Many of you know I'm a fan of what are now referred to as classic and vintage (C&V) bicycles. For road bikes that pretty much means anything from the mid-1980's and older with downtube shifters and a 126mm or narrower rear dropouts on the bike. Basically these are the bikes that were popular when I was in high school and college.
I guess that means I must be classic and vintage now with graying hair and the ability to find a radio station whose sole format is playing the music I grew up with.
There is a growing community of C&V bike enthusiasts on the Internet from Classic Rendezvous, to individual blogs and finally to my favorite, Bikeforums.net. Bikeforums has numerous subforum topics on it's site but the one I frequent 85-90% of the time is dedicated to C&V bikes.
I have found over the past three years that this community of "virtual" friends are ready and willing to help each other out from support, to trading parts, to providing obscure bits and pieces for a project free to someone, etc. It's an amazing friendly community and it's that community that makes collecting these bikes so much fun and addicting. I have sold frames, traded parts, received three free bikes/frames, bought parts, sold parts, and in general had an outlet for this hobby of mine.
The other benefit of the Internet, though, is being able to finally meet these bike afficionados in person. My wife thinks it's kind of funny to call someone my friend - even though we've never met. Doesn't matter - we have a common interest. She has friends who have adopted children like us that she has never met and I don't find that strange.
Fortunately, for me I had a great opportunity to get together with two of these Internet buddies this past weekend and go for a ride in Snohomish county. By the way, explore other parts of the state - there are some fantastic places to ride. To date I've ridden in five different places in the state this year and also in Boise, Id. It helps keep our training fresh and new.
Back to the point of my rambling. Three of us got together to ride our vintage bikes - all from the 1980's and representing three countries - Italy, France and USA. The bikes respectively were a Colnago, Peugeot and Trek. The comradery you have while riding these older bikes is unexplainable. It's a pure joy to be out there on a 30 yo bicycle having a great conversation on a bright, sunny, windless day and know that we're not into the status of carbon fiber, the latest pro team kit for cycling wear, etc. We just want to ride our bikes.
So, don't discount the value of friendships developed online for a riding partners and ideas. Heck, you could just become a C&V junkie like the rest of us and enjoy stuff from the glory days of cycling.