Thanks to all of you who expressed an interest, or directly help me, in accurately identifying the model year of my Gitane Tour de France, currently under paint & decal restoration (see my original CR post on May 7, 2002). There were several useful thoughts and recollections sent to me by fellow CR list members. The single definitive bike-aging trick came to me from a virtual neighbor of mine here in Seattle, Bob Freeman of Elliott Bay Bicycles (home of the fine Davidson Handbuilt Bicycles). Bob's tip was for me to, ".take a lock nut off one of the Campy hubs and there will be a date stamped on it. That doesn't mean the hub was not made before the bike, but during that era, components were in high demand and didn't sit on the shelf long, so the bike was likely made the same year as the hub. Also, if it has a Campy rear derailleur, the year would be stamped on the top of it." Sure 'nough, 72 was on the back of my original Campy hub's locknut. The bike came with Simplex derailers - which only lasted the bike's first 10 years of hard use, so I couldn't use Bob's derailer trick. Since I knew I took the bike to England in summer of '73 (after high school graduation), and I had purchased it for $330 'out the door' a year or so before that trip, I now know with confidence that I bought my green beauty the Spring of '72. That makes the restoration timing perfect for the bike's & my 30th anniversary. The forward sides of the top tube will now sport a special little decal proudly stating: "1972 Tour de France". Dale Brown asked me to send him photos of the restored bike to post on the French bicycle section (under Gitane, of course) of the CR website. I look forward to doing that within a couple of months, if I'm not out riding it like the teenager I wish I still was!
Andy Gorski in Seattle email@example.com
Andrew F. Gorski