Friday Group Ride #8

OK. Circle up. Circle up. Zip up your jackets. Straighten your knee warmers. Adjust the velcro on your shoes. It’s time to roll out.

I got to thinking recently that, though the TDU wrapped up and the pros are moving on to minor races and mini-camps and whatnot, the season still hasn’t really begun. It’s torturing me a bit actually. I’ve read the Cycle Sport Season Preview twice. I’m ready.

The Etoiles de Bességes is on, but I can’t watch it. Tour of Qatar is coming. Yawn. Hot. Flat. Sandy. It’s a training ride.

So, absent my first choice of cycling entertainment, let’s turn to my second: equipment.

This week’s question is this: What bike, that you’ve owned and ridden, has been your absolute favorite and why?

Mine is the red Peugot CPX-100 dirt bike I got for Christmas when I was eight. I’ve loved a lot of bikes, but no other machine proved as great a revelation as that one. That bike gave me a style and independence that I had wanted so badly without even knowing it. It gave me access to miles of trails and jumps, tucked back in the woods near the house, and gave me, for the first and last time in my life, the nicest ride among my friends.

I have an old, steel Moser that I’m quite fond of. I have a Surly Cross-Check that has seen me through a couple of winters, but that old red BMX is my all-time favorite.

Your turn.

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  1. Padraig

    Everyone: I apologize for no posts for the last two days. I’ve been facing some technical issues that took much longer to sort out than anticipated. It also slowed my ability to respond to comments. Thanks for your patience.

    Now, on bikes, I have ridden several bikes that I swore were the best bikes I had ever ridden. The bike that made the single greatest impression on me at the time that I first rode it was a Miele Team. It was handbuilt by Giuseppe Ferrara at their shop in Canada and was so much better handling than every bike I had ever ridden before it that I wonder why I sold it. My first ride on it made me think I was unfamiliar with the sport of cycling. Put another way, I had a single thought as I rode it: Oh. My. God.

  2. dacrizzow

    a 1999 GT I-Drive 3.0. i went through two forks, three sets of wheels. several pedal sets, and lots of tune-ups and overhauls. it took me to places physical, emotional, spiritual, mental, you get the picture. i’ve been to all these places since but that bike showed me what i was made of. as i get older i seem to be reminded more and more what i’m NOT made of. they’re all my babies though, god bless ’em.

  3. grolby

    I replaced my old steel Univega Gran Record (turned into a race bike with the help of some chewing gum and masking tape) in the fall of 2008. An LBS sold me a Specialized S-Works E5 Aerotec frameset left over from 2004 that they were desperate to get rid of. I built it up with a Rival group. I rode it. As Padraig put it: Oh. My. God. It had been impossible to conceive of what I had been missing. The E5 is a pure, raw racing machine. Yet it is also as rideable as any skinny-tired road bike I had ever ridden before or since. I had been skeptical of the “harsh ride of aluminum” before riding this bike; after riding it, that myth was just blown out of the water, as far as I’m concerned. You can make more refined bikes out of CF; you can make more elegant bikes out of steel. High-end aluminum has no competitors when it comes to high-performance, lightweight, good-riding race bikes at a low cost. It inhabits a rare meeting point for value and performance; it’s a damn shame to see it on the way out.

  4. Dan O

    Wow – that’s a tough one. I’ve had fun on and a connection to all bikes i’ve owned, from the ratty Sting Ray copies converted to BMX bikes – to the bikes I ride today. I’d even toss in the Huffy road bike I rode as a kid in the ’70s.

    I’ve also been fortunate to own some cool old school bikes back “in the day” and hung on to most of ’em. From my ’84 Miyata Ridge Runner that introduced me to mountain biking, to the ’80s Raleigh – my first “real” road bike. A few Fat Chances, Bridgestone RB-1 and MB-Zip, and a few Ibis bikes as well.

    Still, if I have to pick something right now – and this could change if asked tomorrow – I’ll pick my first Fat Chance, circa 1986. That bike was cool as hell when I bought it. And I rode the hell out of it. For years. Introduced me to racing as well. I’ve been a Fat fan since (R.I.P.).

    I’m going to cheat a bit here and point to my blog, where I’ve previously posted a story about it:

    My blog is like a cheap lemonade stand compared to Red Kite Prayer. Take a gander at the old Fat if interested.


    1. Padraig

      Everyone: Thanks for sharing your experiences and love.

      Dan O: Not enough has been written about Fat Chance and most of that has been forgotten. Chris and his crew did great work. It’s nice to have someone recall their great work. Similarly, the IF Crown Jewel is Chris’ grandchild. A very fine bike indeed. I loved the one I reviewed.

