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Old 05-03-08, 06:07 PM   #1
zacster
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I pulled out my Davidson today

I recently posted a pic in the Seattle downtown thread of my Davidson. I had been wanting to get it back on the road for a few months, so I ordered a new chain. Today, I took off the old chain, cleaned the pulleys, cleaned up anything else I could find, lubed whatever parts needed it (most of them), and put the new chain on. The one thing I didn't clean was the wheels because they're used off and on with my other bike and well maintained.

This frame was made by Bill Davidson in 1981 for me, with a custom build by Charles Hadrann of Wright Bros Cycles in Fremont, Seattle, the center of the universe. It was my pride and joy for 20+ years before I finally gave in and updated to carbon fiber and modern components for my 50th Bday.

I took it for a ride in Prospect Park today, the same loop I do all the time and did 6 loops, about 25 miles. It was cool and threatening all day so I didn't plan a longer ride, plus tomorrow is the 5 borough bike tour that I'm doing with my daughter, her first long ride on her road bike. Anyway, the thing that really surprised me was how nice it still felt, even in comparison to my cf bike. It still has downtube shifters, Campy NR derailleurs, but I used a Shimano 10speed wheel. I can only use 9 of them, but that's plenty. I kept reaching for the brifter to shift of course, but I got used to the downtube pretty quickly. The biggest problem is that the braking really sucked.

I was riding with one younger guy for a few loops that had a Ti Serotta with Record components that couldn't keep up with me or at least wasn't trying. On the little uphill I just dropped him even though I was just keeping a steady pace. The thing about this that was remarkable to me is that one of the things I really like about my Kuota cf bike is how well it climbs, and how poorly the Davidson felt the last time I rode it. This time though it didn't feel any different and I just went right up the hill.

So maybe, just maybe, what a lot of people say is true, it's not the bike, it's the engine.

The only thing that changed from this picture is I used my Campy Vento wheel in front, I used my SPD pedals, and I pumped up the tires. I also have the saddle bag mounted on my Kuota now. The picture is three years old from when I last used it.
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Old 05-03-08, 07:31 PM   #2
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Cool bike ---- love the steel roadies. Lp
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Old 05-03-08, 07:40 PM   #3
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Mmmmm, nice.
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Old 05-03-08, 08:00 PM   #4
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Good story.

I know you've seen my Davidson on here. Just so you know, Bill D. is still an avid rider. He and his son went to Italy last year w/their Davidsons and rode all over, going from hotel to hotel. He was mentioning another upcoming trip -- says they are going to a hotel on Ibiza where there are organized bike rides every day. Apparently you put your bike on a shuttle bus each morning that goes around the Island...you get off where you want, and then bike back to the hotel. If you get tired, you wait for the shuttle bus to come 'round the island again in the afternoon, and you ride back to the hotel. Sounds like fun...

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Old 05-03-08, 08:09 PM   #5
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Old 05-03-08, 08:18 PM   #6
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I was in Seattle 2 years ago for the first time in a long time and I stopped by Elliot Bay, but neither Bill nor Bob Freeman were there. It's pretty amazing to me that the shop is still there. I would have thought the Pike Place rent would have skyrocketed by now. It seemed like an odd place for a shop when they opened it.

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Old 05-03-08, 08:22 PM   #7
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Sweeeeeet.
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Old 05-03-08, 08:35 PM   #8
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And now that I'm back on it, I'm already scanning epay for some newer brakes, levers, saddle, bars... It never ends. I already have a spare Chorus Crank/BB if I want to put it on.
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Old 05-03-08, 08:46 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by zacster View Post
I was in Seattle 2 years ago for the first time in a long time and I stopped by Elliot Bay, but neither Bill nor Bob Freeman were there. It's pretty amazing to me that the shop is still there. I would have thought the Pike Place rent would have skyrocketed by now. It seemed like an odd place for a shop when they opened it.
I've wondered about the rents, too. [for non-Seattlites, this is a pretty big shop right near the Pike Place Market, a major tourist draw in Seattle...it is a bike shop in the front and then the shop where Davidsons are made is in the back. It might be 20,000 to 30,000 square feet in all -- a lot of space in that location.]

I've wondered if he/Bob actually own the building, since they've been there for awhile.

Some people complain about the parking there since the tourists drive up all the parking prices right near the market, but if you stop by during the week it's not so bad after work....and obviously if you're on a bike it's a very nice ride to go the shop, pick up a part, and then wander over to the market for something to eat. Last time I was at the bike shop for a part I swung by the market for some fish, which I took home (riding fast) for the grill.
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Old 05-03-08, 09:15 PM   #10
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Lovely bike with quite a history.... what a treasure!
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Old 05-04-08, 06:54 PM   #11
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Today I was riding in the 5 borough bike tour in NYC, and I spotted a beautiful Ciocc, Italian lugged steel, with downtube shifters. Then I noticed the rider, a 20 something woman that couldn't possibly have owned it for very long. I somehow assumed it was passed down to her from her father. I was going to ask her but she stopped and pulled off before I could get to her. There are 30,000 riders in this and it gets crowded, especially in midtown Manhattan.

Later in the day at the very end of the ride in Staten Island I saw her again and got to ask. She had bought it on eBay for $300. This was the kind of bike I used to drool over, and I already had the drool worthy Davidson. I almost offered to help her restore it, but thought better of it as my wife would probably kill me for helping out this cute young thing, when I won't paint the bathroom.
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