MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

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MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

197? BIANCHI SPRINT - INTRO

FINDING BIANCHI SPRINT #1

FINDING BIANCHI SPRINT #2

BUILDING #1 SPRINT

BUILDING #2 SPRINT

RIDING THE BIANCHI SPRINTS 

 

BICYCLES OF ITALY

FINDING THE FIRST BIANCHI SPRINT

The first Bianchi Sprint found was done so following one of my procedures for finding vintage road bicycles.  I simply drew up a Bulleting Board Advertisement requesting old "Ten Speed" bicycles, posted the bulletin in several places and waited for the calls to begin.  The calls did come and they did produce nice bicycles, this beautiful old Bianchi being one of the nicest found using this method.

I cannot remember if this Bianchi was produced through the first bulletin or subsequent ones.  I do know that I was a bit excited when I answered the telephone one Fall evening and was asked if I was still looking for a bicycle.  The voice on the telephone sounded old, male and definitely Italian.  I said I was still looking for a bicycle and asked what he had to offer.

The gentleman on the other end of the line informed me that when he moved to Canada, he brought his bicycle with him.  He had paid $1,500.00 (seems like a great many vintage road bicycles sold for fifteen hundred dollars) for the Bianchi when he bought it new and he really hadn't had much chance to use it.  This information was all related to me in heavily accented English, which is good because I do not speak Italian.  And the accent was Italian.  Fair enough, I inquired about the address and asked if it would be OK to view the bike that evening.  The voice agreed and I jumped into the Ranger, off on another bike hunting expedition.

Thunder Bay is a city of roughly 113,000 people and happens to have a fairly large Italian population.  The city is not all that big and it didn't take me long to find the house I was looking for.  The Old fellow must have been waiting for me because he appeared at the door as I climbed the front steps.  Swinging the door open, he instructed me to go around back to the garage.  I did.

Entering the garage brought back memories of my father.  The garage was a bastion of wood working tools.  A table saw graced the center of the building, racks of lumber and plywood hugged the walls and hanging off to one side was a Celeste green Bianchi that was so covered in sawdust that it was all but impossible to make out what kind of road bicycle it was.  Of course, the Celeste green was a give away.  My interest grew, even though I have run across other Celeste green bicycles, that definitely were not made by Bianchi.  Or were they?

I offered to take the bicycle down since the older man was much older that I and I am pretty old myself.  Once the bike was settled on its wheels, I knew immediately that it was a bit too big for me to ride comfortably.  That didn't really matter since by this time I was passing far more bicycles on to other people than I was keeping.

I made no effort to clean any part of the bicycle.  Though coated in sawdust, it was still pretty clear that the bike was in good condition, very original and incredibly complete, right down to the matching Bianchi water bottle.  I looked it over carefully, seeking any indication of crash damage and found nothing to set off alarm bells.  This looked to be a good bicycle and I asked the old fellow how much he would like for the bike.  His answer was quick and definite.  $150.00!

His answer stunned me.  At that time I was used to getting bicycles for free or for a few dollars, sometimes as much a twenty.  (Actually, I am still used to getting bicycles for free or a few dollars but that is changing.)  The idea of shelling out one hundred and fifty bucks did not sit well at the time and I countered.  That was a mistake!  My counter had offended the old fellow and, though he said little he was obviously agitated, I backed off and asked if it would be OK if I thought about it.  He said, with a shrug of his shoulders, that it was OK and moved to turn out the light.  My audience with the Bianchi "Sprint" was over.

Sleep did not come right away that night.  The Bianchi was lodged firmly in my mind.  The next evening, I called the old fellow again and asked if he would still sell me the bicycle.  He said yes in his own ethnic way.  The Ranger and I went back to the gentleman's home and presented the $150.00.  The old guy led me back to the garage and I brought my new Bianchi Sprint out to the pick-up.

By the time Sprint #1 was built my appreciation for Old School had grown, but not enough to encourage me to swing my interests away from top of the lin and/or rare bicycle to the Old School rides, such as the Sprint.  Today, I feel much differently about Old School and jump at the opportunity to work on and ride the older bicycles.  I should add that Sprint #1, being from the mid seventies, was not really all that old, but it did have an Old School look and feel to it.

NEXT - FINDING THE SECOND BIANCHI SPRINT

 

 

 

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