At the time of purchase, I really did not have time to spend with the Gardin.  I was in the last stages of painting a 1975 CCM Tour du Canada and I had just, a few days earlier, acquired a beautiful Proctor that I had lusted after for a few years.  In addition, I was behind in my work for others thanks to the Spring rush to get people's bicycles road worthy for riding season.  Why don't they bring me their bikes in the middle of the winter, or better yet, before they put the bike up for the winter?

Upon bringing the frame and fork set home, my wife looked at what my purchase looked like, scoffed and went about her business.  I started to explain what an unusual find the Gradin was but she was not interested.  She will be ecstatic should I ever choose to sell the bicycle though.  Anyway...

With little time to spare and Free Dump Week coming up in four days, I really had to focus.  The frame set was tucked away until time was on my side, if that is even possible for someone who is past sixty years old.  I returned my attention to a mid seventies Empire Professional build for a local fellow but my mind kept coming back to the Gardin Anniversary.  That said, I did finish up the Empire and immediately installed a lovely late eighties or early nineties Marinoni in the work stand.  The Marinoni's rear wheel had been clicking, according to the owner.  I had to take his word for it since I could not get a single click out of the bike when I was test riding it.  The plan was to rebuild the rear wheel, using a new set of straight gauge spokes.  But my mind was still on the Gardin.

On the evening of day two of ownership, I could not stand it any longer.  I had been working my butt off for three weeks trying to keep up with the Spring Rush and I decided I needed a break.  After preparing myself for a special "just for me" work session, I picked the Gardin Team from the room of best bikes and quickly dismantled the entire bicycle.  The Campy components on the Team Issue would be transferred directly over to the Anniversary.  The whole stripping effort took little more than an hour to complete.

With the components in a heap, I stored the Team Issue frame set away in The Old Shed and bent to inspect the components.  Actually, inspection was a bit foolish.  I had just put the Team Issue Gardin on the road the previous Autumn and ridden the bicycle only a couple of hundred miles since.  With that in mind, the component grouppo needed absolutely no work.  The parts did not even need cleaning off since I have a tendency to keep my bicycle(s) squeaky clean (most of the time).

The two components that did receive refurbishment attention were the bottom bracket and headset.  These items, once removed, could well have been contaminated during disassembly.  With that in mind, I decided that a good cleaning was in order - just in case.  There were no wear issues and, once fresh grease had been applied, into the frame set they went.  All that said, I am keeping my eye open for a good deal on a better headset.  The one presently installed, though mechanically perfect, is a bit unsightly thanks to a careless wrenching session sometime in the past.

With the headset and bottom bracket installed, assembly went very quickly.  The wheels from the Gardin Team Issue fitted the newly acquired Anniversary frame set perfectly.  The transmission bolted, without issue, into place.  I didn't even have to replace either shifter cable.  With the derailleurs installed, the crank tapers were cleaned and dried before securing the cranks into place.  I would check the fastener torques after the first ride and then again after the second.  Tapered cranks need to be checked frequently, during and after the first couple of rides, to ensure that they are not loosening off.  The chain from the Team Issue was a perfect fit and took little more than a couple of minutes to hook up.  In less than an hour, the Gardin Anniversary's transmission was in working order.

The handlebars and stem had been removed as a unit from the Team Issue.  They, brake levers, cables, bar tape and all, were swapped over in not much more than a blink of the eye.  No stem length to select since I had only one Gardin pantographed steering stem   No brake levers to position since they had already been fitted to me when I built up the Team Issue.  The entire handlebar installation included grease the stem, slip it into place align and tighten.  Time involved?  Perhaps two minutes.  I gave some though to redoing the bar tape but there was really nothing wrong with the tape I had installed the previous Fall.  Only the color of the tape was a concern, however, as it turned out, the color looked OK.  Next, on the list of things to do included brake calliper installation and tuning.

Of all the brake systems that I have been lucky enough to use, the brakes selected for the Anniversary are among my favourites.  The levers are easy to reach and pull.  The hoods are comfortable and the action of the gorgeous callipers is second to none that I have encountered in the vintage road bicycle world.  The only other brake system that I like as much is the one Shimano 105 set installed on my Proctor-Townsend but that system is not Old School by any means.  The Proctor-Townsend is near full Shimano 105 and the brake system is the very durable (?) Total Integration series.  Though I am basically an Old School guy, I do like riding the P-T and a great deal of the riding pleasure goes to the "user friendly" component grouppo installed.  I digress...

With the brakes installed and tuned, the only thing left to do on the Anniversary was install the seat post and saddle.  Once again, the only preparation required was to lightly lubricate the seat post.  It slid easily into place and did not require much torque to secure properly.  Before securing the post, I measured the distance from the pedal to the top of the saddle defining a starting point to set the bike up for the best fit for me.  I should add that I considered swapping out the saddle but finally decided to stay with the San Marco Rolls that had been given to me for the Team Issue.  At this point in time I was not all that worried about aesthetics.  I knew that the Rolls was comfortable and felt that it would look OK on the Anniversary.  I was right and have decided to keep the saddle on the bicycle.  Little did I know at the time that a more appropriate butt perch would come my way in the next month or so.

And that was that.  The Gardin Anniversary, after twenty or more years in storage as a frame set, was a bicycle again.  Though it was just past nine o'clock in the evening, the sun was still up.  To heck with waiting for tomorrow to test ride the Gardin Anniversary.  I slipped on my riding shoes, clipped in and zoomed away.