When I was seventeen I took an old Rudge 3 speed and removed the chainguard, the fenders, and the basket bracket and pedals. I bought some turned down handlebars and made my own racer. That fall I bought a U08 new for $125, rode it for about a month and had it stolen by a gun wielding heroin addict, in broad daylight, on a weekend, in Central Park during an impromptu harp performance on the Great Lawn, while hundreds watched. The next summer I paid about $30 for a Campy Valentino, Weinmann Vanquerer equipped Atala that lay unused in someone's basement on the upper west side. I paid about $1 for a new crank cotter pin and I was in business for years to come. It had odd touch up paint and was no one's target for theft, so I was able to ride it on the Central Park loop even up to Harlem without attracting any attention. I rode it to Staten Island, upper New York State (Woodstock), N.J., Long Island, had a great time racing and swapping out rear derailleurs, and maintaining it even as far as rebuilding the freewheel using dental floss to keep in the pawls according to a Popular Mechanics series of articles. New York was a great but crime ridden town back in the early 70's, so I stuck with the old Atala until I left to live in California in the early 80's where a guy could own a nice looking bike without fearing it would be stolen.
Garth Libre in Miami Fl.