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Contentment, or purposefully riding beater bike in place of a better/nicer one...

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Contentment, or purposefully riding beater bike in place of a better/nicer one...

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Old 02-14-19, 11:38 PM
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Contentment, or purposefully riding beater bike in place of a better/nicer one...

This is a topic that has been coming to mind lately. Does anyone here choose to ride an average, mediocre, basic, utilitarian, non-exotic, cheap, lower end bike when they could ride a nice/better one, especially if one owns nicer bikes? I know we have the threads on the the nice bikes, the grail bikes, the custom made bikes, etc. I've seen the threads about the ultra-nice exotic collections of 70s-80s road bikes. No disrespect to any of them. But here we are talking about a conscious choice to select something of a lower-tier, and not just as a winter bike. This is a discussion about loving those beat up, scratched, dented, rusty, lower-end dogs that don't get much attention.

Ever since I've been bitten by the C&V bug, I've wanted to work my way up to the nicest possible bicycle (I'm sure many of us do), but for me, the side effect is that contentment is never really found with the here and now. It's always looking ahead. I'm trying to change that and appreciate what I've got. I don't have anything super high end and wouldn't say no to it if it came my way, but I'm trying to get back to just simply enjoying the basic ones I do have.

Does anyone here find their contentment in a beater bike? Also, does anyone here have any tips or thoughts about how they've found contentment in the face of endless grail-bike searching? Or maybe that is the point of the hobby?

Interested to hear all sides and thoughts on this one.
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Old 02-14-19, 11:50 PM
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SO much of it depends on the bike itself. I had one of the early Panasonic built Schwinn Le Tours until the dropout snapped and loved every minute of it. I currently have two bikes, well sort of, and one is definitely my beater, but it has nice parts on it so not sure if that counts. It is nice not having to worry about the frame though.
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Old 02-14-19, 11:51 PM
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Assuming your signature is accurate, you have a lot of very nice bikes. Take a deep breath and just enjoy them.

Takes a lot of practice to 'live in the moment'; five years into retirement, I feel like I'm getting there.
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Old 02-15-19, 12:09 AM
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Originally Posted by AdventureManCO View Post
Does anyone here choose to ride an average, mediocre, basic, utilitarian, non-exotic, cheap, lower end bike when they could ride a nice/better one, especially if one owns nicer bikes?.
This is funny.
I don't feel this way about bikes.
However, I do feel this way about cars.
And I have a few friends who feel this way about women.
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Old 02-15-19, 12:10 AM
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I think you may be blurring the lines between being a bike collector and being a bike rider.
Being a collector gives you the thrill of the chase, the satisfaction of the find, the enjoyment of the build and the pride of ownership.
Being a bike rider is the enjoyment of riding a bike which entails the obvious many things and less about the name of the decals
If that makes any sense

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Old 02-15-19, 12:14 AM
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Grail bike

My grail bike was a Kestrel Talon X (I don’t race and don’t have lofty bike acquisition goals), and I finally got one a month and a half ago. I love it and I ride the crap out of it every chance I get. But...I won’t lock it up or leave it anywhere.
That’s the beauty of a beater. If you ride some ugly, dirty POS with chipped-off paint and rattling fenders, you can park it anywhere and not worry about it. Funny thing is—at least in my experience—that ugly beast has an endearing quality that quickly makes it the #2 favorite.
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Old 02-15-19, 04:26 AM
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I am reminded of these previous posts:

Low end bike collections

Show us your beater bikes
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Old 02-15-19, 04:43 AM
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Originally Posted by AdventureManCO View Post
This is a topic that has been coming to mind lately. Does anyone here choose to ride an average, mediocre, basic, utilitarian, non-exotic, cheap, lower end bike when they could ride a nice/better one, especially if one owns nicer bikes? I know we have the threads on the the nice bikes, the grail bikes, the custom made bikes, etc. I've seen the threads about the ultra-nice exotic collections of 70s-80s road bikes. No disrespect to any of them. But here we are talking about a conscious choice to select something of a lower-tier, and not just as a winter bike. This is a discussion about loving those beat up, scratched, dented, rusty, lower-end dogs that don't get much attention.

