As a child, I remember at an early age getting into bicycles. It’s true that it is a right of childhood to learn to ride a bike and zip it up and down the block. But I suppose mine might have been a little different, being the fact that my father was an avid cyclist, a brief Cat 5 racer and eventually falling into the category of cycle-tourist. I remember distinctly as a kid my interest was in mountain biking, road riding never interested me, and I was always confounded by my dad’s interest in this seemingly blase style of riding. What fun is it if you’re not going over tree roots and bopping over rocks. Maybe it had to do with being an angsty teenager, trying to fit in, but I never caught on to my dad’s obsession with bikes. It just never stuck… That is until I began living in Buffalo, NY and began using a bike as a commuter, as a means of getting somewhere. No longer was it about riding in circles for exercise (as most Americans view bicycles) but it was about getting somewhere. This was exactly what my dad loved about cycle touring, you go somewhere, you see something. He still shares stories with me, about touring the Midwest during a tornado, or conquering the White Mountains of New Hampshire. It seems every time I know every story of his, I find a new one, like today he shared a story of the moose tour ride he had in Maine, exploring the backwoods of Maine into Quebec. It’s a shame it took me so long to understand what he loved so much about cycling but now I’m hooked.
Campy Headset and Cinelli Stem; bella.
This all comes about as I’ve had a chance to return to Long Island and catch up with my father once more, who has himself been getting back into riding (I blame it on being an empty nester, even my mother is getting involved). I’ve also had a chance to look at his bikes with a new understanding of these machines. That being said I had a chance to pull out his beautiful steel frame Bottechia racing bike. It truly is a work of art with simple, but decadent lugs and fully equipped with Campy groupset and Cinelli headset and bars. With his permission I decided to spend the afternoon taking out this beauty.
The bike out was not a super smooth ride, but a quick one. The skinnier tires and stiff frame meant I felt the road, but every push got me farther than my Cross-Check would have gotten me. With a few quick pumps the bike is sitting around top speed. The bike is incredibly responsive and handles like a breeze. Unlike new bikes that are all about smoothness or responsiveness, this bike had character with it’s seeming touch to the road and it’s responsiveness. Plus it looks super sweet, the aesthetic hung on from the 70s road bikes (but I believe this is an 80’s frame). I took it for a quick spin to the beach (including a nice fall thanks to clipless pedals, which in reality I should switch over to for around town and day rides, still not convinced for long touring) and enjoyed some of the sunshine.
Bike on the Bay.
This is not my dad’s every day bike, he now reps his Cannondale touring frame more so (it has a much less aggressive set up), but it is a quality frame and it was great to feel that same connect my father had had with riding and even share his pride and joy of a bike. And like him I was able to feel some nostalgia going around town passed some of my old haunts. It’s strange seeing these places with a new perspectives, with my feet on the pedals and seat on the saddle as opposed to idly passing by in a car. I passed all the places I drank beers as a teenager, all the stupid shit we sat on, and of course my first upstarts and failures as a kid. It was a really strange experience to see this town with new eyes and old sentiments on a bike that I’m sure holds sentimental value for my father as well.