Drove down the mid-coast area of Maine today. A gorgeous fall day, sunny and breezy, with the wife at my side, and my Armstrong fixed in the back seat. At Sanford she let me out and I started to ride. As we had already driven route 202 to get there, I decided to go a little more inland and ride back on 11, then 25. All told it would add a few miles, making it about a 50-miler. I have to say it was possibly one of the most amazing days riding I have ever had. The temperature was pretty much T-shirt perfect, the sun was beaming in a perfectly blue sky, there was a lot of wind (mostly in my face the whole ride), and the fall colors were breathtaking. 202 is pretty flat, and I had never been on 11 before though they are only separated by about 10 miles, so I was quite surprised at how hilly it is. My old legs were only just able to propel me up a few of the grades in a 42 x 17, and I had to use the front brake to scrub speed on many of the downhills. By the time I got to the junction of 11 and 25 (after about 30 miles) I was starting to get tired. Luckily 25 is much flatter. I started to become aware of the relative lateness of the hour, and that I had no lights with me. Every so often I would be laboring up a grade, and I would be transfixed by a particularly beautiful patch of color. At that point my mind would be focused outside of myself, and all the aches and pains would recede into the background for a few seconds. This was truly one of those days when I revisited yet again my love for the bike, and realized again some of the reasons why I ride.
Possible "classic content:" There was a recent thread on CR about the wealth of knowledge that may have been lost when the builders of British (and other countries?) bikes of the 50's and 60's stopped building. Maybe that's true. I am now in the fortunate position of having 2 fifties British bikes, and 2 50's French bikes. Each has a great ride, yet each is subtly different. I ride them in turn, note the differences, and make small changes to the wheels, even just the tires, and note that even these small differences can be perceived and appreciated. I don't try to make changes to bring all the bikes' rides closer to each other, but to enhance what I think are the particular strong points of each bike. Amazing, isn't it, how a similar base of quality frame tubing and lugs can give subtly differing rides and sensations?
Neill Currie, Portland, Me 04102, USA.
I usually have classic bicycle components for sale at good prices. Please email me for a current list. A reasonably current list may be seen here: