I've been subscribed to this list since January of this year, and thought it was time that I introduced myself.
I grew up in the Philippines where, as a kid, I would ride my cheap bike down to a nearby bike shop that catered to the local racers and ogle the components in the glass display cases: Campagnolo, Suntour, Sugino, Shimano, Weinmann. A Weinmann Carrera brakeset in it's box is firmly implanted in my memory for some reason. The photos on the CR site bring back fond memories.
I would write to Raleigh and Schwinn for their catalogs and drool over the Professionals and Paramounts. There was also a large mail-order company, the name of which escapes me now, whose catalogs would give me hours of reading pleasure.
In grad school in Austria, I had a Bridgestone RB-2. Before I returned to the Philippines in 1995, I sold the bike to a Dutch friend for the equivalent of about $200. It seems everyone has a bike they regret selling. The RB-2 is mine.
In the Philippines I taught computer science at the University of the Philippines. After getting married and having a son, money was becoming tight, so I looked for other opportunities. In November 2001, I moved to the US. I now live in Bellevue, WA, and work for Microsoft. One the best things about living in the US is that I am back into bicycles, which I gave up in the Philippines because of the weather (too hot or too wet) and the traffic (crazy drivers and pollution).
I've been commuting to work on a bike for a year now. My rain/beater bike is a Cannondale hybrid. (Forgive me; at least it has a Brooks saddle.) My fair weather/flashy bike is a Ryffranck. Here's a link to a photo: http://www.hydromedia.com/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=527&size=big. There are a few more detail shots of the Ryffranck at that site if you're interested. Here'a tiny URL if the long one gives you problems: http://tinyurl.com/807i. I purchased the saddle from e-richie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
When I was having the bike built, I was sitting on the threaded-threadless fence. Ryffranck steered me toward threadless, but in restrospect, I would should have insisted on threaded. I've decided I prefer the aesthetics of a quill stem.
I'm currently saving up for my next bike. It will be lugged steel, of course.
Mark J. Encarnación <email@example.com>