|"VINTAGE LIFE CYCLES"
CANADIAN & VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHT BICYCLE
WHY BOTHER TO RESTORE A BICYCLE?
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|WHY BOTHER TO FIX UP AN OLD BICYCLE?|
|The reasons are many, with fun to do heading the list. Learning opportunities abound. Costs and facility requirements are minimal. Opportunities for improved physical fitness and environmental protection present themselves every time you drop your butt in the seat. There is, however, a single drawback - the whole business can become addictive!|
| I was sitting and thinking about why I was bothering to put together a web page. Egotism? Knowing me, probably. But after giving it some more thought, and this does not discount the egotism thing, I believe that I am trying to help others in their quests to restore old bicycles..
In years gone by, I used to restore motorcycles. Harley Davidson, Indian, Triumph, Ariel, Cleveland and Brough Superior, just to name a few. People often used to ask me how I did what I did, which was �do it for minimal outlay of cash�. I even wrote a book about it. But the long and short of it is simple - �learn�. Yep! Simply acquire information pertinent to your area of focus. Apply what you learned. Screw up at first and learn from that also. All too often we make a mistake, sometimes costly, and quit. One of the nice things about bicycle restoration - it isn�t costly. I can�t think of a hobby that has the potential to be cheaper than collecting bicycles except, perhaps, saving dirt.
Let�s qualify that last statement. If you want to have a pristine, original, still in the box, 1974 Raleigh International, owned by Lance Armstrong when he was a kid, then the acquisition, maintenance, insurance, etc � will not be cheap. But if you are happy to watch the spokes of the front wheel bouncing sunlight in the morning, for under a hundred bucks, and can settle for a good to very high quality vintage ten speed, then continue with me for a bit. If you wish to feel a certain confidence, that you can deal with a few of the more common road problems, flat tires and the like, keep up. And, if you like the idea that what costs you very little today might be worth considerably more tomorrow, then you will begin to understand a portion of the value attached to fixing up an old bicycle. Did I mention that it is good for you (and the environment) to ride a bicycle?
Old bikes are easy to acquire. Incredibly easy! You might even get lucky and end up with a gem. Perhaps others would not think that an old Holdsworth, hand built in England, vintage race bicycle that was found at the dump, is a gem, but I do. And isn�t it what you think that counts?
There is nothing heavy to lift when restoring a bike. Everything is conveniently portable. Few facilities are required. Storage, for a single bike, is almost a non-issue. Most tasks - and I mean tasks like fixing a flat, cleaning and replacing wheel bearings, checking a frame�s integrity, warping tape on handlebars, and even truing wheels � are well with in most people�s capability range.
I started doing this restoration thing, and I use the word restoration loosely, in January 2003. In the seven months that have passed, I have probably dragged well over fifty bicycles home. Presently there are about twenty-five bikes in the shed, twelve of which are quite special to me. Nine, of the twelve, are solid runners, some I like very much and one I hate (to ride), even though it is a very interesting bike.
I had no goal when I started out. I am into commuting to and from work, which is an eight-mile ride each way. Actually, it�s eight miles in and who knows going home. A friend rides a road bike and the idea of trying one out interested me. However, I own and ride a very nice mountain bike and, I just could not justify spending another $1,500.00 for a road bike.
Quite by accident, I was offered my choice of several bikes from a collection of about two hundred (the bikes had been set aside at a local landfill site for good neighbor purposes).
Without knowing it at the time, I was hooked. These old bikes are great to ride, spark conversation where-ever you go and are, most likely, appreciating in value as we share these thoughts. And, they are not all that dfficult to fix up.
As I reflected on these virtues, I realized that there was another important benefit to me. If I put the bicycles back exactly the way they were first made, then I could, in a sense, go back in time and experience a different level of technology. The collecting, fixing, riding aspects of this hobby are all that hobbies usually are and then some. Then some? Comparing machines, ride for ride, has been great. Are those leather seats that good? How were the brakes in those days? Have things really improved that much? And here�s a personal favorite, �Are Peugeots made in France better than those made in Canada?�
I hope to share my restoration ideas and philosophies with others, pertaining to how to go about fixing up an old bicycle and getting the most out of riding and owing it.
On the smug side, as bicycle restorers, we are acting in a very environmentally friendly manner. We are encouraging an improved level of fitness for ourselves and, due to the public nature of bicycle riding and our high visibility as riders, we are advocates for others to follow. And I believe firmly that the interest in the bicycle will increase rapidly for a host of reasons. But that is another story�.
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