Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Bike Shop Tales: The Bike Acquisition Syndrome Part II

Working in a bicycle shop, loving to ride bicycles, and not having many "in the stable" can be a recipe for a "feeding frenzy"..............

Last week I went over how I acquired my steel, front suspended hard tail rig. Well, in the same year, I ended up getting my first "real" road bike. Oh sure........I had a "road bike shaped object" at one time. One of those 70's era ten speed things that were horrifically heavy and poorly built. I got that during my first year out of high school from a friend that was going to college. It didn't last long. On my way home from a late night tryst with a local female I found a hole in the ground that swallowed my front wheel, and dumped me right on my head. The walk home was a bit humiliating. Bent front fork and a pretzeled wheel. Yeah.......chicks didn't dig it!

So that put me off road bikes for......well............I still am not really a fan! I figured that skinny tires wouldn't do what I wanted, and to a degree, they still don't, but my reasons are entirely different now for that decision. But I digress............

It isn't like I never had a skinny tired road bike, and as I mentioned, during the first year at Advantage Cyclery, I got my hands on one. Interestingly enough, it has something to do with a very well known mountain bike-centric company that only recently came to offer road bikes...........or did they try it earlier?

Well, I was repairing bikes in the spring and lots of the roadie guys were getting set up for all the criteriums that take place in the Mid-West during the spring and early summer. One of the guys was a young fellow I would later do my long western self supported tour with. His name was Ryan. He came in one day with a rather battered looking frame and fork. He said that I should just take this crappy old steel frame and fork and throw it away. It was too big for him, and he had just gotten a newer road rocket that fit him better. This old thing was just in his way. He figured it was so used up it was worthless.

I had no idea if he was wrong or right, but the Scottish in me rises up when someone wants to throw something away that may still have value. So, I offered to take it. Not only that, I insisted I pay him for it. (Well......maybe that was an un-Scottish-like thing to do!) At any rate, I thought it looked like it might fit me, and heck, I didn't have a road bike. I figured I may as well jump in to see if I'd like it better now than before. $25.00 exchanged hands and I was the proud owner of a completely scratched up and slightly rusty Tommasini.

Well, Tom (my boss) came in later, saw the frame and fork, and his eyes got huge. "Where did you get that!", he said as he pointed with excitement towards the battered white frame. I thought he was going to be angry, but he was actually stoked. It turned out, (as you roadies already know), that I had scored a rather rare frame and fork. Tom insisted that I "do it right" and get it restored. Before I knew it, he had called the Tomassini importer who knew the frame and who had originally bought it. Tom also found out he had original decals for it. He hung up the phone and declared that I had better find somebody to paint it now, because my decals were coming.


So, several days later I was working when Tom came up from his office with a Chesire grin on, which meant he was in posession of some mind blowing knowledge that he was about to lay on me in his tantalizingly slow, teasing style. When it came out finally, he had let me in on a deal of a lifetime. And this is where that mountain bike company I mentioned earlier came in.

You see, Fisher Bikes, who had recently been purchased by Trek, was planning an introduction of road bikes. A complete line up was in the works. This was in the mid-90's mind you! Well, then a certain three time Tour deFrance winner's company was bought out by Trek, and suddenly all the components gathered for the introduction of Fisher road bikes were not going to be used. Complete Campagnolo bike kits were being offered to Fisher and Trek dealers for rediculous prices. Everything but the frame and fork. And I had that!

So it was that a full Campy Veloce' 8 speed Ergo Power road group meant for a Fisher road bike ended up on a restored Tomassini road rocket. My first ever "real" road bike.

Next week...........More Bikes!!


mw said...

i think having 6 or so bikes is perfectly normal! that's what shop life will do to a man.

Unknown said...

Mark, I wanted to email you personally, but couldn't get a hold of your email. I just wanted to say thanks for your kind words on mtbr.com about the TI write up from last year. Boy, that picture really captures the moment I was getting dropped in those rollers. Still not sure how I hooked back on, it's all a blur. Reading that tale again that I wrote so fresh after the event really put me right back in the saddle. Can't wait to see you again, this time on my birthday. I'll be on a Chili Con Crosso and hopefully ready to fly! Take care and thanks again.

Guitar Ted said...

@mw: ha! Well, I guess I went overboard then. I would definitely fall into the "or so" category! :)

@Tim: Hey, you are welcome. You four guys were killing it out there and I still am in awe of your efforts last spring.

I hope to see you and wish you a Happy Birthday in Grinnell!!