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Old 07-17-14, 11:40 AM   #1
BFisher
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C&V: A lonely hobby

For reasons known to all who have the C&V bug, I love working on and riding these bikes. New rides don't appeal to me; I love lugged steel. As much fun as I have with this, I don't know anyone else that's into it. My rides are always solo and when I show people my bikes, they clearly don't share the passion. My area is not very cycle friendly, NE Pennsylvania. How have others been able to connect with fellow C&V enthusiasts? Does anyone else find it to be a lonely hobby?
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Old 07-17-14, 11:54 AM   #2
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Here, and here only.
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Old 07-17-14, 12:04 PM   #3
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I compare newer bikes to newer Lamborghinis or the like. They are modern, sleek, and just look plain fast. But they don't do much for me. Now older bikes, I look at them like a vintage Ferrari 250. Gorgeous, sexy works of art.
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Old 07-17-14, 12:05 PM   #4
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C&V might be a select few...but almost everyone has a bicycle somewhere. I have friends and coworkers asking me about their bikes and I help them out where I can. Working on the bikes is a little therapeutic and keeps me occupied. Every now and then I have someone comment on the bike which is nice. Having a few extras means visiting family always has the option to take them out with me and experience a different kind of bike.
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Old 07-17-14, 12:10 PM   #5
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Since I got the bug back, I have lived in areas where there were others. At the same time, I keep finding more people that appreciate the quality steel. Some were found on CL. I don't know what it says about me but the best ones are here on this forum! One even caused me to drive 7 hours to meet him and buy stuff from him!
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Old 07-17-14, 12:30 PM   #6
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I agree. Although I live near Portland, which is very bike friendly, I personally don't have "real life" friends who are into bikes, or older bikes. I've found that my friends are "situation" based - gym friends, work friends, personal friends, volunteer friends. There doesn't seem to be a lot of cross over, and none of them are into bikes or biking. They think I'm impressive with my ability to work on bikes, but they don't really care about components, frame tubing, etc.
So....I visit the forum for inspiration, learning and such.
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Old 07-17-14, 12:39 PM   #7
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Here, and here only.
This.
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Old 07-17-14, 12:42 PM   #8
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Here, and here only.
Exactly. I thought that's what this forum was for.

I imagine it's the same for tube audio enthusiasts, stamp collectors, Civil War re-enacters, etc.
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Old 07-17-14, 12:43 PM   #9
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Were out there,lurking in the shadows and working in garages.

Its just as much social as it is lonely.

My Nephew and his friends on occasion stop by to use my tools. They disappear just as quickly as they appear with remnants of broken parts,frayed cables and tools strewn about.
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Old 07-17-14, 12:47 PM   #10
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@Velocivixen - keep looking I am sure there are some in Portland. Visit the coop on the east side. Don't know if Recyclery is still around but the owner is cool and very knowledgable.
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Old 07-17-14, 12:51 PM   #11
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Don't get me wrong, I think that this forum is really fantastic. There are some great people on here. I just get to the point sometimes where I think, I can't be the only one around here doing this. Can I?
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Old 07-17-14, 01:00 PM   #12
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I visited two longstanding framebuilders in Seattle yesterday for a possible re-paint. Bill Davidson says he only rides new bikes. The guys at R&E were interested in my vintage for about 2 minutes, but only as 'curiousity', not a serious road bike.

To call C&V on-the-fringe of cycling is about the best to expect. And some would say the weirdo-retrogrouch fringe. So be it, room for all is my philosophy.
Although we have a couple of neighbors who have nice C&V, seldom ridden tho'.
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Old 07-17-14, 01:04 PM   #13
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@SJX426- the guys/gals at City Bike on 19th know me by sight & some by name! lol. One of the guys working at City Bikes Coop was helping a young woman with a French bike - he sees me & says something like, "Oh here's someone who's a French bike expert!" They know because I had frequented them looking for stuff for my Moto. Finally bit the bullet & bought VO French bottom bracket as well as the Grand Cru MK II crankset, which pretty much solved my problems. The folks at Universal, down the street know my first AND last name! Community Cycling folks know my face too.

I consider them acquaintances, not "friends". They know I like older bikes. Heck, the Bike Gallery in Beaverton knows my first & last name, but they like newer bikes.

As an aside, I like being in my garage, alone, thinking, talking to myself figuring things out. It's mechanical as well as artistic to me. I'm all about aesthetics AND function, and sometimes that combination requires creativity and thought. It's my "quiet time" tinkering around.

Last edited by Velocivixen; 07-17-14 at 01:06 PM. Reason: added info..
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Old 07-17-14, 01:26 PM   #14
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I'm not much of talker and I am not one to accumulate friends. It is what it is and I it is more or less as I like. Anyway, SO other accumulates acquaintances like a wool jersey collects link in winter. My SO doesn't know (and doesn't care) squat about vintage bikes, but she reports back that other people she talks to are impressed or like my vintage bike. Kind of funny, but it is what it is.

