Re: [CR]Info on Romic/R. Gasorowski


Example: Production Builders:Peugeot:PY-10

From: "Jerry & Liz Moos" <jerrymoos@sbcglobal.net>
To: "Richard Jones-Bamman" <banjers@mac.com>, <Classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
References: <B82FB500.36D2%banjers@mac.com>
Subject: Re: [CR]Info on Romic/R. Gasorowski
Date: Sun, 2 Dec 2001 05:31:39 -0600


I have two Romics, a 24" wheel junior road bike, and a custom track bike. These were built by Ray Gasorowski, a custom builder in Houston, TX, in the mid 80's. He operated out of a warehouse type building in a section of North Houston (I forget the exact location) which housed a small office and the shop. His wife helped with the paperwork, and a couple of young guys helped in the shop, but I believe Ray built every frame himself, though he may have allowed his helpers to do a task or two on each frame. He also did his own painting, the only thing he contracted out was chroming. Ray was in his 50's in the mid 80's I believe. One of the young guys may have been his son. I don't know when he began building under the Romic name, but by the early 80's he was well known in the Houston. To my knowledge, he was the only custom builder to ever produce any significant number of frames in Houston, this not being a hotbed of road cycling (the Texas road scene centers more around Austin).

I've heard that Ray had built bikes for Schwinn, probably Paramounts, before opening his own shop, but I can't confirm this, nor do I know the significance of the name "Romic". The typical Romic decal was the word "Romic" inside a circle. I always thought the circle suggested an olympic ring, but I don't know why. It was formed of small teardrop-shaped pieces, which may have been flower petals, so perhaps it was a flower instead. Ray was not one inclined to discuss such things, rather an old-school, no nonsense guy who believed in sensible design and solid clean workmanship, with graphics and symbolic significance a minor concern. Despite this, he was an excellent painter, who used almost exclusively Imron. He looked at paint much like lugwork, clean, solid, and well finished, rather than decorative. He could do more elaborate paint schemes if you insisted, just as he would provide chrome on request, but you alway got the impression that he considered these requests a bit frivolous. The junior road frame I bought for my daughter about 1982 is typical Romic, solid royal blue Imron, simple but clean lugwork, no chrome, the simple typical Romic decals. It is Columbus Aelle. I got this at a discount, as another customer had ordered it but never paid or taken delivery. I believe for a while Ray made some "production" models that a few Houston or other Texas shops stocked, but I think more of his business was custom orders. My track bike is such a custom order, full 531, burgundy Imron with silver panels, chromed rear dropouts and full chromed fork, built about 1984. After considerable effort, I persuaded Ray to apply the more elaborate "Team Eagle" decals. These had prevoiusly been used only on a "Team Eagle" road frame which Ray provided to a local club he sponsorsed (the sponsorhip might have been limited to providing frames). These had decals featuring a Polish eagle, ala the coat of arms of the Polish kings, Ray of course being of Poilsh decent. I belive he eventually offered the Team Eagle road model to the public, but my track bike was the first track machine to have these graphics, and maybe even the only one.

I remember after we finally established the color, decals, and chrome on the order, he said something mildly sarcastic like, "Now that we have the graphics established, we can talk about the bike." A no nonsense guy for sure. He was no less old-school about geometry, and initially resisted making the fork rake short enough to produce toe clip overlap, even though this had become standard track design by the mid-80's. I pointed out that even a couple of my road bikes had toe clip overlap (though not built by him of course) and he finally relented. He later repainted a LeJeune and an Austro-Daimler for me, and did an excellent job. I persuaded him to mask off the original decals on the A-D to save them, and he did it at only a small additional charge, though he probably thought it silly. I think Ray died a few yeras back, perhap in the mid 90's. There seem to have been some Romics produced after his death, but they may have been lugless or even TIGed, and lower quality than the stuff Ray built. One story I heard was his son was involved for a while, but then the Romic name passed to unrelated parties before production stopped. Since I've now returned to Houston after an absence of nearly 10 years, maybe I can learn a bit more about this.

Regards,

Jerry Moos


----- Original Message -----
From: "Richard Jones-Bamman"
To:
Sent: Sunday, December 02, 2001 9:37 AM
Subject: [CR]Info on Romic/R. Gasorowski



> Does anyone out there have information about the late Ray Gasorowski and/or
> Romic frames? I "inherited" a rather unusual Romic road frame in Sept. and
> am just know looking it over as a likely winter project. I remember seeing
> some Romic track frames in the early '80s out in California, but that's the
> sum of my experience with this brand. The frame in question is quite nice:
> 531 with longpoint lugs and wrap-around seatstays; paint is only so-so, but
> appears original. This one has been passed around among friends for several
> years, but no one seems to know much about it. If this maker lies outside
> the purview of this list, I apologize, but it has a "classic" look, at
> least. Thanks in advance for any information or pointers to follow up.
>
> Richard Jones-Bamman
> Storrs, CT (where it was 70 degrees yesterday!)