MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

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MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

BOTTECCHIA SP - INTRO

FINDING THE SPECIAL

RIDE & BUILD THE SPECIAL 

 

BICYCLES OF ITALY

 

 

FINDING THE BOTTECCHIA SPECIAL

Saturday mornings produce Yard Sales in most cities in North America, and probably many other areas of the world as well.  And Yard Sailing for vintage bicycles is a lot of fun, if you know how to Yard Sale.

It was on such a Saturday morning that I pulled up to a small house in a modest section of the city.  The fellow selling his odds and ends was somewhat busy with a near swarm of other Yard Sailors.  None the less, and seeing no vintage road bicycles being offered for sale, I asked the fellow if he would happen to have an old "Ten Speed" that he might be interested in selling.  I couldn't help but notice a bit of a smile play across the guys face.

But he said nothing and after a moment or two I commented on the funny little smile.  To this he responded that he did have an old "Ten Speed" but he was not sure if he was interested in selling it or not.  I told him that I understood and didn't want to press him to sell something that might have sentimental value.  I went on to ask if he would mind telling me what kind of bicycle it was that he had.

Now most people when asked what kind of bike it is don't have a clue.  Most Bike Boom bicycles were purchased based on price and availability.  Once purchased, the bike would be used for a while, then stored away, only to be forgotten.  When asked if they do have a bike they suddenly remember the old road bike tucked away in the shed or wherever.  And, more often than not, they honestly can't remember the make of the bicycle.  This would normally suggest that the bicycle is of entry level quality.  But the Yard Sale host was quick to reply that his bicycle was an Italian Bottecchia.

I was very quick to comment on the bicycle and indicated my interest in at least having a look.  I went on to tell him that I collect old road bicycles and would really like to see his bike.  He took a quick look at the crowd of people in his front yard, told his wife that he was going to the garage and then disappeared through the gate at the side of his house.  I waited.  And so did my chum who often accompanies me when I go bike hunting.

A few minutes later, the fellow struggled through the gate with a bright red bicycle in one hand and the front wheel for it in the other.  I helped him install the front wheel and though both tires were flat, before me sat one of the cleanest old Italian road bicycles that had ever come my way.  The bike, even before cleaning and polishing, was flat out gorgeous.  Too bad that it wasn't for sale.  Anyway...

I gushed over the bicycle for a few moments and made mention that I would really like to buy it.  I asked one more time if he would consider selling me the bicycle.  He obviously thought about it for a moment and then asked me how much I would pay.  I told him that I would be willing to pay whatever fair price he had in mind.  Again, the guy slipped into thought...

Several seconds passed.  I was mentally trying to recall how much cash I had.  I knew that I had at least a hundred bucks in my pocket and my buddy had just grabbed his own hundred from a nearby ATM.  I was more than prepared to go to $200.00 to buy the bike.  Finally, the guy looked me in the eye and said he wouldn't sell the bicycle for a cent less than twenty dollars.  I couldn't believe it and actually had to look down at the ground to hide the smile on my face.  I reached in my pocket, handed over the twenty dollars and thanked the guy for selling me his bicycle.  As I was pushing the Bottecchia to my pickup, I actually started to laugh at my good fortune.

Every now and again a really nice old bicycle comes along and when they do, I always want to keep the newest gem.  Sadly, I can't keep every bike that I find but I can certainly keep them long enough to try them out.

NEXT - BUILD/RIDE THE BOTTECCHIA SPECIAL

 

 

 

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