Classic Cycle Thursdays!

Welcome to the first installment of a new feature I’ll be calling “Classic Cycle Thursdays.”

“Uh, but it’s not Thursday,” you’re probably thinking.

So what? I just like the way “Classic Cycle Thursdays” sounds. Who cares what actual day it is? Loosen up already–or if it really bothers you don’t read it until Thursday.

Right, so Classic Cycles is of course a bike shop on Bainbridge Island, WA, as well as the home of an incredible bicycle museum which includes in its vast collection such treasures as my Renovo wooden Fred chariot:

And my Ritte Rust Bucket:

As well as a stunning array of bicycles that are actually interesting, from the age of the pennyfarthing to the present day:

It was Paul Johnson of Classic Cycles who furnished me with my century-old Eroica California bike:

Lent me a 70 year-old Drysdale:

And of course hooked me up with my beloved New-To-Me Titanium Forever Bike:

Lob, I love that bike.

So what’s “Classic Cycle Thursdays”? Well, remember before streaming when Netflix would send you a DVD in a red envelope, and then when you were done watching it you’d send it back and they’d send you another one? Well, that’s what Classic Cycle Thursdays is, except instead of a movie they send me a vintage bike. And I’m pleased to report I just received my first delivery of 2020:

What could it be? Was there any way they managed to cram a pennyfarthing in there? God I hoped not.

Anxiously, I opened the case to reveal a pair of diminutive wheels shod in knobby tires:

I studied them with great curiosity. Where were the rotors? Why were the rims and tires so narrow? Were those…quick release hubs!?!

Peeling away the next layer of foam, I found this:

Along with a postcard:

More on “Pop” Brennan

Here’s what it said:

There was also a note from Paul:

Along with the pedals:

I probably have some old SPD cleats somewhere, but in the meantime I’m using my Time ATACs

Oh, and the note had a postscript:

You have been warned. I’d take him for his word too if I were you. I mean he wasn’t lying about the Biopace:

As old as the bike was, all the components were mechanically familiar (apart from the Hite-Rite, which is something I’d never handled before, though it was completely intuitive), and I got the bike together in no time:

Here’s the Classic Cycles page on the M-16

While this bike is before my time it’s not way before my time, and I used to have a Klein Rascal that was probably just a few years younger (though it was already a few years old by the time I got my hands on it):

Not my bike, image borrowed from here

At the time these bikes seemed burly and rugged, but today they seem dainty and almost elegant–especially the drivetrains, which were still pretty close to their road counterparts, functionally and aesthetically speaking.

The polished aluminum gleamed thrillingly and in a manner my photography completely fails to do justice, and I headed out for a ride immediately:

However, the gears were skipping, so I stopped to check it out and to take a few photos:

Which is when I noticed why the gears were skipping:

Just in case it’s not leaping out at you, the inner link is twisted. I briefly considered just twisting it back, but then I thought better of it. Instead, I headed back home and swapped the M-16 for the Jones:

Which I rode to the Trails Behind The Mall, thus affording me the opportunity to stop in the popular outdoor recreation store located in said mall, where I purchased a replacement chain for the M-16 as well as a spare 26″ inner tube.

Tomorrow morning I’ll slap that new chain on and pick up where I left off.

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