WELCOME! I've been cycling through the Southeast Valleys of Wales since 2010 and I can't say (or show) enough about the place. I just love it. So if you've got the interest and would like to spend some time... sit back and let me show you some of the fabulous places I've discovered.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Lizzy Rolls Again!

A short back story... In 1977 my trusted Schwinn Le Tour was stolen! She was my source of freedom. Yes I had a car, but this was the 70's and gas was expensive. Besides, bike touring was exploding in popularity. Riding your bike 20 miles outa town and camping was a crazy new experience. It was quirky, cool, and slightly rebellious, and it was awesome! But as shocking as having my trusty stead stolen, I was however; just graduating from high school and soon received some well deserved cash from my grandparents. (I was hardly an honour student and I'm sure most all of my family were just pleased to see me get any form of diploma... but I digress)

Do you remember these?... So cool.

Then in 1978 after a few months in university, my new best buddy and roommate showed up with his Christmas present... a brand new Fuji America. (Read about them here...) I was friggin' jealous to beat the band. It was gorgeous.. light and ready for adventure. I had to get a new bike... cash & envy were fueling my desire.

So in the spring of 1979 when I wandered past the window of my LBS (Toga Bikes in Greensboro, NC), I was gobsmacked with what I saw. There she was... not a Fuji America, but something even sexier... A Trek 700. Done. Graduation money well spent.

Click to read the juicy details...

Flash forward 34 years... I'm living in Wales. My trusty Trek has been boxed up since I moved here in 2010. I was concerned about her age, her 27 inch rims & tires, old style (small) brake blocks, old cables, finding parts, etc... blah, blah, blah. I had in fact purchased a new Dawes Ultra Galaxy in 2011 thinking that I needed to make the leap forward into the 21st century; ie, 700c rims, better/larger brake calipers, stronger frame, etc... blah, blah, blah.

She's in there...

For 2 years she's been quietly boxed away...

Hint #1: DO NOT leave your classic Trek bicycle
boxed up for 2 years...

Yeah... it was not pretty opening the case. I had cycled around Virginia, North & South Carolina for several months before hopping a plane to the UK. Then I just packed all my shit and was gone. Hint #2; DO NOT just pack your shit and go; ie, do not pack your classic Trek bicycle away dirty.

Checking all the parts & pieces... greasy bits & bobs...

Step #1: Cleaning & mold removal... urgh.

What a lovely day to play with my old friend; Lizzy. She's such a sweet bike. And she's been with me all these years... all over the US. I have no idea the miles... Many parts have been replaced and upgraded; Shimano 600 groupset in 1984 (from original Sun Tour)... new fork, handlebars & stem after being hit by a car in 1994... resprayed in 1997... new Campagnolo hubs & Wolber rims in 2003... new Sugino triple crank in 2007.

Look how skinny she is!

At this point I was stunned with a shocking flashback. After riding my Dawes for 2 years, I had forgotten how svelte Lizzy is... so incredibly light too. (I could not stop smiling...) Yes... I am truly attached to this object. I wholeheartedly love this thing... this lovely little bicycle.

How many places have we been together? How many adventures? Through all my adult life, through every bit of crap and bullshit, I've had my bike to ride... to just get on and pedal. To get the hell away from everything and ride. She's been my psychologist... my physical therapist... my spaceship.

Here she is fully tricked out...

Now it's 2013... I'm riding Lizzy... again. She's so light and responsive. I almost feel as if I'm cheating when I hit the mountains here in Wales. I see many cyclists on carbon fiber and aluminium bikes and I wonder; "do they know what it's like to ride on a vintage steel lugged frame?  Do they truly know what is meant by 'steel is real'?"

I do. And I am a lucky boy. Let the adventures begin... again.

For more reading pleasure:
Some of her stable mates can be seen at Vintage Trek
Thanks to Trek and Vintage Trek for the online catalog reprint: Trek American Handbuilt Frames
Read about Trek in the 1978 issue of Bicycling Magazine

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