Sunday, August 1, 2010

Blasts from the past

I was at the Bridgetown Triathlon this weekend. After a, frankly, heroic trip to Coteau du Lac (and back) the Deer-Maimer made the 200 mile round trip without further complaint. I'm thinking an oil-change might go down well right now.

To keep myself awake I had the 2-disc "The Very Best of Meatloaf" in the CD changer. Seeing as I pretty much skipped through tracks to anything from "Bat Out of Hell"or "Midnight at the Lost and Found" I'd have been better off putting those in instead, but suppose it was worth the irony to hear classics from one's adolescence sandwiching "Life is A Lemon and I Want My Money Back".

So how about "Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad", a song with more ressonace for the 40 year old me than the 16 year old me

And of course, Paradise By The Dashboard Light, which means about the same.

But these aren't the blasts from the past I was referring to.

It's surprising what catches one's eye, especially after all the bike-porn I've seen in the past week. Carbon, Sram Red, Campy and deep-deep-deep-dish wheels are just so much m'eh now. Oh look, another two month's salary on deep-dish carbon wheels costing another month's. No biggie. Total acclimation. However, coming through TZ this afternoon I saw an unfamiliar shape; Shimano STI shifters don't look like that.

It was a Shimano 600 STI lever!

Wow, Shimano 600! When I was a young and stupid roadie, all of us on 105 dreamed of upgrading to 600, it was the bollocks. This was before STI shifting, so this was the early 90's. Well, actually you were (still are) either a Shimano person or a Campy person. I started off dreaming of 600 but ended up upreading to Athena instead. Of course, in those days a friction down-tube 105 lever would drive an Athena mech on a 105 freewheel. So we were able to upgrade piece-by-piece and buy a rear mech here, a front mech there, a set of brakes, down-tube shifters. Those were the days! Anyway, Shimano 600 gradually evolved in 600 Ultegra and eventually plain old Ultegra, which seems nearly ubiquitous on road-bikes of a certain calibre now. Indeed the Carrot is Ultegra throughout, all going to show eventually got what I wanted 20 years ago and, mid-post, is starting to make me ask if it was worth the wait.

I'm thinking of becoming a SRAM person anyway.

This whole bike, however, was a blast from the past.

Cadex carbon frame.

With lugs! This was from back in the day when tubes were bonded together with lugs because, well because they'd always been bonded with lugs and if it was good enough for Coppi and Anquetil it was good enough for us.

Good old-fashioned box-section rim Campy wheels with enough spokes to satisfy even me.

Funnily, to our "modern" eyes, this was a carbon frame with an alloy fork, not the other way around.

Dual pivot brakes too; those were the bomb back in 1991. I can't even remember the last time I saw a single-pivot side-pull. Even the cheapo-Shimano one I bought for the inevitable-Lemond-fixie-conversion last year was dual pivot!

I bet you could dismantle and overhaul the whole thing, bottom-bracket, headset and hubs, with a few wrenches, a screw-driver and a fist-full of Allen-keys. Those were the good old days. Torque-shmorque!

You know, I'd ride Crabon if it was like this!


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