MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

 

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MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

GARDIN 400 - INTRO

FINDING THE GARDIN 400

BUILDING THE GARDIN 400

RIDNIG THE GARDIN 400

 

BICYCLES OF CANADA

 

  

RIDING THE THE BULL

  It is not uncommon for my winter built bicycles to be sold long before riding season surfaces in Thunder Bay.  And the Gardin 400 almost fell into this category.  But I did get one decent ride in on "The Bull", a nick name I gave the Gardin for obvious reasons.

With the Bullhorn handlebars mounted and fitted with the 105 levers, the bicycle looked as if it were fitted with a set of horns.  Bull horns, not the kind that honk.  With that image in mind, I named the rebuilt/converted Gardin "The Bull".  Silly?  Perhaps, but so named and so remembered.

Spring was already upon Thunder Bay and the build of The Bull spanned little time.  I had already sold off my winter build bike, a Sekine SHC270 that I had converted to Single Speed design.  That left me no daily rider and that is pretty much unacceptable even though it is a fairly common occurrence these days.

As mentioned, the build did not take long.  In fact, anyone who has a reasonable idea of what he or she is doing, can rebuild a bicycle - completely - in a few hours.

With the Gardin 400 converted and after a short test ride, I planned to take the bike out for a good ride.  As luck would have it, a fellow worker called up very early the next morning and invited me to go riding with him.  He was training for the upcoming annual Thunder Bay Triathlon and needed a riding partner.  He showed up at my house with his Giant in the back seat of his truck, installed the front wheel on the bike and donned his riding gear.  The two of us set off for The Swamp, he on his Giant and me on my newly customized Gardin 400.

The Swamp Loop is one of my favourite city rides and only on Sunday mornings before traffic decides to join the day.  The Loop takes me from my house, through the middle of the city to the waterfront.  A recently paved country like road parallels the shore line of Lake Superior, ending at a protected area called the Marsh Lands or something like that.  The area has been set aside as a wildlife reserve and is about six miles from my house.

Even though traffic is minimal on Sunday mornings, Kevin and I still exercised considerable caution as we crossed through the city.  Once over the first bridge, we more or less dropped the hammer and away we went.  Kevin was slowly disappearing into the distance in front of me and I was marvelling at how comfortable "The Bull" felt.

  Acceleration was pretty much what was expected and nothing stood out in that area.  The bike shifted through its twelve gears nicely, loudly clicking to announce each gear change.  The brakes worked all but perfectly, slowing the bicycle with confidence and with minimal hand pressure.  Just the way I like brakes to feel and work.

The Bull did offer a much more upright sitting position, something I had been seeking for a City Rider, and saddle comfort was no surprise.  Though I tend to prefer suspended leather saddle, with Brooks being the preferred brand, I have come to appreciate the virtues of the Turbo saddle and I have mounted them on more than one of my collection bikes.  The saddle selected for the Gardin was a Turbo and remarkable comfortable.

The ride to the Swamp turned into a bit more than planned, and we managed to circle the city in a couple of hours.  A great ride on a warm Spring day that will forever be remembered, simply because I took the time to notice things as I was riding.  And one thing, in particular came to my attention about a mile from home.  Someone was following us.

Indeed, there was someone who pulled up along side of me and commented on the bicycle.  I was never sure what he said exactly at that first introduction, but I do recall that he bought the bicycle from me with-in an hour of our meeting.  That was a couple of years ago and that same fellow recently sent his oldest daughter to me to buy a bicycle.  She was thrilled when I offered her my Proctor Townsend, which I delivered to her house a few days later.  I asked her to give me time to go over the bicycle, ensuring that all was as it should be and swimming in a new application of grease.

The day I dropped the Proctor Townsend off, the young lady's father came to the door and asked me if I would consider trading a set of drop bars for the Bullhorns.  He also offered to pay me a fair price if needed and cover my time.  It was a good day.

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