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 Post subject: My nostalgia journey
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2013 10:37 am 
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Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2013 9:51 pm
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Location: AL5, Herts, UK
Inspired by Vonhoolio's post, I thought I'd write about my nostalgic cycling influences. viewtopic.php?f=12&t=271229

My main influence was visits to Shorters in Finchley and spending my life with my nose in the Madison (I think) catalogue reeling at the cost of Campagnolo components. Reality was a Carlton Criterium bought from Chamberlaine in Kentish Town for £175 - after discount from salesman Steve Chamberlaine who I was at school with.

I commuted daily on the Carlton from Barnet to my job at London Zoo. At that time nobody cycled in central London and anyone who did was regarded as mildly eccentric. Traffic was comparatively light and door to door was not much slower than I'd previously taken by motorbike. Cycling clothing was mostly woollen as Lycra, etc, were yet to be invented.

I was never totally happy with the Carlton. It was a little too small for me. The components were a bit low-rent. But worst of all the frame was not even 501 so I developed a Reynolds inferiority complex. More visits to Shorters didn't help as I couldn't afford upgrades beyond raising the gearing a bit to match my fitter legs.

Elsewhere in my life I decided to leave the Zoo and go to college. But in my last week working there, and nearly home one evening, a dozy git in an Escort ran into me from behind while I was waiting to turn right. The bike and I were punted ten yards down the road. Thankfully the only damage to me was torn shorts and the bike had a buckled rear wheel.

In the sort of fit of poor judgement prevalent in young men everywhere I had the wheels rebuilt with Mavic GP4 rims (by Shorters). These rode fast and smoothly but they were sprints and I quickly found I could go almost nowhere without the tubular tyres puncturing. So with my change of circumstance I went off the bike and stopped riding.

Two years ago, now aged 50 and looking for something to replace swimming (hateful to train for), I returned to cycling. I still can't believe Campagnolo prices but at least I could afford them now - if I wanted a new bike. But I wanted what I couldn't afford in the 80s. So I spent a happy 2 months scouring eBay and built the Real Steel Special. Everything is Campag Chorus 8 speed (so a little out of era) plus a 531c frame (originally Ribble so probably built for them by Mike Kowal). All in cost well under £400 and I love it.

The bike is one of five in the shed and gets ridden on sunny days and in the occasional sportive. I set fastest time of the day on it for a lap of Redbourn Common at the Fete du Velo http://feconsultingltdcouk.ipage.com/hu ... _June.html . So we're doing OK despite our combined age of over 75!


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 Post subject: Re: My nostalgia journey
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2013 10:46 am 
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Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2011 10:55 am
Posts: 2918
Location: Dorset
A similar story to mine although I am a little younger :)


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 Post subject: Re: My nostalgia journey
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2013 7:13 am 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2013 6:53 pm
Posts: 25
Cool story with an even cooler bike at the end of it :)


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 Post subject: Re: My nostalgia journey
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2013 11:43 am 
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Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2013 9:51 pm
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Location: AL5, Herts, UK
widowmaker wrote:
A similar story to mine although I am a little younger :)

Blimey, you worked wt the Zoo as well! That really is a coincidence :-)

And separately, I wanted to mention that the brilliant feature on my old Carlton was the Sun Powershift levers. Having grown up on friction levers these really were excellent. Non indexed but friction free on the downshift against the spring tension via some kind of ingenious ratchet mechanism.


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 Post subject: Re: My nostalgia journey
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2013 8:40 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2011 10:55 am
Posts: 2918
Location: Dorset
glpinxit wrote:
widowmaker wrote:
A similar story to mine although I am a little younger :)

Blimey, you worked wt the Zoo as well! That really is a coincidence :-)

And separately, I wanted to mention that the brilliant feature on my old Carlton was the Sun Powershift levers. Having grown up on friction levers these really were excellent. Non indexed but friction free on the downshift against the spring tension via some kind of ingenious ratchet mechanism.


I said similar :)


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 Post subject: Re: My nostalgia journey
PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 12:04 am 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Thu Jul 25, 2013 6:25 am
Posts: 60
Location: Kansas
Great story, cool bike and welcome back!


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