Group Rides

Join us for evening indoor training rides on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:30pm at the Recycle Bicycle Shop in downtown Ellensburg.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Falling again - vintage bikes

I've documented over the past couple of years about my foray into what are called C&V bikes or classic and vintage. My bikes are typically more classic than vintage. Although, I do have two French ones that are from the late 1960's. It's funny, though, because even though they are more than 40 years old I don't see them as "old".

I have had several people ask me how I find these bikes. It can be a mix of Craigslist, garage sales and Bike Forums contacts (obtained two bikes via this latter route). So, I figured it was time to document the lucky process of obtaining my latest ride. I am always looking at bikes, but not usually with the intent to buy. I like to see what is on the market and what the market prices are. Frankly, I've got enough bikes ... well, sort of.

In August, 2010 I noticed a road bike with a Selle San Marco Concor saddle sitting outside a pawn shop in Yakima, WA. I've always wanted to try that saddle out on one of my bikes and the original versions on Ebay easily sell for over $50 if in good shape. I pulled into the parking lot to take a further look.

It turns out the bike was a Trek, and an old one at that. The metallic gray paint was something used prior to 1984. The thing was a true "Frankenbike" with a mix of Shimano, Suntour, Rigida and Campagnolo parts - Japan, France and Italy represented. Both tires were flat and in poor condition. The nice Sakae Road Champion handlebars had been cut and flipped to make pseudo bullhorn bars by someone who thought they were kind of hipster. The chain was obviously too short for the 14-32 mega range 6 speed freewheel. But, no matter - it was still an interesting bike.

I walked back to my car with the serial number from the bottom bracket and pulled up the Vintage Trek website. The serial number decoded to a 1981 Trek 510 22"/56 cm frame. A little tall for my height but still a decent, light bike. The tubing was Ishiwata 022 which is comparable to Columbus SL or Tange #2: decent and lightweight.

The price listed on the bike was $89.99. I walked away. Heck, I didn't need a new bike.

Six weeks later the bike was still sitting outside the pawn shop so I stopped again. Now the price was down to $70. Shoot, this was getting a little more interesting. The bike had sat out in a few rainstorms and the nasty look to the saddle had cleaned up quite a bit. I talked to a clerk inside about trading a .22 revolver for the bike but they didn't want the revolver. The clerk said she'd let the bike go for $60 plus tax. I walked away.

In the meantime, I sold a re-issued version of the Selle Italia saddle to a guy in the Seattle area via Craigslist. I had only had the saddle for 6 months but never got comfortable on it versus the original ones that I have on two bikes so it was expendable.

After selling the saddle I decided to go by the pawn shop again. If the bike was still there I had the $60 in hand to buy it since I was obviously meant to have it. I pulled into the lot and scanned all the bikes. Sure enough, it was still there but there was a white piece of paper hanging on the bikes. I sauntered over to take a look - 50% off all bikes. Ok, I really was meant to have this bike.

I promptly walked inside and found a clerk who came out, unlocked the bike from the others and then we went back inside so I could pay. Total with tax was a little over $37. I couldn't be more happy because that was less than what I sold the reissued Turbo saddle for. I essentially sold a bike seat and bought a complete bike!!!

Now time for some photos:

This is how I first saw the bike at the pawn shop - not very pretty

After getting it home and cleaning it up a little
(with donor wheels)

The bike was picked up on a Friday and by Sunday afternoon I had installed a set of drop handlebars, aero brake levers (used from the bike shop for $20) and new brake cable. Courtesy of another rider here in the valley I put a set of Mavic GP4 tubular wheels with brand new Servizio Course sew up tires from on it. Further clean up, degreasing and setting up the fit and it was ready for some minor riding on the road to ensure the tires were centered on the rim.

Here's the bike - cleaned up and just needing clipless pedals and bar tape
Notice the very long chainstays and wheelbase = comfy ride

Cleaned and polished brake calipers

The Concor saddle - it's actually quite comfortable

The classic early 80's Trek headbadge

After a couple of days I couldn't wait any longer and I installed some clipless Shimano SPD pedals on the bike and road it with my mountain bike shoes. On Saturday the black Look Delta pedals I had purchased from another BikeForums member showed up and they immediately went on the bike.

