Hello fellow list members,
It is with some sadness that I read the news of Richard Burke's passing. He was a great and gifted man, a humanist and philanthropist in a world of busi ness that is all-too-often ruled by those of enormous ego.
I recall reading about the founding of a new American bicycle company in 197 6, one with the avowed intent of competing with the best of Europe and Japan . Being a young novice cyclist at the time, I failed to realize the implicat ions of that intent. I had been schooled in the ways of Schwinn and thought that the Paramount was indeed that: the supreme accomplishment.
However as the years progressed and Trek became a true contender, I became v ery curious about their machines. Friends rode them, and would loan them to me on occasion. I came to respect what they were doing.
It is only recently that I have come to own a Trek. It is perhaps one of the ir most humble frames, a 1980 412. It came to me like a junkyard dog: tatter ed, torn, and mean. It had obviously led a very hard life, existing for year s under a layer of grime and crud the likes of which can only be seen in a b order town like mine, on the northern edge of Tijuana, Mexico.
However as I stripped the bike down to a bare frame, it became quite obvious that this was a machine that had the benefit of careful design and thoughtf ul construction. Skilled hands had been at work, forming the bike from Ishiw ata 022 tubing and lovely lugs.
Lucky for me the frame and fork were straight. The original paint had it's s hare of scrapes and scars, much like myself, and I developed an affinity for the beast. The color is Trek's light blue metallic, a beautiful hue.
I decided not to paint it. I live with my scars, so it does too.
I've built the bike up as a 5 speed: Dura Ace 7400 crank with a single 42 ri ng up front, and a first generation D-A 5 speed rear cluster and a Shimano C rane rear derailleur. First gen D-A sidepull brakes, a sweet older Chris Kin g headset, a D-A stem, and various other Shimano components. I've tried to b e as careful and thoughtful in my rejuvenation efforts as the original const ructor was. The bike has repaid my efforts with sweet riding characteristics and superb handling. I'll post some images soon.
For me, this particular bike is a legacy of Richard Burke's vision. A humble , affordable bicycle that compares favorably with it's contemporaries from E urope and Japan. That part of his vision has benefitted me, and for that I h ave a true appreciation for the man and the company that he built.
Thank you Richard Burke, may you rest in peace.
San Diego, California, USA
on the northern edge of Tijuana