[CR]Hi there

(Example: Books:Ron Kitching)

Date: Fri, 29 Jul 2005 19:25:04 -0700 (GMT-07:00)
From: "Charles Schmitz" <ctschmitz@earthlink.net>
To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
Subject: [CR]Hi there

Hi all -

I'm not a collector; I don't even own anything collectible, but I do enjoy the reminiscing and discussion of the old bikes. I've been reading CR off and on for a long time and thought I'd subscribe to make it easier to keep up.

I've been riding for about 35 years or so and began with a UO-8 and ran through a quick succession of hand-me-down Peugeots, Gitanes, and Motobecanes in the early 70's. There was an odd Bottechia and Steyr thrown in the mix, too.

I had a girlfriend in High School (in Manhattan Beach, CA) who lived around the corner from the best shop in town. An old building, (and I seem to remember there was a tree growing right up in the middle of the shop - could be wrong about that) with the smells and sounds I associate with a "real" bike shop. She took me into the shop for the first time to have her bike fixed by a certain very knowledgeable and kind gentleman, and oh, the bikes in that shop! The things dreams are now made of - Olmo, Legnano, Bianchi and such. There was stuff hanging on the walls that I had never seen before! A whole new world to me. Her bike, a lowly Schwinn, had a problem that was preventing us from going for a ride and it was attended to straight away while I drooled about the shop.

A few years later I, nervous and with trembling hands, went into his new shop (no tree) and ordered up an Eisentraut frame. I had considered long and hard what I wanted (read everything Fred DeLong had written many times over, and Eugene Sloan, too) and had a scrap of paper with a drawing of the frame I wanted, complete with dimensions to the last detail. That certain very knowledgeable and kind gentleman gently explained that Eisentraut knew a thing or two about designing and building frames and that I could trust him to build the frame I needed if we were to tell him a few key details, but we didn't need to send him a drawing. I think the deal was that I had to pay about 10% down (about $35, probably a fourth of my net worth) and he let me pay off the balance as I could and when I could as long as I paid it off before the frame arrived from Oakland.

I rode that Eisentraut until 1996, when I sent it back for a new paint job and a couple of new braze-ons. It's gone through a host of components over the years, so you couldn't call it "original". Thirty years later I still take it out for a spin now and again, though it has been largely replaced by a small stable of (mostly) more modern bikes.

I still ride every day, to and from work, and manage to ride most weekends in the local hills, and take an occasional long tour.

Thanks Ted.

Tom Schmitz
Redondo Beach, CA