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Old 11-21-07, 06:08 PM   #1
Niles H.
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Why does an old beater feel so much freer?

An older bike, in good mechanical shape, that still rides great, but is rather scuffed and well broken-in, no longer shiney, not going to turn any heads for sparkling aesthetics... feels very different to me.

Maybe it feels like it can be abused. Or maybe it's that it's already been through it.

I don't know exactly why or what it is, but I notice a very significant difference in the relationship with the bike. It feels like it can go anywhere, and that riding is the main thing, not looks. It's a lot more enjoyable.

It feels like the opposite of 'walking on eggs.'

****
Anyone else experience this? Any ideas on what it's about?

...and any notion of how that attitude can be transferred to other bikes?
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Old 11-21-07, 06:31 PM   #2
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Have you read "The Velveteen Rabbit" by Margary Williams?

The answer lies within.
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Old 11-21-07, 06:44 PM   #3
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Thanks. I'll check it out.
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Old 11-21-07, 09:08 PM   #4
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I just built up a cruddy old lugged steel Giant as a fixed gear. Since it is destined to be flipped, I put pretty cheap old parts on it. Steel seatpost. Steel bars. A seat from the top of the junk seat pile.

I have been riding it around for the past few days to make sure the redishing job I did to the wheels will hold up, and I will be darned if that bike does not feel as good as anything else I have ridden recently. It is light and lively and feels like it just wants to jump out and run.

I will admit that repacking all the bearings probably has something to do with it, but still.

No one will look twice at it, but it certainly has a great feel. Its not blingy, so it will not bring big money. But someone is going to be very happy with it.

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Old 11-21-07, 09:26 PM   #5
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Although I could not convince my guy to "drop the macho-BS thing and give it a shot" the Reference to The Velveteen Rabit is completely appropriate.
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Old 11-22-07, 12:13 AM   #6
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I was reluctant to ride my shiny new mtb hard through mud, gravel, and sand 'cus I was subconsciously worried about getting it messed up.

Now that it is scratched and in need of a decent cleaning, I LOVE to ride it and do so furiously!

It is all in your mind - a new bike keeps your aggressive riding at bay
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Old 11-22-07, 02:56 PM   #7
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Yeah that's why this old relic of a Typhoon under the porch waits for me to decide what to do with it.Ven I vas a small boy in the old country(Buck town Chicago) I rode the hell out of a Typhoon.Maybe because it was someone else's bike I rode it so hard but the memory is there.
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Old 11-22-07, 04:15 PM   #8
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Yup, I know the feeling. I'm selling off some of the bikes I accumulated this summer. I have a Schwinn Super LeTour that is badly faded and the decals are flaking off, almost gone. I lubed the hubs, head and BB, added a set of Performance 1 1/8, 105 PSI tires, and new bar tape. I took it out for a demo ride before listing on CL. An old double butted main tubes, full chromoly frame can't hide behind faded paint. It felt great, tight and responsive. I hope someone who is into cycling, but needs a beater for commuting buys it. It needs to be ridden.
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Old 11-22-07, 05:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dashngracie View Post
Although I could not convince my guy to "drop the macho-BS thing and give it a shot" the Reference to The Velveteen Rabit is completely appropriate.
Find a kid and read it to them.
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Old 11-23-07, 10:10 AM   #10
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When I ride my modern road bike, 17 lbs, STI, aluminum & carbon, etc, I feel like I need to "dress up." With my older bikes I'll ride in whatever I'm wearing; t-shirt & jeans, sweats, my camo hiking pants, etc. Even a baseball cap (don't tell my wife & kids). No speedometer, no heart rate monitor, don't spend the whole ride with my head down.
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Old 11-23-07, 10:32 AM   #11
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I know exactly what you mean even though I can't explain it. I've found that I enjoy riding the beaters I've pulled out of the dumpster as much as my 'nice' bikes, maybe more Although if I've got a hard ride ahead of me I reach for the best I've got.

I think part of the difference may be that I don't care if my beaters have a small hiccup now and then, the main focus is the ride itself. Or maybe you just appreciate the bike's 'personality' as its own instead of wanting it to be 'perfect'. Or maybe I should just read Great Expectations again.
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Old 11-24-07, 02:11 PM   #12
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I totally agree. In fact, one of my biggest bicycle related regrets of the last year was getting a nice shiny powder coat and putting some new bits on my Univega fixed gear commuter. It turns heads and gets lots of complimentary attention now, but I hate locking it to the rack, I wash it far more often than a commuter should be washed, and have begun that whole "inspect for scratches" OCD thing, and I longingly stare at beat up Le Tours and Raleighs.

