Everyone knows how much I love my vintage Ciöcc. It's just cool, man, and it's red -- the fastest color -- with white and black lettering, and it has the sexiest fork evah. As I've mentioned in the past, some guys are obsessed with boobs, some are obsessed with butts, I'm obsessed with forks. I was tickled to find out years ago that Big Jonny, the world famous drunk cyclist, owns exactly the same bike. Cheers mate! And those straight-blade forks, by the way, are pubescent and perverse.
There are only three other paint scenarios that look as cool as my Ciöcc. (1) The old Bontrager Race Lite scheme: fire engine red with a white panel, silver and black stripes, black lettering; (2) the newish Masi Speciale: orange with a blue panel, white stripes, and white lettering -- the orange is really that Bridgestone XO-1 pumpkin color, a classic; and (3) the "Coleman Lantern Green" of Rivendell's QuickBeam doublespeed.
But so! The Ciöcc (yes, it's necessary to include that awesome rock 'n' roll umlaut, although it's not technically an umlaut, it's a dierisis). This Italian beauty was a gift from my good buddy Simpson, and it had always been a bike in heavy rotation -- it still is, being my only legitimate road bike, and my road mileage has been steadily increasing in recent years as a form of escapism in tough times, and also as a strategy to feel better about myself, feel less wrecked by marathon MTB events, to y'know furrow those capillary beds etc. etc. I got fired (I think¹) from my dream job in the Spring of 2006, and spent the next four months riding that bike constantly, until I literally wore out the 7-speed gear cluster. This was no mean feat, because it was an original Shimano 600 cluster with the deepest teeth you ever saw -- probably a quarter of an inch deep, tooth-to-groove. Simpson had geared the Ciöcc up with Shimano 600, front to back. You'll recall that 600 was the predecessor to Ultegra, and really Shimano's original shot-over-the-bow to Campagnolo, who up until the mid 1980s, was pretty much the only game in town for serious bike parts, at least as far as the drive-train and brakes were concerned. (Suntour, Sugino, Nitto, yes, yes, I know.) So Shimano was thundering over the Pacific Rim.
The gear all worked flawlessly, even after the extensive mileage both Simpson and I had put on it, with a few notable breakdowns, including one very misguided autumnal CX ride where I tore the derailler off and got to be kidney-pushed for about 5 miles by Simpson and Hareland.
So anyway, the point of all this is that last spring, it was brought to my attention that Fast Fred had a full vintage Campy group that he was willing to part with, and I jumped at the opportunity, and he very generously gave me the bro deal and the high five. It's always great to keep cool gear "in the family," and now I was riding Simpson's old bike with Fast Fred's old components and just generally feeling like hot shit on a silver platter. No longer was my roadbike this unholy marriage of Italian lugged steel with Japanese parts (along with Mavics -- a French wheelset, sacre bleu!)
It all came off a Raleigh Technium, which Fred donated along with the gruppo. "It has horizontal drops, so you can build it up as a fixie," he said. And the truth is, as much fun as I poke at Fixie Hipster Nation, it's a thought that I've kept percolating because frankly that's the one bike I don't have in the stable -- other than a 29er, which (given my bad attitude) is not a temptation. Hell, I even have a unicycle, though not one of those huge gay touring unis with the ridiculous little underseat handbars that make it look like you're always scratching your nuts.
So anyway, the question of the day is this: Raleigh Techniums, WTF? These frames are ubiquitous. They are the Peuogots and Gitanes of the 1980s. They are made out of aluminum that is glued together. They have very ugly Duran Duran paint schemes. They have internal cable routing.
I can't think of anything more perverted, and yet essentially innocuous, and I damn well might build that sucker up into some sort of transgressive scraper bike.
¹"I think" because I was actually a part owner of our business, and thus not really fireable by my partner, but being an idiot savant about these sorts of things, I never demanded nor received the proper paperwork, and find myself still wondering to this day what might turn out to be my "savant" facet. Maybe I'm just an idiot. Period.
An Amusement & Diversion for The Genteel Cyclist. Daily.