  5. George

    When I was a kid, me and my two riding buddies covered thousands of miles a summer on $59 department store ten speeds. One day about 35 miles from home, I completely snapped the bottom bracket from the seat post and down tube of my bike.

    I spent every penny I had and an advance from my boss on a Schwinn 594 aluminum with 6 speed sis shifters, biopace chain rings, and a selle san marco saddle. That bike was the most monstrously stiff thing in the world. I beat up on that bike and it beat up on me. I raced that bike for many years. It wasn’t a great bike, but it was my first real race bike and my favorite. Far far far from the best I’ve ever owned, but still the favorite.

    I replaced it with a cannondale the same summer LA was diagnosed with cancer.

  6. souleur

    Great question.

    My fave by a long shot was/is my 99′ Bianchi Boron steel ride. I was riding a cannondale 2.8 before this which felt like a bad ride from las vegas at the time, plus at the time canny wasn’t too inspirational at the time. Lackluster paint, low end components and etc. Then Pantani rode to a glorious victory in 98, which inspired me the following year to buy up the boron steel steed which my dear friend at the LBS said was the best and lightest steel he had ever seen, and perhaps is quite competitive still yet to date. I hand picked the components, had a journeyman wheelbuilder custom lace up american classics to open pros, decked it with 7700 grouppo, the big one stem, 3T bars, celeste all over and had my first personally clad ride. It was unmistakably Italian & I loved it since and have had to lovingly care for it this last year and have had it refurbed some 10 years later, because steel does have its blemishes over time, especially in muck. I plan on some Fondo rides this year with it because she fits like a glove.

    In fact, have been looking for such a feeling since, but now I am just pickier. Perhaps the new Dogma though will provide the cure.

  7. Lachlan

    I’ve had my share of childhood obsessions with bikes.
    I’ve done custom steel.
    I’ve done team issue.
    I still have my first carbon bike.

    But I’ll unashamedly say the most exhilarating, most beautiful to ride, to clean, to look at and to understand, is by a mile, a clear mile, is my current ride – my Cervelo R3.

    Nothing is even in the same league.

    The build evolves but currently is mostly pretty standard stuff: DA7900, Selle Italia, Zipp, TIme, FSA, Rotor and Roues Artisanales, with vittoria rubber. Yet its sub UCI weight limit in its summer build.

    It gives me handling skills I never before had, and seems to fly up hill and down dale with equal certain sharpness.

    It makes me ride more and gives me pride to ride.
    Its also the only bike people have stopped their cars and chased me to ask about.

  8. Michael

    I have 3

    1. old Peugeot mass-marketed bike from the late-80’s, the PB-14. My first ever road bike, in a bright neon-pink. I was 15 when I got this bike as a gift from my parents in my final year of high school. Marginal mix of components save for a campy front derailleur and simplex retrofriction levers. my first ride over 100km was on this bike. my first road race was on this bike. my first ever TT (with a borrowed disc wheel and clip-on’s ala ’89 Lemond) on this bike. first ever major crash on this bike. i still have dirt from that crash deeply imbedded in the skin below my elbow that everytime i look at it, it reminds me of that bike. god i loved that bike

    2. my first ever mountain bike, a Marin Pine Mountain. this bike was a big deal, circa 1992 in my very small home town in north-eastern Quebec 10 hours drive from anywhere near civilization. lightweight, mix of XT components, it ignited my love for riding in the back country all day long. road trips to XC races at Mont St-Anne, Bromont for the 92′ MTB world’s, Moab for the Slickrock. Great, great bike.

    3. my current commuting rig, a Kona Jake the Snake. After many years away from riding due to developing other passions, this bike which had been collecting dust in my garage for 7 years was cleaned up and rolled out to start commuting to work. Now it has re-ignited my passion for bikes, I have slowly customized it and tricked it out to also double as a training bike, and every time i see it hanging in the garage it makes me smile.

    special mention – the new bike that I am currently shopping for! it will be the first real high end road bike of my entire life, and I am really, really enjoying the process of narrowing down what will work best for me.


  9. James

    Mine was a Raleigh (don’t remember the model) road bike that I bought in Tempe, AZ. in the early 80’s. The frame was Reynolds 531 and had Campagnolo Gran Sport derailleurs, crank and (I think) brakes. It was a rather boring silver/grey with utilitarian wheels (weinemann concave rims!)and a fake Brooks saddle. The best thing about it was that it was fast! Really fast! Everyone who rode that bike always commented on how fast it was. Years later I had it repainted in Wisconsin to make it beautiful too! After buying a couple of new bikes my wife talked me into selling it which I regretted instantly. I still have the memories if not the bike…

  10. Britt

    It was my first “real bike”, a 1985 Ross Signature Series w/ Campy Triomph throughout. That bike sparked my love of this sport for ever more and gave me freedom at a time when I felt I had none.