In a way, part of the reason I enjoyed that bike so much is gone. The pursuit of vanity has clouded the purity of the ride.
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Old 11-24-07, 02:38 PM   #13
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I flyfish, too, and by and large tie my own flies, but every once in a while I'll buy a few ... for those of you who aren't familiar with these things, they're about $1.75 - $2.50 each.

When I fish a bought fly, I fish cautiously, because whenever I pop one off, or hang it up in an inaccessible tree, I can't shake the image of a couple of dollar bills hanging up there.

Even though I have God knows how much money poured into the gear and materials to tie my own flies, in my mind they're FREE. Pop one off? No problem! Plenty more where THAT came from!

The result is that I fish a lot more aggressively with my own flies, and do a lot better.

Same thing: I ride my restored Bob Jackson like it's made out glass. I ride my kinda banged-up Peugeot PKN like ... well, like it it won't be they end of the world if it takes a ding now and again.
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Old 11-24-07, 03:39 PM   #14
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I feel the same way about my kabuki fixed gear. I can ride it in conditions that i wouldn't consider on my road bike. It's freedom to bike without worries.
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Old 12-03-07, 08:55 PM   #15
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VelveteenRabbit!

Oh Stacey,I read it and was a little moist around the eyes for just a second.Then I went into the shop and took a ratty old frame and fork and started a bike for the purpose of puttting stickers on like my son .(26) does.Very nice .i will post pics soon under the header of velveteen rabbit bike.
The story is amazing to say the least All the elements of classical lit.Life,death and rebirth
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Old 12-03-07, 09:32 PM   #16
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That selfish, vain and egotistic side of us is dormant when we're astride our beaters. (well, perhaps not the egotistic side so much since we deem our beater as expendable)
There is nothing shiny, expensive, and valuable as perceived by oneself to cloud and distract you from the riding experience itself.
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Old 12-03-07, 10:26 PM   #17
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Before the advent of Rhinoliners, I was picking up a new car from the dealer. At the same time an old rancher was taking delivery on a new $45,000 pick up. When the salesman got through showing him all the bells and whistles, the old man jumped in the bed with his cowboy boots on and began vigorously shuffling his feet. After he had sufficiently scuffed up the paint, he climbed down a said "There, I don't have to worry about that anymore".
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Old 12-04-07, 09:18 AM   #18
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You can get much of the same effect by letting your modern road bike get filthy and riding it around that way. An additional benefit is no one will accuse you of being a poseur.
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Old 12-04-07, 09:24 AM   #19
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I did a singlespeed build on a beat up old Peugeot UO8 frame. Everything was simple and minimal. I took it out for a ride before looking to give it away. It was beautiful. It has become my favorite ride.
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Old 12-04-07, 09:26 AM   #20
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An old beater is like that old pair of jeans or old sneakers that are so beat to hell but you dont toss them out cause they feel soooo comfy! but they are SO beat to hell that you know you SHOULD toss them out! Yup, its the same thing with the old beater bike
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Old 12-04-07, 09:47 AM   #21
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Great thread! Loves me my beaters...the whole darn herd.

I'd rather have ten old bikes all a little different than one "good/new" bike...
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Old 12-04-07, 11:42 AM   #22
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"What if we had a velorution and everybody came?"

That would be a wonderful thing
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You see, their morals, their code...it's a bad joke, dropped at the first sign of trouble. They're only as good as the world allows them to be. I'll show you. When the chips are down, these...These "civilized" people...they'll eat each other. See, I'm not a monster. I'm just ahead of the curve
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Old 12-04-07, 11:57 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by CardiacKid View Post
Before the advent of Rhinoliners, I was picking up a new car from the dealer. At the same time an old rancher was taking delivery on a new $45,000 pick up. When the salesman got through showing him all the bells and whistles, the old man jumped in the bed with his cowboy boots on and began vigorously shuffling his feet. After he had sufficiently scuffed up the paint, he climbed down a said "There, I don't have to worry about that anymore".
Yeah, my buddy drove his new truck through brush to "break it in". I never bothered to rush the process that much. It always seems to take care of itself in due time.
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Old 12-04-07, 12:09 PM   #24
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This thread is making me reconsider powdercoating my Trek. I bought the frame for $50 last fall for the express purpose of hanging spare-part-bin components on it and making it my rain bike. It rode so beautifully that I kept riding it all spring and summer and I'd never hesitate to jump a curb or ride a gravel road.

I took it apart last month in anticipation of a group powdercoat job. We can't agree on a color, the organizer's pulled out, and now it looks like it won't happen at all. I think I'm just going to touch up the surface rust and build it back up.

Anyway, great reference to the Velveteen Rabbit. I read that to my kids every once in a while but I can never get to the end with a clear throat.
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Old 12-04-07, 12:42 PM   #25
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I have thought about blasting and painting my Schwinn but I love my faded old bike with a nice patina of rust on it. Plus it is probably bit less likely to get stolen hehe.
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