All done. Now what?

OK, I’ve had my fun playing around with this project. I just need to swap out the old chain for a new one, add the pedals, and dial in the cable adjustments. The challenges on the back end turned out to be some squirrely decisions that the amateur builder made regarding dimensions and measurements. Tightening down the stem, the seat pin – and even getting the bottom bracket properly adjusted – well, let’s just say there have been a few irregularities.

All the same, it’s turned out to be a classic looking gent’s bike.

I need another bike like I do a hole in the head. What the heck am I supposed to do with this thing now?

13 thoughts on “All done. Now what?

    • Yup. I like to ride ’em until something more interesting comes along, then pass ’em along to someone who can appreciate the bike. I don’t take “collecting” bikes very seriously either. I’m simply an enthusiastic enthusiast who appreciates the analog, mechanical nature of the machine, the aesthetics of the mechanism, and the quality of the ride. Think of it all as a sort of action research project where I get to try out a variety of different bikes over time, ultimately narrowing my tastes to jibe with my everyday riding preferences. Thus, the “wrong” size frame seldom even registers for me.

      Ironically, I write these words, yet there’s a tiny vintage 50cm touring build out in the studio right this minute. I’m hoping it will fit my wife because my 6′ 2″ body would look like a clown riding it!

      I also kind of like having developed a certain degree of expertise about an esoteric subject, limited to a relatively narrow time period. Every now and then I’ll help out a neighbor or colleague with a bike, but if I’m completely honest with myself I have to admit that it really is all about me… it all boils down to those things that interest me; I shouldn’t claim altruism as my driving force. 🙂

  1. Great looking build on a classic cycle. Like you, I remember well and like very much the era this example illustrates. Centre pull brakes were always a simple way to get good braking, even with inexpensive brake sets. You mention the less than fastidious lug work. Reminds me of a comment by a frame builder I once knew who dismissed all those ever so finely finished US built frames that began to appear in the late 1970s and early ’80s. He said that the fussy finish didn’t really add anything to the function and dedicated young riders wanted functional performance at an affordable price. History has shown him mistaken in not anticipating bicycle mass production methods that supplanted time consuming hand crafting. ….Very attractive paint job there as well.

    • Bill Winslow says:

      As a novice constructour, I rely on paint to make the lug work look pretty…1.) Fit it. 2.) Braze it. 3.) Paint it. 4.) Ride it. But we sure do appreciate a nicely brazed frame 😉

      • I have this secret urge to build a frame myself. (Well, as secret as an urge can be once it’s been shared worldwide on the web.) I get really OCD about the surface and finish though, and worry about “all that work,” only to have it look like a monkey had gotten hold of some tubes and a torch. And so it goes when I strip a frame and see it in all its naked glory – I think to myself that I’m really going to be wasting time on “this turkey.” It’s always a bit of a magical surprise to see the transformation that takes place after priming and painting. It’s not two unrelated artisanal forms, but a symbiotic relationship: the brazing and the painting heighten each other. That’s nice.

  2. “I need another bike like I do a hole in the head.”
    Wait, you’re never supposed to admit that! It’s always “N+1! N+1!”

    But I can feel you, I’m trying to keep the fleet down to a “manageable” number. I say this after futzing with (and cursing at) the latest project bike today.

    • Really it’s impossible to turn a new toy down. I managed to subject the wife to a bike in the bedroom for two years due to lack of space. Just go for it! The joy bikes bring justify the clutter… Right?

  3. Tom Howard says:

    I tried lug lining with a brush and touch-up paint but promptly quit because it wasn’t working well at all. However, you have inspired me to try that Sharpie thing. That looks like a Brooks B72, a nice saddle for an upright riding position. I, too have fantasies about frame building and have casually investigated various frame building schools. The problem is finding the time to do it.

  4. Of course you know what to do now . . . ride it man! I am going to date myself a little here however I feel like I am caught up in an episode of Rod Serling’s ‘Night Gallery’ and you and I are living in a parallel universe. It’s actually a little freaky to be honest.

    As you have been bringing this lovely old ride back to life, I have been doing the same with a 1960 Alberto Dei road bike. The background images of your workshop look remarkably similar to the ‘bike shop’ that I have set up in a corner of the design studio. My retreat when I have had enough of designers and clients and the work day in general.

    The storage room at the back of design studio has been filling up in recent years with each completed project and I stopped counting at fifteen. So “what to do now” is a familiar thought, quickly followed by the start of the next project.

    Italian iron and particularly Legnano bicycles are my passion, and as each new tattered box from Italy is carried through the doors of the studio by the UPS man one of the designers will give me ‘the look’ and say, “another bike?” And I usually respond, “couldn’t resist this one”.

    A therapist friend commented to me that these projects are my attempt to put right those things in my life that I may have wished to ‘fix’ but where beyond my control. It did ring a bit of a bell as I have often reflected on the therapeutic aspects of my bike projects, the satisfaction it brings me and I am quite sure it has cost me less over the years than professional ‘couch time’ with my therapist friend.

    I know it is time for me to begin parting with some of these projects and your own comments to that affect are helping me get comfortable with releasing a few of my old friends to some new friends. Thanks for taking the time and here’s to looking in the mirror.

    Mark Campbell

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