I’ve always loved cycling. Right from my very first 2 wheeler - a red Vindec - through to the assortment of bikes I own today - it is a hobby & passion that has stayed with me all my life. Despite overwhelming evidence of my 74 years on earth when I ease slowly out of bed each morning, when I get on a bike - at least in my mind anyway - those years fall away & I’m a teenager once more. I learned how to maintain bikes with my Vindec & as I accumulated very small amounts of money from my paper route I schemed how it could transform into a racing bike. The LBS in Balham (South London) had a beautiful Peugeot frame in blue & yellow hanging in the window - way beyond my wildest dreams - but they also sold Claud Butler frames & it is one of those I was eventually able to buy. I don’t remember the model, it wasn’t top of the line or a coveted Holdsworth, but still a huge leap forward.
Claud went through a slow & painful transformation from Frankenbike as I could gradually afford better brakes, derailleurs, saddle & bars, all the while I became more & more familiar with how to put them all together. Mafac brakes & Campagnolo gears were the gold standard then. My memory is hazy but I think Weinmann’s & Simplex were what my budget ran to. That bike carried me many a mile. To school & back in every type of weather, on day rides that went further & further as well as on youth hosteling holidays in the south of England. One day I remember we banged off a 100 mile round trip down to Brighton with plenty of time to enjoy the beach mid-ride. Those early days gave me a love of cycling which has never gone away. I have a Claud Butler again - this time a 1972 red one that I bought sight unseen from a guy in Vancouver. It was his grandfather’s bike & came originally from the UK. It is kept company by a 1973 Raleigh Gran Sport, a 1971 Atala (that’s how I met Curtis), a 1988 Bianchi & a 1987 Gardin - the fastest bike of any that I own!
Rounding out the stable are a modern Di2 Roubaix, a Marin hardtail MTB & a Stromer e-bike for those days of light shopping where you really don’t want to take the car. The vintage bike collection grew from my need for a pandemic hobby. I bought them in various states of repair (or disrepair!) & whiled away the social distancing era rebuilding them with parts from all over the world. Last year I set myself a challenge - to ride my age plus the age of my bike - in that case 122 km on my Claud Butler. Osoyoos to Penticton & back did the job nicely coming in at 126km. Each year it gets a little harder but I’m hoping to ride from West Kelowna to Osoyoos this year.
Now I greatly enjoy riding each of the vintage bikes with the Classic Mondays Crew - a great group of guys with an eclectic collection of machines of their own. I can’t wait for the weather to warm up just a little bit so we can all get going again.
The roads always stretch out ahead. Grab a classic and come and join us!