I opened the Colnago box first. It didn’t contain a Colnago. It contained a postcard:
It also contained handlebars and wheels:
As for the the travel case, it contained not one…
…but TWO vintage velocipedes:
So I summoned my son to the basement and got to work:
Obviously I’m an expert on bikes. That’s how I know “Frejus” is short for “Frejus Christ,” and that “Fiorelli” refers to “Fiorelli LaGuardio,” the former mayor and of New York City who was reincarnated as an airport. Given my expertise, it was clear to me almost immediately that both bikes were defective. For example, the chainring and cog on the larger bike were both missing several teeth. See how it grins at you like a toothless hobo on a boxcar?
You know what I mean:
Also, in an uncharacteristic moment of oversight, Paul had forgotten to include both the brakes and the derailleurs–not to mention the fame tubes were joined by some kind of primitive metal bracket, and the fork was attached using what appeared to be plumbing supplies:
Most distressing of all, the tires were attached to the rim using some sort of adhesive. I mean, who glues a bicycle tire to a wheel, anyway?!? Talk about a kludge!
Oddly, my son was unconcerned with any of these problems, and wanted to try the Frejus right away. Now, I should point out that he has never ridden a fixed-gear bicycle. Also, while he does ride a bike with friction shifters and a triple, I have yet to subject him to the pointless indignity of foot retention. And of course the bike has no brakes, and to date all of his bikes have been equipped with at least one. I explained to him that a track bike with toe clips would present a riding experience like none he’d ever experienced, and that if he forgot what he was doing and stopped pedaling he’d be thrown like a cowboy from a bronco:
He was undeterred. So after riding it up and down the street a few times, we headed over to Van Cortlandt Park, where the newly-paved, turn-free, pancake-flat Putnam Trail serves as a perfect test strip:
If I were a responsible parent I’d have taken the time to at least install a front brake on the Frejus. I’d also have ridden a bike that allowed me to coast and brake so that I could focus my attention on him. I did neither:
I’m pleased to report my son quickly got the hang of the bike, including getting his feet in and out of the pedals. (He was wearing sneakers and the straps were loose, but still.) I’ll also say that the Fiorelli (and my lousy photography does not do this bike justice, it is gorgeous) rode so smoothly I felt as though I could have kept on going to Nyack:
Looks like a trip to the velodrome is in order. Either that, or we’ll get matching NOBR AKES knuckle tattoos and ride slowly around Brooklyn:
This could be the shot in the arm the PistaDex so desperately needs.