Boston is kind of funny. Lots of people with lots of money and they go and buy the latest Carbon Fiber, but there are still some on CF that know a good vintage bike and I get random comments as I go slowly on roads around town. Somervillian tried to start a vintage group here in the Boston area. He did things for a couple of years, but I don't think there is enough in common across interests for the group to hold together.

And jimmuller has pushed to get some nice group rides together that I like, but it is hard for me personally to allocate the time to get the whole ride in.

I can only image in a place that is less bike friendly it is even harder.
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Old 07-17-14, 01:33 PM   #15
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I feel lucky that my three closest friends and riding buddies all share an interest in C&V.

Yesterday I was driving around my girlfriend's area in another part of my state and saw what appeared to be a beautifully maintained and cared for Cinelli go flying by. C&V lovers are out there, maybe just a bit harder to come by. I know that if I was out riding and saw another I'd be inclined to at least chat for a bit. It may be a slightly obscure interest / passion, but that makes it all the more likely that friends can be made around it. If you can find them, that is.

My local shop knows that I'm 'into older bikes', but that's about the extent of it. Their (and their customers') disinterest in C&V has landed me some sweet deals, however - including a free '80 Motobecane GT.
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Old 07-17-14, 01:44 PM   #16
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Don't get me wrong, I think that this forum is really fantastic. There are some great people on here. I just get to the point sometimes where I think, I can't be the only one around here doing this. Can I?
It can be tough to find anyone nearby sometimes, but they could be out there. I recently ran into a guy who was riding a very nice old Raleigh Pro. Turns out he lives about a mile from me. But I met him just by chance. I wasn't on my bike but at the post office.

Have you thought of maybe setting up a vintage bike ride in your area?

My buddies couldn't really care less about vintage bikes. We share the love of fly fishing. But I get together once in a while with a few guys here for a group ride. If the tides aren't right for striper fishing.
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Old 07-17-14, 01:47 PM   #17
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@SJX426- I like being in my garage, alone, thinking, talking to myself figuring things out. It's mechanical as well as artistic to me. I'm all about aesthetics AND function, and sometimes that combination requires creativity and thought. It's my "quiet time" tinkering around.
This is exactly how I feel too.
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Old 07-17-14, 01:56 PM   #18
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I think, perhaps, one of the local shops used to do a vintage ride. I'd have to look and see if they do. It is extremely rare to see a C&V bike out and about around here.
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Old 07-17-14, 02:11 PM   #19
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As an aside, I like being in my garage, alone, thinking, talking to myself figuring things out. It's mechanical as well as artistic to me. I'm all about aesthetics AND function, and sometimes that combination requires creativity and thought. It's my "quiet time" tinkering around.
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Old 07-17-14, 02:16 PM   #20
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I prefer to bike alone (not that I have much option during my 5 a.m. weekday rides); plus the only bike club in my town is dominated by arrogant jerks so I ride alone. FWIW the guys at the bike shop are all pretty impressed with the classic bike I recently scored.
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Old 07-17-14, 02:35 PM   #21
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My C&V bikes were acquired by attrition, all were purchased new and built by me for a specific purpose when they were state of the then current technology. They are the survivors that suited me best and are still kept in service.
I'm in touch w/ several teammates from "back when" who still cycle regularly and all have one or two classics that they have held onto and ride, if only on occasion.

There is a one man shop in the area that speaks fluent C&V if I ever feel the need to chat about tied & soldered wheels or pick up a NOS can of Sturmey Archer oil. It's like going into an American bar in a foreign country for ex-pats, nice when you can communicate in your native tongue.

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Old 07-17-14, 02:53 PM   #22
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I have several friends that ride, but only one of them is a true bike geek like myself. It's always a fun day when he wants to ride because we both pull out something with lots of chrome, and enjoy the day talking shop while we ride. It only happens every so often, so when it does, I really enjoy it. Aside from that, I'm good at being a loner in my home shop, especially when theres good music playing, a cold beer or hot coffee on the work bench, and a beautiful machine in the rack. I love to tinker as much as I love to ride.
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Old 07-17-14, 02:59 PM   #23
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The thriving C&V forum might give me a false impression of the states. It makes me think that there are large groups of C&V people all over. Large group rides every weekend or just hanging out at some nice bar or café.

How is the real C&V life in US?
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Old 07-17-14, 03:02 PM   #24
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Yeah, terribly lonely.


Downtown by doohickie@ymail.com, on Flickr

One of the groups I ride the most with is very diverse when it comes to bikes. I ride my old jalopies and they get admired. I get to check out other peoples' bikes, some older than I am. There are newer bikes, too, but really, maybe a quarter of the bikes are along C&V lines.
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Old 07-17-14, 03:05 PM   #25
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The thriving C&V forum might give me a false impression of the states.
I would say that statement is (probably) accurate.

Here there are lot of us

But I see very few vintage bikes where I ride. That isn't saying much though.
Around here may be a non-typical example

Last edited by rootboy; 07-17-14 at 03:20 PM.
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