Last year I rode the Hotter'N Hell Hundred on my late 70's Gazelle and was able to cover my 100k distance with a respectable 18.1 mph average, most of the time drafting off a good friend of mine riding steel Centurion. Both of us running downtube shifters certainly didn't slow us down at all. Likewise earlier this spring, I had the Gazelle in East Texas for a ride where I stayed in a pack of faster riders with newer bikes. Since my steel frames have been off the road for a while due to rebuilding, repainting, etc. More than once, I've wished to have my smooth steel frame under me regardless of the weight penalty over the modern aluminum frame. This year when I head back to Hotter'N Hell, I will take a steel frame. This time I hope it to be my Serotta, if it gets back from paint in time. Else, it will be the Gazelle again. This time properly dressed in Super Record, maybe even with the tubular wheelset. And I'll smile with every turn of the crank, and every smooth enjoyable mile I cover.
Jon Fischer Dallas, TX
The Greatest Trophy of all is the sense of Accomplishment
From: firstname.lastname@example.org To: email@example.com
Subject: [CR]We are truly out of the mainstream
Date: Thu, 2 Aug 2007 12:59:08 -0400
This past weekend I rode a in three-day, 300 mile charity ride to raise money for the Make A Wish foundation. Thanks to Nick Z for the generous support.
There were 700 riders. As far as I could tell, my '77 Richard Sachs was the oldest bike there. I saw no more than a handful of steel bikes, almost none with fork crowns. There was an early 80's Colnago, and a mid to late 80's Diamant. Even those people who looked twice at my bike, and recognized a fine steel frame, were not familiar with Richard Sachs. "Isn't he the guy who invented the Sachs derailleurs?"
I did not see anyone else with a spare tubular tire attached to the underside of their saddle. For the record, I had one there, and another in my jersey pocket. I was tempted to wear the extra in a figure 8 over my shoulders, but that seemed too ostentatious. I have generally been lucky with sew-ups, and got no flats.
I rode with people who were generally faster than me, staying in the pack, taking a turn up front, and hoping not to embarass myself. Everyone was nice, so I couldn't have been too slow. At one point as I shifted, I said alound that I thought I could use one more gear. The guy next to me asked whether I had 8 or 9 back there. He was deeply surprised when I answered 5. The first day was hilly, and there were headwinds the second day, but the Sachs was a terrific ride, and my Brooks Pro was extremely comfortable. The Campy hubs rolled as well as anything out there. Although the recommended equipment list suggested low gears, and possibly a triple, I did it with the traditional 42/52 and 14-24. And toeclips and sneakers.
I did get a few "wow you did really well for someone with such an old bike" remarks. And "think how much faster you'd be on a new bike." The other thing I heard was, "gee, your bike is really quiet."
It was striking how far out of the mainstream we have become with our old bikes. I wondered too, how much easier it would have been on a bike that was 5 pound lighter. Still, I wouldn't trade any of my old bikes, with their elegance and beauty for a newer one.
Huntington Woods, MI