I have had it out twice now and really like the smooth ride. The bike was sold as a sport tourer. It's got a long wheelbase so it goes over bumps more smoothly but doesn't necessarily handle corners as quickly as my three other race oriented frames. I'll train on it next year but also plan on doing some light touring with the bike for overnight camping trips. Trek provided a lot of flexibility with this frame.

Does it always work out this successfully - absolutely not. But, the thrill of the hunt for a good, reasonably priced (preferrably cheap) bike is what makes it all so much fun. I guess I now understand the thrill my wife has in shopping clearance racks for good deals.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Taking a little time

It's fall again. Time to stop and think about how our cycling year went. Did you accomplish what you wanted as far as total miles, group rides, racing, long distance rides, tours, etc.? Did your fitness improve over the year? Are you burned out and looking for a break?

I used to hear people say cycling was a cumulative sport and thought they were crazy. But, after three and half solid years back on the bike consistently I have to say I believe it. Over the course of three summers my average speed has gone up by 4 mph. The biggest gains are from the first year to second as I had a lot of catching up to do in the aerobic fitness arena. I was strong from weightlifting but the lung capacity left something to be desired.

After last year I was convinced I had peaked in my speed and power. But this year, with focused and intense training, I saw the average speed continue to increase - only about 1 mph. It can be done but it takes alot of dedication and focus. My wife would probably say I'm too focused on cycling but you almost have to be.

A couple of weeks ago I took a week off the bike (well I snuck one mid-week 15 mile ride in). Mentally it was extremely hard because the weather was fantastic but I knew it was best. My weightlifting days taught me a lot about overtraining and the plateaus that can happen if you train too much without rest. As I've gotten older I have realized my body just doesn't recover like it used to. So, after three hard days of riding I'll take one day off. Before big rides I'll take two complete days off.

What I haven't done is focus on some massage therapy for the legs. That's one of the things on the schedule for next season to see if that actually helps the legs and the mind recover a little better.

Now is the time to set your goals for 2011. Mix in short term with long term goals. For example, my overall goal this year was to get 3000 miles in on the bike. I'll hit that goal as I'm at 2900 right now. For me that's quite an accomplishment as I'm limited to about an hour and fifteen minutes a day to ride.

My 2010 goals looked something like this:

1) Begin road rides in February/March depending on weather to build base miles
2) By April start hill climbing work once a week
3) By May hill climb work should be up to 2 or 3 times a week to prep for the I Made the Grade hill climb in June.
4) June through September would see more interval training, some time trialing type work and a few longer distance rides to prepare for the Manastash Metric
5) October and November - three hard rides a week, one slower ride and weight training 2-3 days a week.

Enjoy the "off season" but also start planning for 2011 and write down what you want to accomplish.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A great Manastash Metric

Saturday October 2nd saw another wonderfully successfully edition of the Manastash Metric/Half-Metric Century ride here in Kittitas County. The RSVP folks that sponsor this event have done a great job in creating an event that provides great comradery, food and fun with a course that can be challenging and beautiful at the same time.

The day started about 10 degrees warmer than 2009 but with a fairly thick blanket of fog. This delayed many riders from leaving as early as 7:30 am. By 8:30 when I started the ride there were many more riders showing up and checking in.

The fog lasted until the Ellensburg golf course on the S. Thorp highway and from then on it was beautiful fall weather. A small headwind welcomed riders to Elk Heights and then the trees helped make the wind less annoying. Most riders probably expected a tailwind from Cle Elum to Ellensburg and it seems that failed to materialize.

The barbecue after the ride was a great addition and the food definitely was welcome. By 11:30 the temperatures were in the high-60 degree range and heading upward.

Of course, what would a ride be without my focusing on some C&V (classic and vintage) rides. I was riding a 1978 Peugeot PX-10 and my dad was on his mid-80's Vitus 979 aluminum frame bike. Below are a few photos of those other C&V bikes I saw before heading home.

This 1982 Bianchi was being ridden by it's original owner. It appears to have seen a lot of miles but, like a well maintained car, these bikes will treat it's owner well with some routine work.

I never did find the owner of this bike - I suspect it's a late 80's to early 90's model

Finally, this bike was beautiful. 1986 Univega Nuovo Sport mixte. But, what was even better was how excited the owner was to have climbed every hill without walking. On a beautiful day this accomplishment means even more and it was all made possible by the RSVP organization.

By the way, I think this bike got more comments than any other one on the ride