05 September 2010

The Addition

Finally a new bike that can be used all year round in Bremen. And for 150 Euros only!

Well, I have to admit, that 150 Euro is rather the official price which is mentioned when I speak with my wife. Perhaps we can see it that way: The frame was purchased for about that money, however additional investments in tires, tubes, saddle post, bar tape and a brand new rim on the front wheel with 36 bomb-proof spokes added substantially to the amount. Still, the "Blue Boy" was much cheaper than say, two Carbon saddle posts for my Cervelo.

And cheap it should be, as this is the main specification for bike owners in Bremen. Bikes get stolen all the time. The Bergamont cross bike from my landlord, that I have used the first couple of months here got stolen last week. And there is hardly anybody here that couldn't tell a similar story. So above all things I need a cheap bike, one that easily can be replaced by another cheap bike, one I am not that emotionally attached to in case it get stolen.

Bremen is the city of old , rusty steel frame road racing bikes. Perhaps I should buy some and send them to Japan for refurbishment and sales, I possibly can make a fortune.

Second, it must be possible to ride the bike through the seasons. And the main seasons in Bremen are rain, windy and cold. And the forth one, summer is a little bit warmer, windy and still with a lot of rain. So a proper bike needs long mudguards on the front and on the rear.

I had some problems with the bike shop in Bremen (Fahrrad Feinkost) where I bought this perhaps 25 year old Dutch, steel-framed Gazelle bike. When I came to collect it the first time the rims where still in terrible shape. We agreed on a new date and still nothing had been done when I called. "So when will the bike be ready?" "We will let you know."  Again I felt the gap in service attitude compared to Tokyo. So when the bike shop finally called me to let me know that the bike was ready for pick-up, I told them "Sorry, I cannot drop in, I am currently in Tokyo and will stay here probably for the next three weeks." "OK, you can pick it up when you come back from Tokyo." "Sure, but I will probably continue to travel to Rio. I will let you know once I am back." So after keeping the bike long enough in the shop to decrease inventory turns and increase accounts receivable for the shop management to become noticeable I picked it up finally yesterday evening. An event that wasn't by chance coincidental with a visit of my aunt and uncle in town.

In the eighties my uncle owned a Koga-Miyata racing bike which he proudly showed off to us Renault, Raleigh of Motobecane riding nobodies. He was the first person I knew who had a bike with tires glued on the rims, a concept still so strange to me that I continue to stay with clinchers. So I knew that he would become rather excited about this steel frame bike and Japanese etiquette would require my dear wife to become not too excited in the oposite direction. In fact we had a very pleasant evening and to this very hour the bike wasn't mentioned any more in domestic conversations.

I made some final adjustments today and took some photos for this post. By chance I took a closer look at the clamps fixing the cables on the top tube and there was the magic word: "Dura Ace". I fell in love immediately. Actually the bike has quite some nice features: A standard crank plus a 14 - 19 6 speed cassette which is basically a two speed setup. And look at these tiny levers, compared to the dual control Ultegra levers! Surprisingly the cables are routed under the bar tape. And and and. This must ne love, definitely. I will take her out for a spin tomorrow morning.

And visit the bike shop on Monday to buy a huge steel lock so that nobody will ever take her away from me.

4 comments:

David L. said...

Looks beautiful, Michael. Far too nice for a "cheap" bike, and way too late for you to avoid an emotional attachment!

TOM said...

Very classic - just beautiful !

Makes one wonder if Jan Verdoest is still around...

mob said...

Oh yes, Jan Verdoes is still very much alive:

http://www.verdoesfietsen.nl/privatelabel/index.html

Thinking it over after riding Gazelle to work every day, I am now in need for another cheap bike with less emotional attachment.

Manfred von Holstein said...

Definitely too nice to get stolen! And possibly in particularly high risk due to its looks!