Ever since I've been bitten by the C&V bug, I've wanted to work my way up to the nicest possible bicycle (I'm sure many of us do), but for me, the side effect is that contentment is never really found with the here and now. It's always looking ahead. I'm trying to change that and appreciate what I've got. I don't have anything super high end and wouldn't say no to it if it came my way, but I'm trying to get back to just simply enjoying the basic ones I do have.

Does anyone here find their contentment in a beater bike? Also, does anyone here have any tips or thoughts about how they've found contentment in the face of endless grail-bike searching? Or maybe that is the point of the hobby?

Interested to hear all sides and thoughts on this one.
Yes, I get a lot of "contentment" from riding what could be considered "lower end" bikes (then again, for what they are, they're probably a bit nicer than the majority of bikes out there).

I get pleasure from considering that a bike that would be considered "lower end" of the range, would've been "top end" of the range just two or three years previously. I envision my 2000 Bianchi M Alloy Pro in this way: would it be on a par with Bianchi's higher-end stuff from '98? (Maybe not, but I like to consider that possibility.) It's certainly not miles away from my 1996 Bianchi Ti Megatube, which is certainly the "top end" of the range. That's a big performance leap in a short time, and a lot of "value for money".

With the exception of a little bit of weight, how far wrong can an old steel frame go? So you don't feel like you're zipping away from a stoplight, or shooting up that climb - big deal. The ride quality of an old steel bike, set up correctly and that fits you, is very nice. Spending 10X on something rare is a waste of money in that regard (there are other good reasons to spend big money for a specific vintage bike you want, but performance ain't one of them).
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Old 02-15-19, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by ArnoldPowers View Post
SO much of it depends on the bike itself. I had one of the early Panasonic built Schwinn Le Tours until the dropout snapped and loved every minute of it. I currently have two bikes, well sort of, and one is definitely my beater, but it has nice parts on it so not sure if that counts. It is nice not having to worry about the frame though.
HA!!! GET OFF MY WAVE!!! @DQRider had chided me for always riding my (Mississippi built) LeTour Luxe, when I have a stable of "nicer" examples. When my first LeTour frame broke (see avatar), I found a nearly identical frame and transferred most of the parts to it. I call it my "Mule".
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Old 02-15-19, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by rccardr View Post
Assuming your signature is accurate, you have a lot of very nice bikes. Take a deep breath and just enjoy them.

Takes a lot of practice to 'live in the moment'; five years into retirement, I feel like I'm getting there.
Well, you are right. I definitely enjoyed finally breaking the stuck stem out of the PX10 the other day

Most of those are in a state of flux, needing repair or a build - the Ironman with a stuck seatpost all the way down, the PX10 that is too big to fit, the other one that is down to a frame, etc. etc.

I suppose they were acquired on the way 'up' the mountain, somewhere in the middle. I see a pile of Wiegles, Singers, Herses, Confentes, and others at the top, off in the far distance. However, perhaps it is all vanity. I'm reminded of the post where a former Confente owner sold his because it didn't really seem that different from some of his other bikes. Maybe the mountain top experience really happens along the way.

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Old 02-15-19, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Hudson308 View Post
HA!!! GET OFF MY WAVE!!! @DQRider had chided me for always riding my (Mississippi built) LeTour Luxe, when I have a stable of "nicer" examples. When my first LeTour frame broke (see avatar), I found a nearly identical frame and transferred most of the parts to it. I call it my "Mule".
I love that you love that bicycle so much. What happened to the first one to break at the ST/BB junction (if I'm seeing correctly)? Was it a defect, or more common on these bikes? I know the early Fuji Sports may have also had this problem, and I'm hoping that they fixed it by the time they made my 77/78 Fuji S10-S
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Old 02-15-19, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by OTS View Post
I am reminded of these previous posts:

