MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

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MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

BILL'S TORPADO - INTRO

FINDING BILL'S TORPADO

BUILDING BILL'S TORPADO

UPGRADING BILL'S TORPADO

RIDING BILL'S TORPADO 

 

BICYCLES OF ITALY

 

 

FINDING BILL'S TORPADO LUXE

A fellow worker approached me, at work one day, and asked if I was the guy who had put the the bulletin board ad, asking for a vintage "Ten Speed".  Naturally, I answered that I was indeed the guy.  After a brief discussion, I copied down his address and phone number, with the promise to look at the bicycle, after work.

It was mid winter, and I headed up Broadway Avenue in the Ranger.  A few feet of snow, covered the ground, but the day itself was sunny.  In fact, it was eye squinting bright, the fresh snow's reflective characteristics, adding to the glitter of the day.  Keeping my eyes both peeled, and squinted, at the same time, I looked for the address.  A wide, snow ploughed driveway greeted me, as I turned into my fellow worker's yard.

Jim, my co-worker, and  I exchanged greetings and then got to it.  Even though the day was bright it was cold and standing around was, to say the least, a bit uncomfortable.  The two of us headed for, what looked to be, an old tool shed of some kind.  Perhaps even an old barn, that once housed smaller animals or chickens.  At any rate, we entered the naturally lit gloom, and snaked out way, through the collection of stuff, that one might expect to occupy, an ancient and dilapidated, old farm shed.  Finally, way at the back, and hidden behind a department store something or other "Ten Speed", was the Torpado.

The old Italian bicycle, tucked away in the back of the shed, some thirty years ago,  turned out to be a rust covered, all chrome Luxe model.  My first impression?  The bicycle was pretty much un-restorable, in the all chrome sense.  Boy was I in for a surprise...

Anyway, the owner of the Torpado was horrified.  Rust had formed, covering almost every square inch, of the all chromed frame and fork set.  The steel wheel rims were equally challenged, in the cosmetic sense, thanks to the oxidation. For me, this is a common occurrence.  People, who store their old "Ten Speeds" away, usually forget all about the bicycles.  Time passes and a rust garden forms, usually on chrome plated surfaces.  Normally this would impact things like chromed fork blades and stays, not to mention plated components.  Steel wheel rims, are a particular target for rust's diet. To make this long story short, Jim was horrified to see his cherished (or not so cherished) old Italian bicycle covered with rust.

The entire frame set looked just like the wheel set - rusty and ugly.  By the time we had dragged the Torpado into the sunlight, Jim had apologized several times.  He felt bad for dragging me all the way to his place, only to offer me, what he called, "a rusted piece of junk".  That comment immediately suggested that I would not have to pay much for the bike, even if I did want it.  Apparently, when he had put the bicycle away, in the mid seventies, it had been in good condition.  I said not to worry.  Apologizing once again,  Jim gave me the bicycle for free.  At that point in time, I was not even sure if I wanted it.

The oxidation was surface rust, which is pretty easy to get rid of, but there was so much of it, coating the all chrome Torpado.  None the less, Jim and I managed to strike a deal for the old road bike(free), and the Torpado and I made the really chilly trip home, to The Old Shed.  For me the value lay in salvaging the components.  I was in for a rather pleasant surprise...

Though it might sound ridiculous, rubbing aluminum foil, on surface rusted chrome, can work incredibly well.  In fact, there are times when the results are astonishing.  I might add that aluminum foil is just great for a number of different cleaning/polishing applications.  I always keep some handy in the tool box.  With this in mind, and before I tucked the Luxe away, in some corner of the shed, to continue with its successful rust development program, I took a moment to rub a bit of foil, on one of the rims, where the patina of rust was the worst.  Wow!  Perhaps the bicycle was not beyond salvage after all.  I would have to get at it, when the winter was over.  Though my wife is an understanding lady, she would not understand rust dust in the house, and cleaning off the Torpado's frame would, indeed, create rust dust.

The Torpado remained hanging, in The Old Shed for the balance of the winter, and the better part of the following riding season.  Sometime, in the early fall, interest in the old bike surfaced again, though I cannot recall the circumstances surrounding the renewed interest.  What I do recall is receiving a call from a fellow living east of Thunder Bay.

The caller introduced himself as Bill, and informed me that he had seen the Torpado, or one like on my old website, or perhaps offered for auction on Ebay, in one of my listings.  Bill explained, that he had purchased an identical Torpado, as a young man and would like to have another.  He also added that he would prefer one that had the rear brake cable routed through the top tube.  No problem, that was just what I had hanging in The Old Shed.  We talked for a while, and a deal was struck for me to build the Torpado up to Bill's specifications.

NEXT - BUILDING BILL'S TORPADO LUXE

 

 

 

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