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The rider, the wrencher, the collector… who are you?

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The rider, the wrencher, the collector… who are you?

Old 12-24-21, 08:05 AM
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The rider, the wrencher, the collector… who are you?

I recently met a guy who owned hundreds of vintage mid-level French bikes, bought over a lifetime to honor French craftsmanship and keeping them in the garden without riding or working on them. I realized then how vintage passion can be shared through very different approaches. There are many comments in the different threads here telling a lot about C&V members, including being a collector in a wide sense or about being a rider vs a wrencher, but I could not find a more global thread about vintage enthusiasts preferences in terms of riding, wrenching, collecting, etc. We all enjoy the vintage beauty and its epic, and I suppose to a certain extent most of us like to ride, work and own oldies bicycles. But what do you like most ? Do you prefer the joy of a ride on your old, shiny, charming steel machine? Or the hours spent working on rusty tubes and obsolete mechanics and the satisfaction of making them work? Or being delighted at your collection and the efforts made to get it?

I personally mostly enjoy repairing/wrenching and admiring the result of a finished restoration, sometimes riding and hopefully attending vintage events, with less interest in owning a collection.

Unlike a Western movie duel involving a good, a bad and a ugly, this is just a going around the table where all answers are good. So who are you ? a rider, a wrencher, a collector, none of the above, all of them or something else… ?
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Old 12-24-21, 08:12 AM
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I consider myself a rider. Until recent events have affected my life, I was riding an average of 12,000 miles a year. I love lugged steel and did have a nice collection. But, I realized the bikes are tools to be ridden. I sold off all but 5 of my favorite riders. My current bikes are all nice Italian steel, but nothing that can't be replace. As far as wrenching, I do all my own mechanical work. I don't "restore".
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Old 12-24-21, 08:21 AM
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I'd go more of a rider than the others. Mainly I am happy to ride any bike at any time, I am not fussy. Divvy for plooting from here to there? Epic 10K of climbing? You betcha!

With collecting, I am very fussy on what I buy and just as fussy what goes on those bikes. A 1960 derailleur on a 1958 frame? Something not Italian? Not a chance.

As for wrenching, I see it as a necessary evil. My LBS does not know that 1958 derailleur better than me, probably less so. Since I ride my collection, I begrudgingly wrench on them. Doesn't mean I like it.
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Old 12-24-21, 08:37 AM
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I have a few bikes , maybe ten or so, so not a huge collector. The bikes I have have all been rebuilt in one sense or another by me usually because I want trouble free riding, which I enjoy . I do enjoy polishing up dull or rusty bikes to give them new life but only if it is a bike I really want to ride . I like the feeling of pedaling along knowing that all the bearings and parts that make it a bike have been massaged by my hands. As far as what I like the most , I can’t really determine , but if I were to chose it would be riding. That said, just riding a bike would not be the same without finding and then acquiring a bike I could only dream about when I was younger followed by taking it apart and getting it road worthy for me.
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Old 12-24-21, 09:58 AM
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I am a rider/wrencher. I enjoy them equally. I also don't do restorations and am happy to throw on whatever component fits the bill. None of my four bikes has a matching group set. Some don't have matching wheels, and one doesn't have matching spokes (black ones and silver ones in the same wheel).
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Old 12-24-21, 10:05 AM
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Yes. I am. Except I would say an over-collector...
1987 Crest Cannondale, 1987 Basso Gap, 1992 Rossin Performance EL, 1990ish Van Tuyl, 1980s Vanni Losa Cassani thingy, 1985 Trek 670, 1982 AD SLE, 2003 Pinarello Surprise, 1990ish MBK Atlantique, 1987 Peugeot Competition, 1987 Nishiki Tri-A, 1981? Faggin, Cannondale M500, etc...Need to do an N -1...

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Old 12-24-21, 10:21 AM
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I am most certainly a rider. I only have five bikes, each suited to a different purpose. The reason that I have interesting vintage bikes is that I like to appreciate the aesthetics as I roll along and I think most new bikes look horrid..

