All over the place there are old cheap and medium bikes that have been resurrected as modern street bikes and have secret artsy touches that can’t be had and will never again come on modern cheap or medium bikes. I have a mini-fascination with these bikes, at least to the extent that I always look for them and stop when I see them. It’s just the old kind of trickle-down from high-end to low-end, but it doesn’t happen anymore, since high-end isquitefrankly so blagly (bland + ugly). Here are some now ancient bikes with the kinds of details (specifically, fork crowns) that I’m talking about. All found in the west village of NYC, but they’re really all over the place.
Motobecane from the late ’70s. Flat crown, ornamental shoreline.
Raleigh from the ’60s? I completely dig these tubular crowns that must have been made from scraps at the factory, then closed at the end with a nice chome plug. Flat and tubular at the same time.
Flying Pigeon: The famous most popular bike in China. Maybe the biggest bike maker in the world? Riveted head badge, stamped-and-visible serial number, flat crown, good clearance, striped fenders—two color stripes, even. On a bike like this? It’s so great.
Sears Free Spirit. 1970s, I’m sure. More striped fenders, good clearance, and a twin-plate style crown with a cheap chromed cap. Matching paint and fenders. Totally cool, wonderful.
Ross from the ’70s. A lousy decade for pop music, hairstyles, men’s shirts and pants…but good for bikes. Chromed flat crown with a one-piece crank, even. Ribbed and striped fender. These bikes were on every other pole.
Schwinn Varsity. This fork, the most aero of all time, is a flat piece of steel, continuous from left dropout to right dropout, and with a nice chromey crowny thing. The Bridgestone “Technart” Fork—-which really belongs here, but I don’t have access and it’s just not worth tracking one down. If you have one and send a photo, I won’t post it…it’s a small thing. Well, maybe I would, but really, don’t look. If you have a Bridgestone Carmel from 1982-3-4, that’ll do.
Raleigh, old one again, another view of this wonderful crown. But it’s the fender mohawk that steals the show in this picture. So, so cool. And look at the fender tab, so integrated. Let’s not get overly sentimental about these things…but they are neat, right?
Raleigh later on, more sporty flat crown. The funky R decal there—-no, shouldn’t’ve done it. But the crown is fine, and the lug there.
Huffy. Flat top with chrome cap and that super chunk sleeve-thing coming out from it. Matching fenders, striped and all—-and on a Huffy. This is really cool, and speaking of cool, look at the Kool-Stop shoes. It makes you wonder what the salesperson said or what the motivation was to buy the most expensive brake shoes for this inexpensive bike. And they match both the paint and the tire, or close enough. This kind of thing makes me happy on a normal street-walk.
NOW: Compare those to this modern bike:
It looks like a dementor.
There’s nothing arty or to look at on this bike. The internal headset—it’s like how kids draw bikes, and it’s hard to find anything to harp on. It’s whole deal is absence. I’m not into it.
YouNew Yorkers may know the White Horse Taven on Hudson as the last bar Dylan Thomas ever took a drink in. He died on November 9, 1953, just 59 years and 6 months to the day from the date of this posting, and to force another coincidence, I ride a 59cm A. Homer Hilsen. There is some controversy as to whether he died from drink or a bad injection of morphine intended to clear up some pneumonia, and you can read about that here:
There have been allusions to a new Moustache H’bar. Here’s a comparison, old and new:
So: less reach and drop, more comeback, and wider. We’ll have these in a month or so. We have a few of the old ones left. We still LIKE the old ones. The newies are not an improvement as much as a reshapement, and only slightly, at that. They’ll work with a lower stem, so they won’t be as dependent on a DirtDrop stem as the others were. Oldies were 51cm wide, newies shall be 55.5cm—a bit less than an inch per side.
We’re looooooking at a Mini-RIV retail spot in a town nearby. It would be our first foray into the real world. We might not get it, but there’s a chance. I wonder what it would be like to be in a strip mall, and we may find out.
I am not much of a wingtip-wearer, but in my advancing age I’ve come to like them a little, and four years ago I got a pair and wear them only rarely when I have to, even though I like them—-my lifestyle does’t call for them. And then about a month ago I found another pair I Had to Have, and—-uncharacteristically I bought them. I got a $5,000 royalty check from the publisher, and before turning it fully over to college tuition, I bought a pair of these, which you have to admit are the kinds of shoes you’d like to wear everyday so they can aquire great beausage:
But here is the pisser, at least from where I sit: They’re a hair too narrow. No, I don’t want to stretch them. Yes, I can take them back to Nordstrom and they’ll take care of me. But I see this as my fault, and although I don’t begrudge any of you your returning rights, once you l iive for a while on the receiving ends of returns, you get really reluctant to return anything, and that’s where I am. So I wanna sell them. They are Allen Edmonds Neumok, in olive, and 10E, and I had a thin rubber sole glued on over the leather one—for better pedal-gripping and less queasy slop-walking. You can go to the Allen Edmonds site and see that they cost a lot, and the rubber soles cost me an extra $30. I would LOVE to take this opportunity to sell them to you for $140, which, if you do the research, you will find to be pretty cheap. I’ve worn them for about four miles of walking, and with clearn feet and fresh socks, and they still have that “new shoe smell.”
It’s up to you to know your size (these are 10E). If you have Allen Edmonds shoesm maybe you know. Don’t try them on locally just to get your size. I’d rather not sell them than be a part of that. But if you know and you understand that there are no returns, send me what they call a PM and then the $140, and then if they don’t fit you, you can sell them to somebody else. I’ma get me some 10EEEs..
This BLUG won’t turn into a place to sell used shoes. That is for sure.