I get the digest version of CR and Ive been enjoying the "what I rode as a teen" thread. Since this one seems to have "legs" (and I am a certified expert on long legs tho I am NOT 7 feet tall as the diminuative Jay Sexton proclaimed), Ill chip in my "due centissimi" and contribute. Official Disclaimer, Masis, bicycles or wine, will not be discussed. My two bike loves, Cinelli and Bianchi, will. If you are in " famiglia Ma-si-afia," you can delete now if desired.
Having lived in France in the early 60s and there becoming aware of multi-speed race bikes, I converted an old Triumph 3-speed to the racer look with drop bars until a co-worker offered me his used Falcon San Remo ("designed by Ernie Clements"). Beautiful purple thing and what impressed me most was the top tube brake housing clips had leetle teeny nuts & bolts! I have never seen such small ones, being used to simple spring clips which slid around annoyingly. The frame was 3 tube Reynolds and steel cranks and Huret Allvits so it was good but not great.
Joining the local club scene here in Reno in the mid-60s I then learned about the Higher Pantheon of bikes, which in Reno anyway consisted of Cinelli ( at the top, available only through the beloved Spense Wolf owned Cupertino Bike shop), then Bianchi Specialissimas then Schwinn Paramounts and assorted Italian makes like Legnano. Faliero was unknown,
I worked winters as a busboy in a casino restaurant and saved my tip money. I wrote several letters to Spense, and he always replied, but the price just kept going up and up and $300 was more than I could afford for a Cinelli. A mail order catalog in Denver, Colorado (back when one ordered by actually mailing the order in, in case you are too young and missed that concept) offered tutto Campagnolo Bianchi Specialissimas for $199.00. I sent in my money for a Black 25" sized one (this is 1967) and a couple of weeks later arrived a ..Campy record Frejus and note saying they were out of Bianchis but they reserved the right to substitute "equal quality" with ( I would later learn) cheap Ballila centerpulls and cheap alloy tubular rims with cheap tires and cheap bar and stem. Clearly an exercise in specing a bike to maximum profit. But it was "all Campy!"
But I rode the bike and was generally happy, though a bit disgruntled when about a year later, the right fork blade fell out of the crown while I was stopped at a traffic light. I did what any reasonable 16 year old (oxymoron?) and merely put it back in the crown and RODE HOME. What, something wrong with that?
The biggest irony (no pun here) is that even then I was 6-7" and I was riding this Frejus that was all of 60 cms c-c. Even with the seatpost all the way out almost, I could not get my leg straight and everyone was always telling me to get a bigger bike custom made, but I had spent my savings so I lived with it for 2-3 seasons. I had the stem so high I routinely snapped it so I laugh about the fears of carbonfiber bars snapping. There is nothing like the feeling of bars in your hands and you become aware they are no longer attached to the bike! Oh, the irony, sorry. That is that NOW I ride a bike that is significantly smaller in seattube, being my 56 c-c Frayer custom. Okay the head tube is 25 cms and I have wandered past the timeline guides and must go back to work.
Riccardo ( Hey I am only 5-20" Jay!) Bulissimo, Verdi Nevada
PS this is NOT the promised (at IB) Cinelli story, that will come soon.