of the bike and print them for the family. It feels good to do something nice once in a while!

  1. Quite the find! Congratulations!

    “it had never been ridden outdoors – he pedaled it on Kreitler rollers in his house for a couple of years, then hung it on the wall for a few decades”

    This statement had me pondering the desires of the bicycle, if it was asked its preference.
    If this were a person, say born and grown up in a deep underground cave, would they yearn to be outdoors and run free in the sunshine or would they be content to stay and live within the contents of what they knew and are comfortable and familiar with?
    Obviously, the bike has been born and raised in the cave situation but will soon move freely through the outdoor air, obviously not having a choice if it wants to or not.

    This comment feels like it should end with, “Deep Thoughts, by Jack Handy”

    Either way, great score. I’m pleased to see it in good hands.

  2. Tom Howard says:

    Wow. What a time capsule. A friend brought over his Sekai (can’t remember the exact model) from that same era the other day for maintenance. It had the Suntour/Sugino cranks and derailleurs as well as Dia Compe brakes, although they’re black. A previous owner had swapped out the drop bars for a flat bar with Suntour AccuShift shifters and levers.
    The bike was in reasonably good shape. The Sekai-labled hubs spun well, and it had the 27-inch rims, probably Araya. The steel pie plate is still there. It also has Tange tubing, and the rear brake cable has full-length housing secured by clips
    His bike has really nice long, pointed lugs.
    Anyway, I told him that his $50 purchase went to a bike with a fine heritage.

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