Sunday, February 03, 2008

Fun in the Service Area

Winter is a relatively slow time in the service area here at bikes@vienna, since many folks aren't riding their bikes much. On the other hand, because they aren't riding as much, we do get a few people who bring in bikes that are sometimes longer-term, more involved projects for us. While they are a lot of work, they can also often be among the more fun projects I tackle here.

A good example of that is the bike you see to the left. It's a 1980s Alpine, a brand of bicycle made and sold right in the DC area back in the day. This one came in needing some serious TLC. The owner loved the bike and rode the heck out of it in days gone by, but over time his riding fell off, and the bike sat for a long time. He's back on bikes again, zooming around on a Rans "crank forward" design... but he really wanted his old friend back in riding form, so he brought it in to us. I have an affinity for classic steel road bikes, so this one appealed to me immediately, especially with the idea of "reconnecting" the owner with the bike he had enjoyed so much in the past.

It took a LOT of time and work and care, but it was worth every second of it when I saw the look on the owner's face after his first loop around the parking lot on the bike. Based on discussions with him, I had put a set of "butterfly" bars on the bike, and a new stem, to raise his hands up compared to the position on the old drop bars, and that seems to have really worked out well. A really fun project, and I'm looking forward to hearing more from the owner about his re-discovery and enjoyment of his bike.

Funny thing is, around the same time this bike came in, another fella brought in a '73 Motobecane Grand Jubilee, a really nice bike of the era, with a very similar story. Again, it was so much fun to work on the bike, and most of all to see the owner's face when he rode it after it was finished. It really gives me a lot of joy to help connect or re-connect folks with the joy of riding a fine bike.

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