A Job Well Done

1929 Griffon wheel hub overhaul

Spending precious time maintaining and overhauling stuff that already exists and can be replaced with something new and shiny is considered a waste of time in current U.S. culture.  Why not just buy whatever you want on Amazon and be done with it?  Then, your free time can be spent on other time-wasting activities that do not involve brain power, pride of workmanship, and plain old satisfaction in a job well done.  Instead, no analysis is given to the environmental cost of throw away technology, not to mention the cost to your creativity and skill set.

Mid Century Mercier Meca Dural bottom bracket and spindle

Even if you are not a Buddhist, you may be able to appreciate the joy one can derive from honoring the work of one’s elders.  Every time I overhaul a vintage bicycle I am overwhelmed with enthusiasm and respect for the work of those innovators who came before me.  Bicycle lore, including engineering concepts and technological breakthroughs,  was well established by the early 20th century, a fact which will shock many cyclists today.

Simplex bell crank actuated rear derailleur

Derailleur design, frame geometry, tubing construction, hub generators, gear ratios, and many other concepts were worked out long ago, and very elegantly. Modern components focus only on simplicity for the cyclist rather than on something which will endure over the ages.

A 1941 Goeland owned by Annie Laurin

Vintage components were designed to last over decades of use.  That’s what makes my job so restorative to my soul.

1975 Centurion Semi Pro

This evening as I walked into my shop I smiled with joy at the classic machines I am privileged to ride, including this 1975 Centurion Semi Pro.  Tomorrow will be a dry day here in Pdx, and I’m looking forward to my bicycle commute – and smiling because I don’t even know which bicycle I will choose.  Working on all these wonderful vintage bicycles is an honor, and I hope, a job well done.

7 thoughts on “A Job Well Done

  1. Nola, great post and I love reading about reCYCLing .Like Jonathan , my passion is the racers. We all share the same feeling of fullfilment when we breathe new life back into an older bike. I often wonder when I am riding , if it is the wrenching or riding that brings me the most pleasure. Last Sunday, as I was riding , it hit me! It is the wrenching that makes the riding enjoyable. Making something work or restoring it and then riding the bike on an adventure is pure fullfilment! I too feel gratefull when I have to choose which steed to let out of the stable for my next adventure. Keep pedaling, Joe

    • Me too. I was out on a brief ride with it a few weeks ago and stopped in at an LBS I don’t normally visit. It was early Saturday morning, and the shop wasn’t open, but as soon as the staffers saw me ride up, they opened the shop up just so they could take a look at the Centurion Semi Pro. The chrome lugs and the Dura Ace stuff really impressed them!

      • That’s excellent! I have an old, old racing bicycle that my local bike shop wanted to buy from me but I told them HELL NO!

  2. Thanks Joe. In my opinion, and of course I’m sure you and Nola would agree that the old vintage racing bicycles are much better and more pleasurable to ride, and they have much more style and grace (sounds silly but it’s an old school phrase my dad tells me about old cars and trucks). Happy riding!

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