Low end bike collections

Show us your beater bikes

OTS, thanks for these links. Checking them out.
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Old 02-15-19, 09:30 AM
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I ride a lot of cinder trails and hate it when my nicer bikes are dirty. The beaters can stay dirty and it doesn't bother me so if it's particularly muddy they're more likely to get seat time.
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Old 02-15-19, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by sdn40 View Post
I think you may be blurring the lines between being a bike collector and being a bike rider.
Being a collector gives you the thrill of the chase, the satisfaction of the find, the enjoyment of the build and the pride of ownership.
Being a bike rider is the enjoyment of riding a bike which entails the obvious many things and less about the name of the decals
If that makes any sense
Definitely.
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Old 02-15-19, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by AdventureManCO View Post
I love that you love that bicycle so much. What happened to the first one to break at the ST/BB junction (if I'm seeing correctly)? Was it a defect, or more common on these bikes? I know the early Fuji Sports may have also had this problem, and I'm hoping that they fixed it by the time they made my 77/78 Fuji S10-S
I've heard that the brazing was sometimes inconsistent on the Mississippi Schwinns. It appeared that was the case on this one... an '83 that a good friend bought new. The brazing appeared as if it didn't have good adhesion to the seat tube. I ignored the squeaks and groans for a good 75-100mi. before it actually broke. Now I listen when a bike complains to me.
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Old 02-15-19, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by AdventureManCO View Post
But here we are talking about a conscious choice to select something of a lower-tier, and not just as a winter bike. This is a discussion about loving those beat up, scratched, dented, rusty, lower-end dogs that don't get much attention.

Does anyone here find their contentment in a beater bike? Or maybe that is the point of the hobby?

Interested to hear all sides and thoughts on this one.
It often used to be people would toss out badly scratched and rusty bikes.

But that's sort of changed when ebay arrived and the popularity of so called collectables earned categories.

Before ebay, we had more garbage at the curbside on pick up day.

Before ebay, we didn't see the crazy prices for bike parts.

Before ebay, the cockroach electro forged schwinn was not a collectable.

Now when I ride around college town my beat up scratched and scruffy 60s Schwinn racer, fixie, purpose built due the Bike Forum 'clunker challenge', I've had kids eyeing it. Sux having to carry a better and heavy lock for this beater. Lol
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Old 02-15-19, 10:49 AM
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I ride not what I would consider low end bikes but rather good bones but not coveted bikes.

There are a few cool bikes I would like to have but the thing I really enjoy is the creative spark of taking a dumpster find and building it into something nice and/or unique. Basic frames allow me to do this on a regular basis and not break the bank and I can go to town with them without worrying about messing with period correct paint, decals, groupset aesthetics etc...

There is that same sort of dissatisfaction thing sometimes but it's more about what I want to do to the bike rather than just a part I want to buy: creativity rather than consumerism. What makes riding them so pleasurable is the feeling that I have personally created or rebuilt them so that they are a realization of my vision that wasn't present in the initial product.
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Old 02-15-19, 11:03 AM
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I'm in a similar situation, trying to make the transition from bike hoarder to bike rider. To do that, I set a goal for this year to get all of my bicycle frames in riding condition, and selling all those that are redundant or those I'm not really excited about (a la Marie Kondo). It so happens that several of the bike frames I've sold are, on paper, "nicer" than the frames I plan to keep. A lot of this has to do with resale value, as I've got to acquire a bunch of parts to get all of my frames rideable, but a lot also has to do with the fact that I really like these old, basic frames, and several have stories attached to them. Silly sentimentality can be a real factor in determining what bikes to collect or ride, as everyone here knows, I'm sure. In the end I'm hoping to have a bunch of bikes that aren't going to be worth very much on the market but bikes I want to ride for the ride's sake. Not an investment for financial returns, but for having fun.

This Univega Gran Turismo has been through a lot, and I'm not treating it with kid gloves, but it keeps on going. It's not very special, on paper. But it's rad to ride on singletrack and gravel, and it has a weird origin story. So I'd rather invest in new parts and, eventually, a good paint job rather than get a fancy purpose-built gravel grinder or a proper classic cyclocross bike.

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Old 02-15-19, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by AdventureManCO View Post
Well, you are right. I definitely enjoyed finally breaking the stuck stem out of the PX10 the other day

Most of those are in a state of flux, needing repair or a build - the Ironman with a stuck seatpost all the way down, the PX10 that is too big to fit, the other one that is down to a frame, etc. etc.

