Thursday, July 14, 2011

American Picker? Piker!

So after I made my Home Depot trip, with the bike in the back of the car, I then had to go home and work on the laundry room. My find sat in the back of my Jeep until about nine o'clock, when I was able to pull it out and spend some quality time examining my new purchase and learning about it; so I can tell you something about it.

Before I tell you any more about my ride, let me tell you about my collecting sickness; I don't just get as many as I can when I collect something, I make a list of what I want my collection to represent, or what things I'd like to have in my collection in order to make it whole. That's not to say I am disciplined when it comes to collecting; I'll buy lots of stuff I regret buying during my learning phase, but that buying helps me to learn about what I want my core collection to be. I've done it with books, baseball cards, coins, and anything else I have collected. I have a lot of bikes now (as you have seen if you read this with any regularity) and most of the bikes on my "list" are covered, with the exception of some "dream" bikes; a bike from the year I was born, a  bike with a full  Campy group, and a frame with fancy chrome lugs or a chrome frame.

This bike, with one fell swoop, pretty much finishes out my collection. It's a 1973 Raleigh
International equipped with a full Campagnolo group and special one year only chromed
"Capella" lugs. In 1973 this was a $350 dollar bike, in a time when the average joe made $90 -
$100 a week. Today these bikes (and the gruppo hanging off of them) are
highly sought by enthusiasts, and are often considered "grail" bikes because they
are hard to find and have all of these great attributes, and are fairly rare. My International has seen better days, but it is a survivor, and I like all of the scars it's acquired over the years. The guy I bought it from said he bought it from "an old man" - I assume that the old guy bought it new, rode it, let his kids and grandkids ride it, and then just saw it as some old bike to sell to the day laborer.

I  see it as a treasure.

Clicky for Big 

 I rewrapped the bars with cloth

Chrome stays and Campagnolo NR 
I found a very dry Brooks Pro underneath the cover

You can see some of the scrapes the bike has sustained over the years - one of the brake hoods was cut to facilitate a mirror, and you can see the considerable chips on the top tube. The above photos were taken after I cleaned the bike up - while it is a little beat up, it's the same age I am, and I'm not exactly minty fresh anymore. Just like this special old bike, I have my share of scars, and I wear them proudly. I will write more about his bike later, but I didn't want to keep you all in suspense anymore. 

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