|"VINTAGE LIFE CYCLES"
CANADIAN & VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHT BICYCLE
VINTAGE AND HIGHER END FINDS
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|COLLECTED BICYCLES THAT ARE A CUT ABOVE|
|Winter fast approaches and the supply of vintage lightweights at the landfill site has dropped off considerably. Yard sales are few and far between and it would appear that the best times for collecting vintage lightweights is over for 2003. The upside, however, lies in the falling leaf thing that preceeds the white misery that accompanies the freezing temperatures. As the branches shed their cover, it becomes easier to see the fall crop of ten speeds that have moved form the basement or shed to out of doors. Next stop might well be the dump.
The first year's collection efforts have proved rewarding beyond all expectation. Between eight and ten high end bikes have been acquired for next to nothing, with one exception - a mid eighties Bainchi "Premio" acquired for $65.00. Even at the price, the "Premio" was a bargain.
1976 SEKINE "MEDIALLE" SHT
198? BIANCHI "PREMIO"
1982 SEKINE "TOLEDO"
1986 PEUGEOT "PS28"
1982 BIANCHI "REKORD" 848
198? NISHIKI "CONTINENTAL"
These are the High End cream of the crop. Nothing legendary but certainly what we are all looking for in a high end vintage bicycle.
|NOT QUITE HIGH END, BUT THE BEST RIDE DESERVES CREDIT!|
|The Made in Canada Peugeot UO9 "Super Sport is the best bike to ride in the collection. The bicycle has a very long wheel base affording it an all but uncanny feeling of stability. It was the bike of choice for, virtually, every long ride this past summer. This is the bike used to conduct an investigation into the vices and virtues of the infamous leather saddle.|
|DO YOU HAVE TO
RIDE THE BEST TO GET THE BEST RIDE?
|So what does this tell you about bicycles? To me, it suggests something I believed almost from the "get-go" in collecting vintage lightweight iron. Though really nice to have, one does not need to ride the best to get the best ride. The Peugeot UO9 "Super Sport is not made of super chrome-moly tubing. Nope! Simple high carbon "Carbolite 103", the same stuff used in the lowest end Canadian Peugeots. There is not a "Campy" component on the bicycle, yet the machine shifts with incredible smoothness, rivaled by no other bicycle in the collection. The tires and thron resistant tubes were purchased at a Canadian Tire department store for a very modest fee. Andthe long wheelbase imparts a smooth ride that has to be experienced to be appreciated. A great bicycle, to say the least.|
HOW CAN VINTAGE COMPETE?
|Even though the ride of the Peugeot UO9 "Super Sport" is the best to ride, it is not the easiest to ride! The Bianchi "Premio" and the Canadian made Miele are, by far, the easiest to ride. Technology, in the form of indexed shifting, more sophisticated materials and good old human know how, is on the higher end bicycle's side. But the older bikes, suffering from being technologically challenged, are still be an absolute pleasure to ride, though I would not expect a racing oriented person to appreciate this comment. There is even value in taking an old department store lightweight out for a spin. If nothing else, that experience will make it easier to appreciate the virtues of a well engineered and constructed bicycle, such as many of the ones featured on this and other pages of this web site.|
|What does it take to meet the requirements for vintage classification. Twenty five years or older, is one measure but not the only one. A twenty three year old bicycle might be included if it had componentry of an antiquated nature. Cottered cranks, ten speeds or less, 27" wheel rims(alloy or steel), freewheels, friction shifting and lugged steel frames are a few of the "vintage" indicators. As often as not, it is the components that give away a bicycle's vintage. At times it is the only way to estimate vintage.
An AGDA leather saddle on a French made Peugeot UO8, coupled with early Simplex friction transmission and 27" steel wheels speaks vintage loud and clear. However, such componentry might well also scream cheap entry level and, with this in mind, it is important to understand that knowledge is a valuable tool. Without it you might just end up paying too much for a bicycle that should be in the local landfill. I know this from experience.
|ONE YEAR/ONE HUNDRED BIKES!|
|In less than a year, over one hundred bicycles have entered, stayed and/or left the collection. Initially, if a bike had two skinny wheels and a set of racing handlebars, it was snapped up. Experience has shown that this is an exercise in stupidity. The flow of vintage lightweight bicycles to the local landfill site is astonishing! One community of just over one hundred thousand people can sustain a flow of several hundred bicycles per year to the dump. I know this from experience.
Weekly trips to the dump are rarely unrewarded. Almost every trip reveals several new additions to the bicycle bone pile. A rough estimate would be about twenty bicycles per week tossed away for whatever reasons. This adds up to roughly a thousand bicycles per year - just from one relatively small community. Multiply that by the literally thousands of communities, small and large, that are no different from the one that I live in, and the level of bicycle destruction becomes horribly apparent. Even though there were, literally, millions of lightweight bicycles sold during the seventies and early eighties, the supply cannot and will not last forever.
I no longer look longingly at every lightweight. Of the hundred or so bicycles that I have acquired during the past year, only fifty-two bikes still remain in my buldging work shed. Of the remaining fifty-two, only about a dozen are still of interest to me.
That is not to say that the unwanted bicycles are not worth collecting. Hardly! But is does mean that I, personally, do not need three Canadian made Peugeot UO9 "Super Sports" or five of the Made in France cousins that are most commonly referred to as Peugeot UO8's.
With this in mind, the collection must be culled and I cannot bring myself to throw away vintage or high end bicycles.. Since there is all but no market for these old bicycles in this aea, the Ebay experience shall take on new meaning. Bikes that I do not want will be offered up for sale on Ebay. By the way, the Ebay experience is fun!
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