I’ve bought and sold a lot of bikes and frames over the years. Some were bikes that I meant to restore/refurbish and pass on, others were bikes that I rode for a while and decided against keeping them as daily riders. Letting a bike go doesn’t really mean much about the bike itself, but does mean something about the rider. Each of us has unique interests, passions, body geometry, needs, desires, and energy, and some of these might change over time. The right bike will be transformative. Knowing when to let go of a bike is an elusive skill set. Here are a few bikes I’ve passed on for others to enjoy:
A 1960’s Raleigh Royale, converted to 2 speed: This bike was one of my forays into single speed riding. I kept the close ratio double front crank, and used a single speed freewheel at the rear, with no front derailleur. Riding this bike helped me realize how much I didn’t want to ride single speed or fixed. The idea was that I would move the chain by hand on the front (a la the old days before front derailleurs) and then move the hub in the dropouts to adjust chain tension. In practice, I never did this.
A Bridgestone X0-5: this bike came to me with all original but low-end components. I removed those and replaced them with some much nicer parts., including a SunTour Sprint crankset. The very nice Cro-Mo frame on these bikes is the same as the higher end versions, and so with a bit of upgrading this was a wonderful bike to ride. I kind of regret selling it now, but on several occasions I’ve spotted this bike out in Portland’s wild, ridden by its very happy new owner.
A Reynolds 531 Cilo Pacer: this was my first foray into Swiss bikes. Cilo went bankrupt in 2002, but prior to that was known for building some very nice machines. The frame had some minor rust, and the components were racing oriented. I decided to pass the bike on without building it up, as I wasn’t sure it would be right for me. It was equipped with a full Campy groupset, which I saved, and ended up selling the frame to a very interested younger cyclist.
A 1979 Large Peugeot Mixte: this basic Carbolite 103 Mixte was actually really fun to ride. Everything on this bike worked well, with very little restoration needed. It’s an extra large mixte – perfect for taller commuting cyclists, and features a front bottle dynamo, working perfectly. I hope whoever has this bike is enjoying it.
A Schwinn Passage touring bike: this is the bike that “got away”, and I now wish I still had this one in my stable. It’s an amazingly competent and practical touring bike that works equally well for commuting and sport riding.
An Early 1980’s Davidson: I wanted to love this bike, but never was able to come to terms with its geometry. I put a lot of miles on the bike before selling the frame and fork to a cyclist planning a touring adventure. I kept the original Shimano 600 components, transferring many of them to my early 1990’s Terry Symmetry.
If a bike doesn’t feel right for you, even after making a few modifications, then it’s time to pass it on to another rider. A bike that gets ridden adds so much value to the whole scheme of life. Bikes are highly personal, very unlike cars. The comfort of the cyclist is paramount, so don’t feel bad about selling a bike on. Its new owner may find a lifelong friend.