I have always been mechanically inclined and have always done most of my own wrenching on bikes cars, houses, motorcycles, boats, cabinetmaking, you name it. I don't particularly enjoy it while doing, but do get a great sense of satisfaction when the job is done. I also find that I am often just as, or more, skilled than, the "experts" plus the fact that it is often more hassle to take things to the shop, get estimates, deal with wait times and poor jobs, etc than it is to just do the job myself. I also like to save money.

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Old 12-24-21, 10:24 AM
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Ride as much as I can, but I’m a wrencher to the bone. It’s the chronic Engineering Disease in me.

Semper Fi, USMC, 1975-1977

I Can Do All Things Through Him, Who Gives Me Strength. Philippians 4:13

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Old 12-24-21, 10:25 AM
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I am a hobby wrencher,flipper. I buy bikes,work on them and sell them , more as a hobby then a money making thing. I wish i had the room to collect,i have had some beauties pass through the garage. Currently keep 5 for myself.
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Old 12-24-21, 10:29 AM
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Opportunistic accumulator. As a pest control professional I was in everyone’s basement, garage, shed, attic; anywhere all the cool forgotten stuff hides…no problem asking about or for something!
Mechanically inclined. I have enough confidence in my abilities to charge a fee for my work and accomplish the following pronouncement .
Healthy enough to ride as fast and as far as I have to or want to…
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Old 12-24-21, 10:36 AM
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I collect and wrench to ride.
I like having many nice choices to ride.
I like my classics running well and being clean.
If I could not ride then I suspect I would sell off most of my collection.
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Old 12-24-21, 10:42 AM
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Yes to all three. I collect them, because I want to wrench on them and ride them. If forced to choose just one, I'd say ride, because I won't collect or restore any bike just to sit there. I do it to ride them. But I enjoy every part of it.
"Don't take life so serious-it ain't nohow permanent."

"Everybody's gotta be somewhere." - Eccles
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Old 12-24-21, 10:42 AM
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Interesting question.

Definitely a rider first. But I do all my own work, and the three vintage bikes I have all required a lot of work, and I really enjoy working on them, so a wrencher also. With only 3 vintage bikes (and three newer bikes) I can't say I'm a collector (yet).
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Old 12-24-21, 11:44 AM
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I'm guessing if you have more than 3 bikes you are a collector? I wrench because I like to know how things work. I ride because it centers me. The first two can be obsession and the riding is my release.

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Old 12-24-21, 11:53 AM
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Wrencher then collector. Sold off everything a few years ago. Havent bought anything in over a year. Even sold off some of my special tools.
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Old 12-24-21, 12:02 PM
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I have 8 bikes , but certainly do not consider myself a collector. None of my 8 are worth a lot of dollars, nor highly sought after. They are all nice, well maintained, good riding bikes. I work on them out of necessity, to challenge myself, and self satisfaction. I absolutely love riding bikes, thus, I consider myself a rider first, with too many bikes, that has morphed into a home bike mechanic, just my bikes.
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Old 12-24-21, 12:10 PM
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Rider by day, wrencher by night and closeted collector. I have one modern bike that I'm quite happy with and is my primary rider. But I also enjoy taking something that is older from my youth preserving it and of course riding it. The old bikes I enjoy are mostly bike boom products in nearly original and survivor condition. If I find one online and at a price I feel good about, I buy it, overhaul it and ride it. I'm not interested in flipping them so it works out my keeping them is a form of collecting them.
"It is the unknown around the corner that turns my wheels." -- Heinz Stücke

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Old 12-24-21, 12:32 PM
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I'm probably a rider, but I live in a flat so I've only got room for 1 ( or 2 ?) bikes, and I'm an Old Git so I'm working on the riding bit after a layoff of 30 years (years ago I did a cycle tour of northern France).
But I'm also a good wrencher: I've rebuilt motorcycles, cars, piano accordions, musical boxes, bikes, anything that wants to work properly.
If I had the space and won the lottery I would probably turn into a collector and probably a bike co-op.
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Old 12-24-21, 12:34 PM
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I started riding again in July 2020, after hip replacements before the pandemic, so I can again call myself a rider. But not like I used to be, racing as a teenager in the '70s.

