Thursday, September 6, 2012

In praise of classics

I have a 35 year old Cambio Rino bicycle. A steel 10 speed racer that was developed by an Italian and built in Canada. It was Canada's answer to the flood of imported racers. Unfortunately, it did not last.

Cambio Rino was ahead of its time and at the time was a state of the art bike. Now they are collectors items. I have a beautiful one, all original parts including the toe clips and leather straps. I wrapped the handlebars with  white cloth tape and applied shellac as it would have been done at that time. I am told this bike once raced in the Velodome of Montreal!

There is a lot of difference between my classic and my contemporary bikes. First off my newer bikes are much lighter and more comfortable. My other bikes are made of carbon and the other is chromealloy. My newer bikes have far more gears and I am more upright. I can ride great distances with them. They seem effortless.

The Cambio Rino is fast but also you are in a much lower or more aggressive position. Don't even think of applying the brakes if you are on the hoods. You have to break in the down position to avoid the pain.

At first I thought I would miss all the speeds but not really. I managed to get up a hill at a good speed all in the large ring. The friction shifters are also easier to maintain.

Of course, I can't ride this bike as a regular ride because I could never replace the parts but for an occasional ride like today, and for my charity ride on Saturday it is a bit of Canadian history. Granted 35 years hardly positions this bike as an antique but given the rapid changes in bike technology and technology in general, 35 years is an eternity.

One may very well ask, if the newer bikes are more comfortable, lighter and more responsive why would I even bother with this bike?  Perhaps for the same reason that people restore and drive old cars...because we can and because it takes us into the past.

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