MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

SITE INDEX   FINDING   BICYCLES   WORK SHOP   TRADING   WHAT'S NEW?

MY "TEN SPEEDS"  

AUTOMOTO - INTRODUCTION

FINDING THE AUTOMOTO

EVALUATING THE AUTOMOTO

TEST RIDING THE AUTOMOTO

RESTORING THE AUTOMOTO

 

BICYCLES OF FRANCE

 

FINDING THE AUTOMOTO PORTEUR

Over the years, of collecting vintage bicycles, I have come to understand many things, one of which is that there is no perfect bicycle.  Though there may be Grail bicycles, on every vintage bicycle enthusiast's list, rare is it that someone will stop collecting, even after finding their Velo Grail dream machine.

At any rate, that is how I see it.  Perhaps I never had an absolute dream bike, perhaps I do.  I am no longer sure.  I do know, for sure, that my tastes, in vintage road bicycles, have changed, or, perhaps, become more refined, with the passing of time and increasing of my understanding, of vintage bicycles.

Though the vintage road bicycles, of the late seventies and early eighties, are wonderful machines, they represent, to me, a transition from true vintage to modern vintage.  Things like aero brakes, indexed shifting, plastic this, that, and lots else, all detract from a vintage appeal, that I have come to most appreciate.

These days, my tastes tend to the older bicycles.  I am no longer seeking optimal ride quality.  I already have that, in my turn of the century Marinoni Squadra.  No, these days, I seek the simple, and relaxing, pleasure of finding an old bike that interests me, building it up to, at least, a Street Restored level and then riding the darn thing.

I do not care about going fast.  I do not cage about agility.  I do not care about competitive edge.  I just want to get a bit of exercise, while enjoying the feel of a very old, and nicely restored bicycle.

The forties something Automoto, featured, caught my eye on Craigslist, one day.  I must qualify that.  Craigslist is an almost non-functioning entity, for bicycles, in the Thunder Bay area.  Kijiji, on the other hand, does list bicycles, from time to time.  Anyway, Craigslist - Vancouver!

The pictures included, in the CL listing were not horrible, but they were fuzzy and did leave great room for concern.  And, the concern was frame geometry integrity related.  Best evaluation, based on the pictures supplied in the listing, suggested the top and down tubes were bent, both near the head tube.  None the less, I was interested, even though the whole project might prove to be unachievable on a limited budget.

Fortunately, for me, I have a friend, in Vancouver, who has helped me purchase and retrieve bicycles, on previous occasions.  Thanks to Jim, I am the proud owner of a 1975 CCM Tour du Canada, a fifties something CCM Westonia and, of course, the Automoto presented here.

A single email to my friend, collected a quick response.  He would take a look, as quickly as he could, knowing how important it is to strike, when the iron is hot, so to speak.  In other words, when a decent vintage bicycle is offered on Craigslist, it usually does not go unsold for very long.  With that in mind, Jim headed out to take some better pictures for me.

When the pictures showed up, I was pretty much convinced that the frame set was, indeed, bent.  None the less, I have corrected similar damage on other frame sets.  To that, add the fact that the bicycle reeked of vintage appeal.  The chain guard.  The lights.  The wonderfully unusual head tube lugs.  All of these features, and more, encouraged me to take a chance.

I authorized Jim to get the bicycle for me, providing that the cost of the bike, coupled with the cost to ship, did not exceed a predetermined amount.  I might add that the asking price for the Automoto was $280.00.

A short period of time passed, and the deal was struck.  With help, Jim collected the bicycle for me and then set about trying to figure out how to coerce one of his friends into packing it up for him/me.  Jim cannot do the packing himself, for medical reasons, but he did finally manage to get the bike packaged and on the bus.

The Automoto Porteur arrived four days later, roughly five months after first becoming aware of the opportunity to purchase the old French steed.

NEXT - EVALUATING THE AUTOMOTO PORTEUR

 

 

 

 

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