Thursday, April 19

Something OLD, Something New...

Richard Nixon was still President of the USA. On his way to whooping my own preferred candidate; George McGovern. That was the year that I last bought a bike with my own money. Earned with my own hands. I was working at the "A&P" (as in "Breaking Away") in north Seattle. Now, that A&P is an "Apple Store." Specifically, it was 1972.

But I digress.

The bike was bought at the store shown below. At THAT time, it was known as "Gregg's Greenlake Cycle." As it turned out, that purchase formed a defining moment in my life as a cyclist. You see, that was the LAST time I ever bought a bike for myself from a cycling store. The bastards screwed me, though it took me many years to fully realize it. Still, I have no doubt that, over the years, these guys have improved mightily since they ARE still in business.

Gregg's Cycle in Seattle. Not a Lot of Bike Parking. Some Things Don't Change Over the Years
The bike was a "Champion Du Monde." It was a smidge more than I could really afford at the time. $100. For that price, I got something equivalent to the FAR more popular (and more expensive) Peugeot UO8. Yup, the same bike you now see on eBay regularly for - about $100. Unless the owner thinks it is collectible somehow. As in the case of the Peugeot, the CDM came with a steel, cottered crank, crappy Simplex shifting gear, and steel rims. The steel rims had dimples in them to create the illusion you could stop when the rims got wet.

Champion Du Monde - It Served Me Well, Even if Far Too Big...
I Named it "Betty Boop."
To make a loooong story less so, that bike is now on its third crank, uncounted wheels, its SECOND derailleur (viva Suntour!), and lots of other bits that got changed out over the years. The reason it is missing a saddle is I donated it to a guy with a bike a couple of years ago. It HAD fenders and a rear rack - both now reside on Frankenbike.

After Enough Miles, Chainstay Paint Starts to Get a Bit Thin...
Remants of the Seat Tube Decal
You may sense a faint touch of bitterness against Gregg's. That's because they sold me a bike that was AT LEAST two sizes too big. I was in High School at the time and the salesman made no attempt at all to do anything more than suck the money out of the dumb kid with as little effort as possible. Still, they did me one favor - they PERMANENTLY cured me of having too much reverence for any bike shop. For that, I will forever be grateful. It's also why you won't see me joining the "buy your bike from a proper bike store" crowd. I KNOW better.

Trust - but Verify
Despite the Gregg's salesman, I DID get my money's worth out of the bike, as you can see from what is left of the paint. Even a frame that is FAR too big for the rider can give many miles of riding pleasure. That bike rode miles in Seattle, Los Angeles, many towns around LA, Everett, and, finally in North Texas. Nowadays, I keep it mainly to remind me that bike shops should not be trusted any more than any other business. In the words of Ronald Reagan - "Trust, but verify." As significantly, that bike was within sight the minute I met my future wife. Better yet, I changed out those steel rims before they killed me. They were gone before the last "close call" I had with a car - around 1974, bombing down Admiral Way in West Seattle at nearly 40MPH when a motorist decided to pull out from a driveway without proper caution. Such an event would not be worthy of even a mention in this blog nowadays. Experience truly is valuable.

Having told y'all about my LAST new bike, I have weakened and bought a second. This one was bought nearly 40 years to the day after the first. Yes, I have to admit that even "Buddy" was a used bike. All I can say is what my wife calls me - "cheap." Well, and it arrived today...

What's in the Box? On the Porch, this Afternoon.


Pondero said...

I think I know where this is headed, and I couldn't be more proud. Looking forward to all the tasty details.

RANTWICK said...

ooh! ooh! How dare you? I have no idea where this is headed! You suspense-building bastard.

John Romeo Alpha said...

Does that box say Kilo TT Pro on it? Fixed! Fixed! Fixed! Whoo hoooo!

Apertome said...

I have an idea, unless the box is wrong. Can't wait to see it!

Janice in GA said...

::on tenterhooks, waiting for The Big Reveal::

limom said...

So lemme get this straight.
Since that bike, you've stolen every bike you've had since?
As far as the new bicycle: receipt or it didn't happen.

Tracy W said...

A fixie! Sounds pretty cool. You gonna put a brake on it or ride it like the kids do?

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