Tuesday, May 08, 2007
My close friends know that a) I love the color orange b) I'm not good at waiting. That is why, this particular project of mine is causing me extreme pain and pleasure. I found this frame at a garage sale (no before picture). It was yellow and it was sad. The bottom bracket was cracked at the lug and the seat tube would slide up and down freely. It was in bad shape. The previous owner was done with it and was selling the bike with equally worn Dura Ace and Shimano 600 components for the princely sum of $25.
I bought it on the spot, not quite knowing what to do with it. At the time I didn't know anyone that could weld or build frames, but I decided to hold on to it.
Several months later, a friend of mine said he had found a frame builder that was coming down to his house to look at one of his bikes. Would I like to bring my frame down? I jumped at the chance.
Bill Rider of Charter Oaks Bicycles came to Long Beach from San Dimas and looked at our respective projects. He said he'd take my frame home and see if it could be fixed without disassembling the rear triangle.
A few weeks later I got a call and he said he had fixed it. I opted to have it repainted from yellow to orange. He found a painter that had the original Mondonico orange AND decals. A few more weeks later he came by my apt. and dropped it off, a beautiful and fully restored ORANGE Mondonico.
The frame set alone use to retail for around $2000. After the repair and paint, I had added another $550 to my original $25 purchase.
Now came the components. I had first planned to build it on the cheap with Shimano 105, but after a happy hour with lots of beer and bike friends, they had convinced me to build it Campy. So now I was/am on the hunt for campy components.
To date, I have an NOS Campagnolo Athena crankset, Athena brake calipers, Record headset, Record 8-speed rear hub laced to a Velocity Aerohead, Athena front hub laced to an Aerohead, and Nitto Randonneur bars. I'm still waiting on some Cank Creek aero levers, Nuovo Record downtube shifters, an 8 speed cassette and Chorus front braze-on derailleur.
So the bike sits in my apartment, screaming to be ridden and it's maddening. I'm more the "strike it while it's hot" than "wait and see" personality. Or as Tennyson put it more poetically, "I must lose myself in action, lest I with despair."
I was joking with friends the other day and I wondered aloud if this was my mid-life crises vehicle. "Yes," a friend said, "it's your Miyata."