Friend Bruce once said, "You can get used to ANYthing!" He's right, in a way. Purchased new, I rode my carbon Tarmac thousands of miles for four years. Those wide 44cm bars and long reach to the 110mm stem became second nature to me. Because I knew nothing else, I thought that's how road bikes were SUPPOSED to be.

It wasn't until I began restoring old steel bikes that I began to learn about different riding positions and component placement . . . and the increased enjoyment to be had in getting them right. If you look at the two old restored steelies below, you'll notice a significant difference in frame size, but a marked similarity in the distances between the seat and handlebars, pedals to seat, seat offset, etc. As I made THESE bikes fit me, I also began to look at my carbon bike with new, critical eyes. In the end, I realized the reach to the bars on the carbon bike was uncomfortably long and, except when standing on the pedals, the handlebar width was, well, sort of orangutan if you get my meaning.

So I fixed it. As with the Nishiki, I compensated for the Tarmac's long top tube with a shorter stem, and I replaced the 44cm bars with a new 40cm set that was closer to the 38cm bars on the steelies - which I preferred. It's better now.

And the message is this: Don't limit yourself to only one bike. Even if you prefer your carbon for competition and grouprides, there is a world of information to be had in purchasing, restoring and riding old steelies. Compared to the costs of carbon, the steelie hobby is relatively cheap . . . . and the fun of fixing and riding these beautiful old machines is without equal.

Have fun playing. Heh. . .

Nishiki and Raleigh.jpg