I suppose they were acquired on the way 'up' the mountain, somewhere in the middle. I see a pile of Wiegles, Singers, Herses, Confentes, and others at the top, off in the far distance. However, perhaps it is all vanity. I'm reminded of the post where a former Confente owner sold his because it didn't really seem that difference from some of his other bikes. Maybe the mountain top experience really happens along the way.
I used to have a 1954 Hetchin's Magnum Opus with vibrant stays. It rode nicely enough, but I always felt a bit pretentious and showy when I rode it. (my problem for certain, but the effect was real). I passed it on to someone who is giving it more love than I could. I'm not wanting to imply that any of my other bikes are not good (they'd never let me hear the end of it), but I have more fun riding my Giant Iguana conversion than I did with the Hetchin's.
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Old 02-15-19, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
I ride not what I would consider low end bikes but rather good bones but not coveted bikes.

There are a few cool bikes I would like to have but the thing I really enjoy is the creative spark of taking a dumpster find and building it into something nice and/or unique. Basic frames allow me to do this on a regular basis and not break the bank and I can go to town with them without worrying about messing with period correct paint, decals, groupset aesthetics etc...

There is that same sort of dissatisfaction thing sometimes but it's more about what I want to do to the bike rather than just a part I want to buy: creativity rather than consumerism. What makes riding them so pleasurable is the feeling that I have personally created or rebuilt them so that they are a realization of my vision that wasn't present in the initial product.
This is exactly it, for me. For me, this is the best part about being "into" Classic and Vintage bikes: old, basic frames are a much better blank canvas than fancy frames, either old or new. Slap on some funky paint, make it a gravel grinder or a single speed if ya want, and have fun!
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Old 02-15-19, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
...the thing I really enjoy is the creative spark of taking a dumpster find and building it into something nice and/or unique. Basic frames allow me to do this on a regular basis and not break the bank and I can go to town with them without worrying about messing with period correct paint, decals, groupset aesthetics etc...

There is that same sort of dissatisfaction thing sometimes but it's more about what I want to do to the bike rather than just a part I want to buy: creativity rather than consumerism. What makes riding them so pleasurable is the feeling that I have personally created or rebuilt them so that they are a realization of my vision that wasn't present in the initial product.
Originally Posted by tiredhands View Post
This is exactly it, for me. For me, this is the best part about being "into" Classic and Vintage bikes: old, basic frames are a much better blank canvas than fancy frames, either old or new. Slap on some funky paint, make it a gravel grinder or a single speed if ya want, and have fun!
Yes. This is why I C&V.
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Old 02-15-19, 11:57 AM
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I've had a winter/rain/city fix gear - early '80s usually Japanese sport bike frame, fenders, LowRider rack and a lock since 1976. One continuous bike. Everything has been replaced at least 4 times including frames. Currently its a circa 1983 4something Trek. It developed the Trek seatstay cap cracks so I had it properly fixed and it now sports sky blue powdercoat and an acre of almost perfect match 3M reflective tape. It has a blue chainring, again almost a perfect match but looking kinda BMX a few years ago. So between the colors and the tape getting beat up, it is not what you would call "showroom" but it is fun. End with its very long aggressively angled black stem it looks cool. (The stem is long enough to scare most people off. 175mm.)

The bike does not have great tubing. Probably hi-ten stays and forks. Not a silky ride on rough roads. But the fit is superb. Feels "right" the instant I get on. And it serves its purpose very, very well. If I had to trim my fleet to one bike and I wasn't allowed to spray can my Peter Mooney, it'd be this mediocre Trek because I can ride it year 'round, lock it almost anywhere, it serves very well as a fix gear, fits like a dream and could in a pinch do a lot of other things. Thankfully, I don't have to make that choice now! I liker my Mooney, my two TiCycles and my fun Raleigh Competition too much.

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Old 02-15-19, 12:09 PM
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I don't like bikes, just come here to look at the pictures. I don't like people, either, but they still let me post. I need something to do to keep from mowing down innocent civilians, so I tinker a bit, ride a bit. When I'm not macing the kids on my lawn or kicking stray dogs, I like C&V. I like steel because if the top tube is bigger than my... I'm just not into the bike.

No other reason, really.

