It is always the last place you look! A perfect complement to our 97˚F / 82% humidity would be a sunset bicycle ride along historic Kelly Drive. The Art Museum Loop, we call it. As the day before, hitting a trail of somewhat smooth asphalt as Rush Hour hits its finest knuckle-whitening tension.
Yesterday everything was perfect. Pedal, sweat, hydrate. Using my E.U.-Approved water, I did not resolve my dehydration, but satisfied my thirst (no wonder the Brits Brexited). My 1980s Technium had performed like a champ.
But today? Its front wheel sounded like my back after cutting out three tons of boiler pipe. Once again, the spokes want service. Our local bike shop would have suggested -again- new rims, but until the wheel completely collapses, I’ll use the original Rigida wheels Raleigh installed three decades ago in Kent, Washington.
After searching everywhere, the Park Tool spoke wrench I’ve used for years is found. In, naturally, my Executive Tool Bag. An hour of tranquil “tuning” of my spokes returns the rim to true. The clatter is no more.
Fifteen years ago, I spied a decent 10-speed in a friend’s basement. Flat tires, peeling cork tape, through the dust I could see a special bicycle. Light, with high quality components. This is the bike that, in the mid-1980s, was the cutting edge. The top line offering. He would not part with it, though unridden for years. It would be another decade before daylight lit up the chrome.
IN THIS SMALL world of international sales and the shipping of anything, from thumbtacks to oil drilling rigs, getting a quality bicycle is a trip to a large sports-center. But the common high-tech bike was not always common. Back in the ’80s – the 1980s – an American subsidiary was working on a lighter bicycle frame. They produced the “first generation aluminum frames”.
Raleigh used a process to thermally bond dissimilar materials to produce frames for the Olympic team. The result was 3 gold medals, one silver and one bronze. – mombat
The story is one repeated throughout the history of humanity. Man meets woman. Man loves woman. Man and woman move in together. Woman tells man to clear out the cave; make some space for her.
So the bike finally made it to me. And at my accustomed price point for a bike wanting a hundred bucks of service. But he/she is now in excellent condition. The weekly pedal of a dozen miles along the Art Museum Loop. The quick jaunt to the post Office. All within my grasp, upon a classic. Always a dependable pleasure, hanging from hooks on my living room ceiling, ready to roll reliably without complaint.
Mid-1980s Raleigh Technium. Frame made in Kent, Washington, as well as assembly in the USA with additional top-line imported parts from France and Japan.