[CR]In defense of Bike Boom projects, Raleigh or not...

Example: Racing:Jacques Boyer

Date: Thu, 1 May 2008 12:08:32 -0700 (PDT)
From: Caleb Hawley <calebhawley@yahoo.com>
To: Classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
Subject: [CR]In defense of Bike Boom projects, Raleigh or not...

Hello list, I put "in defense of" in my subject line, but I don't think anyone is really truly attacking production bikes from the Bike Boom. My thought is this: common bike boom bikes (UO-8, Gran Sports, Super Course, etc) are not valuable for their rarity, at least not yet, but simply because they ARE from THE "bike boom" of the early to mid 1970s. To those on this list who were into cycling already and had nice bikes when the Bike Boom hit, it must have been hard to see the proliferation of junky production bikes, while at the same time gratifying to see more of the general public riding. To those of us who were not even born yet (I've addressed the list a few weeks ago as a younger--age 30--vintage enthusiast), well, we didn't have to see that, and compared to the carbon/aluminum stuff today, well, a moderately-well outfitted Bike Boom bike is lugged steel AND has "character" and value as an artifact from an important era in the evolution of the bike in our wider culture. That is important to me in a way that having a bike that was ridden by or photographed in the proximity of an important racer. Not that that is unimportant, just not to me as a non-racer and someone who does not follow racing, but is vaguely aware of how important it is to the development of the bicycle. (I've been warily eyeing the Moser/De Rosa provenance thread...not to be a smart-alec or anything, but the only vintage De Rosa to pass through my basement workshop left with bar end shifters and a Nitto stem for the comfort and convenience of its very happy rider--and a Japanese rear derailleur).

To the extent that we are in somewhat of a bike boom in recent years, at least with the resurgence of road biking, and with gas prices and global resource instability and climate change awakening etc, I think it is neat to tap into the mid-level equipment of the first Bike Boom. It is widely available at least for now, and the hope is that more people will get into vintage bikes as more people get into biking in general, and they will need that well to draw from. If a low-end Bike Boom is extremely clean and well preserved, maybe it is worthwile to keep it original, but otherwise, I modify and update to get maximum performance and negate all the undesirable and "clunky" elements. I would tell Adam to modify his sister's Gran Sport as much as needed to make it useful and comfortable for her so she will ride it the most. This can be done in a thoughtful way with little compromise to its overall appearance or "character." In fact, because it is a Bike Boom production bike, modifying and updating it to keep it on the road being ridden for transportation and recreation by a non-racer (I'm assuming Adam's sister is not a racer) is perhaps the most consistent with its original character, at least on a more general or abstract level.

Bike Boom bikes are cool because they are Bike Boom bikes--how is that for a tautology, but one that makes sense to me.

Cheers, Caleb Hawley Baltimore, Maryland, USA

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