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Old 02-15-19, 12:13 PM
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Bikes: 1980 Masi, 1984 Mondonico, 1984 Trek 610, 1980 Woodrup Giro, 2005 Mondonico Futura Leggera ELOS, 1967 PX10E, 1971 Peugeot UO-8

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Originally Posted by AdventureManCO View Post
Well, you are right. I definitely enjoyed finally breaking the stuck stem out of the PX10 the other day

Most of those are in a state of flux, needing repair or a build - the Ironman with a stuck seatpost all the way down, the PX10 that is too big to fit, the other one that is down to a frame, etc. etc.

I suppose they were acquired on the way 'up' the mountain, somewhere in the middle. I see a pile of Wiegles, Singers, Herses, Confentes, and others at the top, off in the far distance. However, perhaps it is all vanity. I'm reminded of the post where a former Confente owner sold his because it didn't really seem that difference from some of his other bikes. Maybe the mountain top experience really happens along the way.
It IS all vanity, but so what? I don't think anyone has spoken of a particular high-end bicycle as "perfect." As a kid (high school) I was happy with bikes I had that rode well - sporty, easy handling, responsive, and comfortable. I always want to tweak a bike that I buy. I have a "nearly perfect" Mondonico ELOS road bike - light, attractive, likes 2x10 and 3x10, great ride quality, steering, speed (considering the meager engine!) and it's a good fit. But, it can't take fenders without some surgery, the seat tube is a little too steep, and the head tube is a little too short for me. Suppose I find an affordable Weigle or better, a gift certificate for Peter to make me one. Will it be perfect? Will I know enough to specify all the points I might want him to be sure to have on my perfect bike.

At the same time, I have a 1970-ish UO-8 whose only flaw(s) is beautiful metallic green paint in crummy condition, upgraded Shimano crank runs in a poorly fitting BB using the original cups, the 27" wheels are original, and a dozen other defects of a non-restored Old Bike. But, it has a great ride, decent handling, good pedal response, and a surprisingly good fit to my poor old body despite measuring an inch too big. I also need to score a fork that does not have a formerly kinked steer tube, with the original 1970 geometry. But, it gave me a great 30 mile ride on a sunny November afternoon.

The old Peug is demonstrably not as good as the wonderful red Mondonico. But both have enabled great rides.
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Old 02-15-19, 12:16 PM
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79pmooney
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Location: Portland, OR
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Bikes: (2) ti TiCycles, 2007 w/ triple and 2011 fixed, 1979 Peter Mooney, ~1983 Trek 420 now fixed and ~1973 Raleigh Carlton Competition gravel grinder

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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
...

There are a few cool bikes I would like to have but the thing I really enjoy is the creative spark of taking a dumpster find and building it into something nice and/or unique. Basic frames allow me to do this on a regular basis and not break the bank and I can go to town with them without worrying about messing with period correct paint, decals, groupset aesthetics etc...

...
A dozen years ago I picked up a trashed Peugeot sport frame (!~1989 internally lugged Reynolds 501) for $20 (hit hard by a car). Repaired it and got it on the road for another $85 and parts/wheels on hand. As fun summer fix gear, What a blast! Took me back to the bike I raced and loved. Most fun bike I ever rode. A year later I had it painted with "TEAM DUMPSTER" in block letters on the downtube and "Jessica" in script on the top tube.

3 years and 8000 miles later, I ordered a custom ti bike to replace it as I knew from day one Jessica was not a keeper; that she'd been hit too hard to ride forever. So the $500 Jessica got replaced by the $4000 Jessica J which is about to go through a small name change back to Jessica. (Name's getting painted on the fork blades. Jessica tapers, Jessica J doesn't.)

Now, in truth, there are a lot of things the new Jessica does very well that the original didn't. Corner. That Peugeot had the classic Peugeot low, low BB and scraped pedals just looking at turns with cranks so short my knees hated them. I would never climb a hard hill on it because I would have to come back down and I didn't want that frame breaking on a descent. And if I got the chain length just right I could get 2 whole teeth worth of cog difference on that really short dropout. The new bike can run from 12 to 24 without messing with the chain. But going down a straight road - that cheap bike was just as much fun as the bike that costs 8 times as much.

Ben
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