MY "TEN SPEEDS"

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

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FINDING THE PERFECT BICYCLE

Collecting vintage road bicycles can become an addictive behaviour!  That first bike found, be it something really special, or simply a fairly common old steed, will prove to be exciting, rewarding and certainly fun event.  All of these things come together in a rush, and then the rush is reinforced when one begins to study the item found.  The whole event/process can be so much fun, that the finding of bicycles, can actually over power the restoring and riding of them.

Collecting vintage bicycles can quickly get out of hand, if one is not careful.  Storage will become an issue.  Maintenance will become an issue.  Cost could become an issue.  And, the opinion of others, particularly significant others, will probably become an issue, sooner or later, if your habit develops hording characteristics.

When I started collecting vintage road bicycles, I had no idea that I was starting a collection.  I simply wanted to fix up an old Sekine, that I had found, one afternoon, at the local Landfill Site.  Now, some seven or eight hundred bicycles later, I am still collecting, even though my humble collection has grown, from one old Sekine, to a present thirteen high end, or special issue, bicycles.  And, there are other, not so high end, but still collectible mounts, that complete the collection.  All in all, I presently have close to twenty bicycles that I call my own, and another hundred, or so, stored away in The Old Shed, as inventory, just in case someone else needs something they cannot find themselves.

My vintage bicycle collection is actually divided into two groups - the high end, top of the line, or special issue, vintage road bicycles and other, Canadian made, vintage road bicycles that includes a CCM Grand Prix(an unadulterated piece of junk in my humble opinion), a late sixties CCM Formula 1, a late sixties CCM Tourismo, a Velo Sport Aero, and a Velo Sport Alpin.  All of these lesser bikes are Canadian made and I have never ridden one of them.  I have not even spent much time working on any of them, and, I suppose that they need to be passed on or, in the case of the Grand Prix, fed to the Dump.

Somewhere I read, or heard, someone say that the quest for the perfect bicycle will take over and one must guard against it.  After years of finding bicycles, I now understand the comment.  One can quickly focus on finding something nicer, older, higher ender or what ever, rather than restoring, and riding, what has already been found.  When that happens, bicycles will begin to pile up faster than one can imagine.

How to manage a collection?  Collect only one make of bicycle.  Collect only bicycles that fit.  Collect only bikes that fall into a certain category, such as racing or touring.  Collect only one bicycle from each country of manufacture.  Collect...  The point is, the list can go on.  And, no matter what criteria is used to define a collection, there will, usually be more bicycles available, in that category, that you might have room to store.  So how to keep the collection manageable?

At first I decided to collect one racing bike, one roadster, one mountain bicycle and one balloon tired steed.  That soon changed and I began to focus on vintage road bicycles only.  But that category is absolutely huge.  In an incredibly short period of time, more than a hundred bicycles filled The Old Shed.  Hence the need to keep only those that fitted me or were of top of the line issue.  Still, the numbers of bicycles found were unmanageable.

Why not collect Canadian made light weight bicycles, and leave it at that?  So, the collection underwent a major culling. I eliminated gorgeous bicycles such as my 58cm 1971 Carlton Professional and a similarly sized 1958 Carlton Flyer.  So too did I discard a gorgeous 1971 Atala Record 101 Professional and, an equally lovely, French Vitus 979.  Bianchis, Raleighs, Torpados, Bottecchias, Miyatas, Peugeots, Motobecanes, Merciers, Jeunets, Chiordas, Nishikis and a good assortment of others, were sold off, simply because they were not Canadian.  But the collection still grew and continues to do so.  What to do???

       

In the Spring of 2009 over a one month period five very high end vintage road bicycles entered the collection - Tommassini, Legnano, Gardin, Proctor and Proctor-Townsend.  Five really high end, and very collectible, bicycles in a month.  Unusual, to say the least!  Then, in mid Autumn something really special stumbled into my possession - a 1971 Masi Gran Criterium.  There was no way I would be letting the Masi go, or so I thought.  After all, I had recently sold one of my keepers, an early eighties or even late seventies Peugeot Course in an effort to thin the herd.  And this brings up a point...

Its not so much that I needed more criteria to keep the heard in line - just more will power.  It seems like a long time ago that I promised myself I would keep the collection to a maximum of ten vintage road bicycles and, perhaps, one junk bike for poor weather riding conditions.  Well, that number was exceeded several months ago and I am having trouble culling the collection.

The only two bicycles I can feel comfortable releasing are an early eighties Cambio Rino and a Norco Magnum Special Edition, of similar vintage.  Perhaps the Legnano Gran Premio could go also, since I have two Italian bicycles in my collection, an eighties something Tommasini Prestige and the newly acquired Masi Gran Criterium, mentioned earlier.  I could also release my Sekine SHT270, a second from top of the line Canadian made Sekine.  However, there is a sentimental value attached, to the Sekine, since it was the first really nice bicycle that I ever found.

NEXT - SALVAGED, SHARED AND REMAINED?

 

 

 

 

   

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