I built my own frame under Colin Laing in a 'Professional Internship Program' as a senior in high school in 1976, just after Colin moved to Tucson, and raced it a couple of times before it and my Schwinn Paramount were stolen in separate incidents. I sometimes wonder whether any of the 26" Paramounts I see might have been mine (silver with chromed Nervex lugs, fork ends and stays). I got my own frame back a couple years later from a stranger who recognized it from my description because he happened to be in a bike store when I was there reporting it stolen. He tracked me down in Seattle, and returned my bike for the $100 he had paid, plus the Greyhound shipping. I salute you, unknown good Samaritan whose name I can't recall! That was a miracle all by itself, but it sat with the thief's rattle-can burgundy paint job for over 40 years.

After my left hip replacement dislocated four times before being 'revised', I despaired of ever riding my own frame again, but after riding my Jamis Citizen 1 step-through for a year, I figured out a very inelegant method of mounting and dis-mounting my old racing bike, by laying it down on the pavement, stepping over it, and pulling it up underneath me. Then my brother gave me a powder-coating job as a birthday present, and now my frame is restored! I do also have a chromed Ellis-Briggs FAVORI, but I don't want to be a collector actually.

Since I made the frame myself, any way I build it up is 'correct', and no arguments, please!

It got fairly Franken, and may yet again:

Franken Fredo

But I like the classic look best:

Fredo, restored.

As for wrenching, the necessary evils for me are limited to tires and chains. Otherwise working on my bikes is rather fun.

To me it is funny how the bicycle forum scene parallels the audio forum scene. Visitors to a forum such as audiokarma.org will recognize the vintage vs. new debate, the listener/collector/restorer aspects of the hobby, WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor) and all manner of squabbles, right down to black vs. silver!
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Old 12-24-21, 12:50 PM
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Yes, an interesting question.

First and foremost I am a tinkerer. In 2009 I bought and old and run-down racing bike at a yard sale, thinking I'd turn that into a nice and light sports bike. Although I'd ridden bikes during my youth, that had always been out of necessity, not because I liked them.

That 2009 thought turned into the quest for the perfect touring bike over the years, and is still ongoing. I keep buying frames and parts that might be an improvement over the previous try. It leads to builds like this :

The other thing I spend a lot of time on is the history of cycling, bicycle building and bicycle racing. Pictures like this can keep me occupied for weeks:

Woo hoo!

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Old 12-24-21, 12:57 PM
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As a mechanical engineer in maintenance for much of my career wrencher fits, I have a hangar so lots of room and am now at 18 + 4 for the kids when they visit so I suppose collector fits as well. Body is letting me down and I am down to 3,000 mi/yr these days but I enjoy them immensely so still rider at heart.
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Old 12-24-21, 01:12 PM
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Rider first, wrencher second, collector last. Maybe add a category, posting to BF C&V...

In reality, I swich between the three modes often. The more time I spend on one aspect, the more I wish I were doing the other. I balances out in the long run.
If someone tells you that you have enough bicycles and you don't need any more, stop talking to them. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life.

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Old 12-24-21, 01:12 PM
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Ebbs and flows for me. An average week in 2021 = around 3 hours wrenching and 14+ hrs in the saddle... In 2020, I spent more time tinkering/dinking around in the proverbial shed than riding
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Old 12-24-21, 01:30 PM
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I have to say that lately I have enjoyed wrenching as much as ridding...

Never been a collector of bicycles but I am a sucker for old parts, components, and tools. Like my Granfathers wooden block plane... Has nothing to do with bikes and I never use it, but it looks dam good hung up next to my restored PR10 (that I never ride either)... Ha
No matter where your at... There you are... Δf:=f(1/2)-f(-1/2)
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Old 12-24-21, 02:12 PM
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All 3. My time and focus shift
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