MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

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MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

OLMO GRAND PRIX - INTRO

FINDING THE FIRST OLMO

BUILDING THE FIRST OLMO

RIDING THE FIRST OLMO

FINDING THE SECOND OLMO

BUILDING THE SECOND OLMO 

 

BICYCLES OF ITALY

 

RIDING THE FIRST OLMO GRAND PRIX

Vintage Italian road bicycles are very much sought after, these days, and I might add, in those days too.  Even though the bicycle was a bit too big for me, the Olmo is pure Italian and a joy to ride.  I can remember that I achieved my fastest speed on the Olmo one day, and got caught doing it

There is a Sunday morning "City Loop", for lack of a better description, that I like to ride, now and again.  The Olmo and I, set out on the Loop, one beautiful and quiet Sunday morning.  Our ride would take us down, what would later in day be a very busy street, but nearly deserted, early in the morning.  The soon to be busy street parallels, at a mile's distance or so, the shore of Lake Superior.  To get close enough to the shore to enjoy the view, and cacophony of wild life that presents itself, the Olmo and I had to climb the Overpass.  The Overpass, and its twin a few miles later, offers of the only two hills to climb, in the Swamp part of the Loop.

Paralleling the lake shore, all kinds of things pull the eye and it is OK to let the eye wander a bit.  The road surface is as smooth as a baby's bottom.  There is something extra special about riding on a really smooth road.  The only surface obstacles, in the Swamp segment of the ride, are two sets of railroad tracks.  The first set looms, ominously, just before the beginning of the second climb (big hill to be more precise).  The second set of tracks present themselves just as a wonderful old trestle bridge bursts into view, upon rounding a gently sweeping corner.

It was on this quiet stretch of smooth road that the Olmo was allowed to shine.  It accelerated well, and the gear range allowed me to make both climbs, on the big ring, without coming out of the saddle.  The bicycle is incredibly quiet when coasting on the smooth.  The freewheel, ticking so softly, that the sound is lost in the rush of the wind, through my helmet.  The bicycle flicks into corners, with hardly a thought, and comes out of them, just as intuitively.  The bicycle's ride lives up to its Italian heritage and does so nicely.

And, that ride saw one other test of the Olmo's potential.  After leaving the Swamp, the "City Loop" heads north and around Boulevard Lake, a small lake contained with-in the confines of Thunder Bay's city limits. With the lake circled, the ride, back to my house, is mostly up hill - until the last mile, or so.  That last mile includes the High Street Hill, appropriately named I might add, and the hill points down on the return trip.  It was on that hill, that day, that I managed my fastest speed ever achieved on an old road bike - 64kph.  At least that is what the computer read and, as far as I am concerned, the computer was wrong.  It felt like I was going a hundred....

The most memorable part, of that down hill blast, was stopping at the bottom when the light turned red.  Those little brake pads, found on so many vintage bicycles, do not slow a really fast moving road bicycle down, fast enough.  I grabbed a double handful of brake lever and pulled.  Then pulled some more.  The bicycle was not slowing down.  The light was coming up very fast.  I tried pumping the brake.  The light was still coming at me - way too fast.

Well, the bicycle and I did not run the light.  Even though I had great doubts, for a few seconds, the Modolo stoppers did their job.  The Olmo and I came to a full stop.  As it turned out, a close friend of my wife's witnessed my incredibly stupid (but fun) behaviour, reported my bravado to my wife, and I had some explaining to do, a while later.  But, I did get to go over sixty kilometres an hour, on an old bike.  I can see no need to try that again!

I really liked the Olmo Grand Prix, both in the looks and function categories.  Alas, though I did not realize it at the onset of the relationship, the bicycle was too big for me.  My collection of personal bicycles had grown considerably since I began collecting.  With this in mind, I decided that only bicycles that fit me would remain in my collection.  Bicycles that didn't fit, belong with someone else.  Since making that decision, I have managed to send a lot to bicycles to a lot of someone else's.  Including my all time favourite,  1971 Carlton Professional that I got from the Dump.

The day came, when a fellow worker expressed, keen interest, in buying one of my vintage road bicycles.  He narrowed his choice down to two very nice rides - the orange Olmo Grand Prix and an early seventies Motobecane Grand Record.  Both bicycles were taken out for several  test rides.  Considered and then taken out again.  Finally, my fellow worked decided on the Olmo.  Because he liked the color better and I don't blame him one bit.

NEXT - FINDING A SECOND OLMO GP

 

 

 

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