Cycling Along The Way...

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Silver City, NM, United States
Riders of the wheel. Racers, Roadies, Mountain bikers, Touring cyclists, Commuters, and others. Diamond frames, recumbents, trikes, and more. Sharing a web of connections often misunderstood or unappreciated by those who don't ride. Herewith, my attempt to share some of the more rational thoughts that flit around inside my head while bicycling, knocking back a brew or three, or just thinking about life. Reviews of bicycles, gear, touring, and more, plus some unsolicited posts about people, politics, and philosophy. Other things, too. Me: retired, gave up my TV in 1988, avid cyclist, several cross country tours completed with more to come. Your thoughts?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Vitus and Cannondale Cleaned Up...

Got after the Vitus today and removed all the decals/stickers that I had put all over the frame.  After removing these, I saw what it was that I loved about the Vitus to begin with.  Its simple elegance.  A French frame, aluminum, when I  began to investigate it as a potential bike frame for me, back in 1984, I was worried about frame flex.  Back then, the worry was that the flex that was created by the rider's weight and the lightness of the frame would be wasted energy.  Further investigation into this led researchers to believe that all the energy put into a forward pedal stroke would eventually show itself, which it did.  So, while my weight was critical, I was within the parameters of acceptability for the Vitus.  I bought the bike.  Ralph Phillips, owner of Fair Wheel Bikes, was married at the time, 1984, to Martha Phillips, an ICU RN that I worked with at Tucson Medical Center then.  She had bought the bike complete with the latest in Shimano components..Dura Ace...$1150 was what I paid for it.  Martha, via Ralph, had purchased the bike but was not happy with it.  When I talked to Martha, she sent me to Ralph to see if this bike would be something I'd be interested in.  I was.  The Vitus 979 aluminum frame is French and it's lightweight.  Not in comparison to what's available today, but, for its time, it's lightweight.  A tight frame,  it is responsive and comfortable at the same time.  For me, it's been my personal Ferrari.  Not Italian, but a Ferrari nonetheless.  It was top of the line in 1984.  My friend, Russ Chang, was worried when I told him what I was buying.  He said that I would beat him every time we went out riding because he knew I was a stronger rider than he was, but he had a faster, lighter bike than mine, but, once I had the Vitus, mine would be lighter and faster than his...that, combined with my strength on the bike, would  push me past him on the bike.  Russ was correct.  He never beat me again.

My Cannondale, while I stated it was a ST600, in fact, it's a ST500.  It's birth was on 4/15/ day in 1986.  How whatever is that?  I don't know that "cool" is the term for that.  Anyways, it's a ST500.   I did buy it in 1987 for my cross country trip from Fairbanks, AK, to Wells Beach, ME.  I discovered a guy in Tucson, via Tucson Velo, who does powder coat paint jobs.  Got in touch with him and I'll be in Tucson in August to get my Cannondale repainted.  Brand new.  Very cool.  I want to look at the colors he can paint this frame.  Something new, exciting, bright.  Then I'll put a new Deore XT crankset and front derailleur on  it, along with new Shimano 105 shifters, all's stronger than the 10spd stuff that's out there.  So, for  touring, it's 9spd stuff all the way.  I've ordered a Nitto Dirt Drop stem that will raise the handlebars and move them forward a bit so that I can have a more upward seating position on the Cannondale.  I will  also get a new one for the Vitus, since I don't think I can beat Lance's record, with or without drugs to help me.  (Just an aside...Lance is Lance.  Whether he used drugs or not, he competed against other top riders who did use drugs...and won.  Seven Times.  So, no matter the outcome, Lance kicked ass and still does.  IMHO, he's the King.  All the others...sore ass losers  who are trying to bring him down.  No matter the outcome, Lance is BOSS.  Period.  End'o'story.)

So, once the new Nitto stem comes in, I will take the Vitus to the LBS and get it put together.  Then it's off to Tucson for a paint job for the Cannondale and a new looking touring bike.  Oh, and I get to go to Ajo Bikes and try the ICE Adventure trike.  Looking forward to that.

This week, I'll get back to reviewing gear.  I promise.  Now, a tune to exit with....Bob Segar..."Roll Me Away"...some shit is just timeless good and danceable from the getgo...