My name is John Clay, I'm a mechanical/process control engineer, much closer to 50 than I'd prefer, I'd take a nice bicycle over a rocketship any day of the week and I just joined the list. I'm a beginning framebuilder, not a collector. I've built one bike and have two more designed and nearing construction.
I've been on two bicycle tours in Europe with only my brother (two weeks in France & two in Italy). 50-60 miles/day, spent as much time on dirt and gravel roads and dyke tops as asphalt, wine at every lunch, went places that few tourists will ever go. Got clocked by the Gendarme near Samur while going to La Pagode though I didn't see any smoke coming from the radar gun.
I gravitate towards older bikes - touring, randonee and daily drivers that I saw all over Europe as well as hub gears, chainguards, fenders and lights. I'm starting to appreciate single speed and fixed gear bikes. I like looking at older racing bikes but they don't fit my riding profile anymore. For me bicycles have become transportation, time and exploration machines - fitness is a bonus. Walking is generally too slow and range limited for me, and driving too removed. I used to ride MTB and fast club road rides but not in a long time. Maybe again. I generally ride out the driveway, hook up with friends when possible, and point my bike down any reasonablly quiet road or path, be it pavement, gravel or dirt - in town or out. My favorite bikes are ones that don't have to turn back because the tires are too skinny. My current bikes are:
A Jamis Dakar - one of the original fillet brazed ones from the mid eighties. It's configured as a tourer, all-rounder. Found it unused, hanging from Joe's Bike Shop in Tallahassee. Rear Power Cam brake, which I now see was not a new idea, and a little extra weight kept others from wanting it. Good brakes I'd say. Something else I like - a 20t inner ring and a 34 big cog in the rear. I don't ride it around here because I don't need to wear out such a nice touring drivetrain on this terrain. A 14" low is real nice to have on tap. The bike is georgeous, if not vintage. It will go just about anywhere you can walk but it's not slow.
A Jamis Dakar Sport that has had track drops and S&S couplers added. Sachs Super 7 rear end, Troy Courtney fork, fenders, racks, lights. It's a commuter, though I rarely commute by bicycle due to a terrible first mile or two. Otherwise, it's what I ride.
The one I've built but not painted and equipped: 70/70 degrees, 46cm chainstays, 57cm TT, wide 700c tires.
The pristine 1982 Ochsner, Campy SR that I just got. The component group is for frame #2 which will have tires that can handle moderately lousy dirt and gravel roads but still be reasonably fleet on good pavement - sort of a rando bike.
The 1974 Paramount (that I thought was 1952). For a week it was a single speed, leave in the office bike for lunchtime errands and clearing my head. Not sure what it's for now that I know what it is. I won't sell it.
My favorite cycling magazine is Vintage Bicycle Quarterly followed by Velo Vision and then the Folding Society's publication. I belong to the framebuilders list and am continually amazed at being able to discuss framebuilding issues with framebuilding legends. I like dumpster diving and sorting through dusty bike shop bins for bikes and parts.
On my wife's, as well as Brian Bayless', very strong recommendations I'm going to Cirque this year, sans bike though. I'll be at the Red Roof and look forward to seeing some of you there.