Thursday, April 22, 2010


This weekend I'm going to swap the Paramount for the Trek 950 at my folks' house and put the Trek up on eBay. It's a good, if basic, MTB. It's not worth much, but there's always something to put the cash towards. And more importantly, that gets me down to 4 bikes of my own to house at my next stop.

And I've reached some tentative conclusions as to how to pare down further. I'm going to try to get the Columbia together in the next few weeks, and that'll go up on eBay next, configured largely as I'd planned to use it, but without new wheels. That'll be three. The Schwinn is staying for now as my all-arounder, tow bike and light touring bike, but it may be swapped out for something sexier in the future. That leaves two more: Le Mongre -- the ugly Motobecane that I so enjoy. And, of course, my baby -- the Kestrel.

Depending on what my next space can accommodate, the Kestrel will either be assigned to training roller duty or will find itself disassembled and hanging as a piece of art on a wall. Its components, 8-speed 105SC with two rings up front, will be cleaned and boxed up until such time as I can afford a Rivendell Roadeo frameset. I'm going to miss riding that bike -- it's truly a thrill to ride. But the ability to trust your bike is really important, and 16 years is plenty of duty for a carbon frameset. Time to retire.

So with that, I think the Motobecane will find itself as my primary ride this season. It needs a few hundred dollars worth of stuff for me to trust it in that role -- new fork, new stem and bars, new brake levers, and tires. But even with pricey options, that's not going to run more than $400, and I can slim that back to something far more reasonable without skimping too much. I'm also contemplating a 7-speed freewheel (with modern tooth profiles), to replace the old 6-speed twist-tooth unit on there. Not required, but I appreciate narrow gear spacing, and every extra cog helps.

As a likely benefit, the bike shouldn't be nearly as ugly once these changes are made. A chrome fork will harmonize much more cleanly with the bike's paint, where the 1977 Ford Granada blue fork clashes with everything, today. And I'll have more color flexibility in the bar tape department, too -- maybe a nice red cork wrap. I may also take off the fenders, to clean the lines up a bit more, and strap a more elegant pump to the frame. The name "Le Mongre" may not seem so apt once those changes have been made.

Sitting before me as a possible path, this feels pretty good, even if it only lasts a season or three before I'm ready for that Rivendell. It feels much better than letting Le Mongre go, for sure. When I shared these thoughts with a friend this morning, she seemed happy that I was considering keeping it, and getting even more out of it through a role change. Apart from knowing that I thoroughly enjoy the bike, she reminded me that it came to me during a time of transition and possibility. Possibility that's sometimes difficult to see right now, amid a lot of uncertainty. But it's always there, waiting to be seen -- and in many cases, possibility that has faded from view can be rediscovered and rekindled when timing and circumstance are right.

Perhaps this beloved old Motobecane -- rekindled in a time of possibility -- can serve as a reminder of that.

All for now,


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