Though I had promised myself a good part of the summer off, from being randyjawa (my bicycle business name), I did manage to - finally - get into building up the Cyclops.  And I built the bicycle, for therapeutic purposes.

I took the summer off from my bicycle business, because I needed a break from it all.  To that, add the fact that I had some serious work to do, at my summer cottage.  So, I took five weeks off, spent three of them nearly flat on my back with bronchitis, and completed my "so called" break by building a bicycle for myself.  And I did it all at my summer cottage.

I even purchased a portable bicycle work stand to that I could do so.  Of course, once I had the stand, it stood to reason that my interest, in working on old bicycles at the summer cottage, would increase.  And so it did, however; I still had to finish levelling off the cottage and rebuild a forty foot long and five feet high rock wall, that had fallen into the lake, over the winter.  And I still had to take time off to get past the bronchitis thing.

But, the test build had gone well and the Cyclops surfaced, one beautiful sunny afternoon.  Time to test ride the bike.  Time to see if what I had heard about the Cyclops bicycle was for real, or just hype.  However...

I had spent a good part of that morning, lifting rocks and positioning them, one by one, as the rock wall reclaimed its place on the shore of Loon Lake.  Simply put, after spending four or five hours on rock detail, I decided against test riding the bicycle that day.  At my age, and with a couple of health issues, it would be foolish for me to take off, in near spent condition.  I was tired from all of the physical effort expended on the rock wall.  Anyway, anticipation is almost as good as doing...

The next day, I had to go to the city.  I loaded the Cyclops, into the Ranger, for the trip into town.  Sadly, by the time I made the forty mile drive, the sky had decided to open up, and literally poured for about five minutes, then settled into a steady rain fall for the rest of the day.  The level of Loon Lake actually went up, an inch or two, that day, though I didn't know it at the time.  Upon reaching my place in the city, I towel dried my soaked bike.  No real harm done, just a bit bummed out about the water and not being able to test ride the bicycle.

A couple more days of miserable weather passed and, finally, I got my chance to ride the bike.  With one last check over, to ensure that the bike was road worthy and safe to ride, the Cyclops and I took off.

Clipped in, the two of us took off up the street.  I always go up the gentle slope first, when test riding any bicycle.  The bike felt pretty good.  The saddle was set pretty close to where it needed to be.  The bars were tilted the way I like them and everything felt like it was working just fine.

For a while, I was lured by the indexed transmission, but the virtues of the friction system win me back every time I get to use a good  Old Schoo transmission.  The bicycle shifted perfectly.  Of course, I have a few bikes with the Campy SR grouppo installed and the feel of the transmission is no stranger to my old fingers.

The bike pulled neither to the left nor right.  Everything was coming together, just as I had hoped.  Great!  At least the frame set was straight

At the top of the street, I made the usual U-Turn and headed off down hill (hardly the right word).  More transmission testing, to ensure that I could reach all gears and then the big one - torture testing the brakes!

After picking up a bit of speed, I grabbed great handfuls of brake levers, and slammed on the brakes.  They worked great, slowing the bicycle and me down quickly and without great hand pressure.  I repeated the test, asking more and more of the brakes each time.  If there is a surprise waiting for me, I want the surprise to surface when I expect it.  Not when I am in traffic.

The next half hour, or so, was spent zooming around the neighbourhood, never wanting to get too far from The Old Shed, just in case something went wrong, presenting the need to walk the bike home.  But nothing untoward occurred.  The bike worked great and, aside from some needed tweaking to the saddle height and tilt, nothing needed adjustment of any kind.  Once satisfied that the bicycle was road worthy, safe to ride and fitted reasonably close to where it needed to be, the pair of us took off for the afternoon.

I have been riding my Cyclops since and have even considered an upgrade or two, if or when I choose to implement the final build.  But that is getting a bit ahead of myself.

Aside from a set of new tires, there are some cosmetic issues that must be dealt with.  Paint touch-up will do the job, for the most part, but I have gone even further with my wish list for this bicycle.  I am giving serious thought to painting the bicycle and this is something that I rarely recommend.  Especially when the cosmetics are as good as they are on the bicycle.  However...

At the time of this writing, I have decided to make the Cyclops a "keeper".  The bike is a near perfect fit, although a wee bit bigger than I normally ride.  Fact is,  I prefer a bigger frame set.  Going bigger allows me to keep the bars higher, in relation to the saddle position.  This means that I do not crouch as much and that means that I do not have to bend my, once broken neck, too far back to see where I am going.

And the Cyclops and I are going!  That test ride has, as is sometimes the case, turned into, ride the bicycle for the rest of the season.  I have owned many high end racing and/or touring road bicycles.  Some ride very well and some offer little that impresses me.  But a few of the bicycles I own, my eighties something Tommassini Prestige, or my Gardin "Special", of similar vintage, are great riders.  And the Cyclops falls into that revered category.  The question one should ask at this point, is what makes ride quality special?

For me it is how well the bike works, (shifts, stops, corners, and tracks).  These are important qualities.  But there is also ease of maintenance and adjusting.  Or, how well do components stay adjusted.  And, of course, though it grieves me to admit it, if I don't like the aesthetics, chances are I will not want to keep the bicycle.  In addition to riding, I like looking at nice bicycles!

So, I will ride the Cyclops, as it sits, for the balance of the riding season, putting it away once the snow, and salt, shows up in Thunder Bay.  (Salt?  To melt the ice that covers the roads for nearly half a year - each year.)  If I still feel the same about the Cyclops, once I have gotten to know the bike better, I just might have it professionally repainted.  I might even have the frame and forks chrome plated.  This bike would look just great with chrome stays, fork blades and lugs and some new, unblemished art work.