  11. Aaron Hawkins

    I think the bike that strikes me the most, was my first road bike. A classic Tommasini with chromed lugs, and gorgeous red paint. It had seen a good bit of miles before my time with it, and showed those miles as gently as it could. It was a bit like seeing a beautiful actress aged to perfection; the distinguishing smile lines, and perfect tone of their faces. My Tommasini was Sophia, and she was as Italian as it gets. Campy Mirage 8spd, with 52/42 rings, Cinelli stem and bars, Mirage Hubs with Campy Montreal Rims, Concor Saddle attached to a C-Record post.

    That bike took me places and freed me from anything I needed it to. It was my first taste of speed on the road, and it let my imagination run wild. I would narrate my riding whenever I felt my “inner Liggett” needed to be heard. I would be riding down the gravel on Pook Road, but in my imagination I would be leading the peloton across the cobbles of Roubaix. On climbs I imagined myself on an attack in the Alps, and then crushing it down the descent to finish my “race.” I was 13, and I still to this day, have my little “daydreams” and continue to love where my bikes can take me. It was the first road bike I loved, and I wish I never let it go. I recently saw a modern copy of it, with Record, and all the memories came right back. Though, that one lacked some of the used, aged appeal of mine.

    Bicycles can take you amazing places literally, and places inside yourself.

  12. Marshdrifter

    My first multi-geared bike was based around an old Schwinn frame that I won in a raffle in Jr. High. All the components were shot, so I had to figure out what I needed, save up the money to by a part, then add it to the bike. When I started riding it, it was for little 10 mile rides. At the time, my family and I thought that was something. I feel all nostalgic about that bike, but it wasn’t my favorite ride.

    My current ride is a 2007 Specialized Tarmac. I bought the frame used and built it up with used Dura Ace 7800 parts (cheap, now that 7900 is around). This frame fits me better than any other bike I’ve ridden. It’s a joy to ride.

    My favorite bike, though was my Lemond Alpe D’Huez made of Reynolds 853 steel. The frame was ridiculously small for me, but I rode it for a few years and enjoyed just about every ride on it. I set it up as if it were a compact frame and with the longer top tube that the Lemonds sported, it was reasonably comfortable, unless I got out of the saddle. I can’t help but think that I wouldn’t have picked up the Tarmac had the Lemond fit me better. Remembering that bike makes me suspect that another steel frame will be in my future, someday.

  13. Mr. Blonde

    I too have three:

    1)in 1986,after completely thrashing my first real road bike, a Reynolds 501 Peugot,I ordered my first custom-built frameset from Strawberry racing cycles in Portland, was painted strawberry milkshake pink,built up with Suntour Superbe Pro,Modolo Master Pro’s,Mavic hubs/rims-it was so sweet! I really learned to ride on this bike.the Straw’ still remains in the family-handed down to my younger brother, who still rides it.

    2)after a stint aboard a Bridgestone RB-1,which was a nice ride, I finally built up my dream ride:IF Crown Jewel.the bike instills so much confidence,is so comfortable…it just plain is a joy to swing a leg helps that it’s absolutely beautiful-I’ve owned it for five years and I still can sit and stare at it,marvel at the craftsmanship/artistry of it.

    3)but all-time favorite,my daily go-to bike is my first year Lemond Poprad-the white-with green panel’s now been powdercoated satin black,rebuilt/upgraded several times,but regardless of the componentry,it is the most comfortable,versatile,durable bike I’ve ever’s been on dirt-road centuries,singletrack mtb trails,’cross races,used as a commuter,and generally pounded and abused,always begging for’s like an old pickup truck-not flashy,not the trickest techno-widget,just a reliable old friend who’s taken me on my most amazing and inspiring cycling adventures,and always is beckoning me for another. what more can one ask of a simple machine?

    thanks, Da Robot, for the muse.

  14. Dan O

    Padraig: Yes, the Fat bikes were very cool and are still remembered by some. I started riding mountain bikes in New Jersey and Fat City Cycles were well known on the East Coast – by mountain bike freaks anyway.

    I still have my ’86 Fat Chance and ’91 Team Yo Eddy – both great bikes. And yes, Independent Fabrications is a direct descendant from those times and make amazing bikes to this day.

    I was a Fat City fan right until the end of it all. I try to keep some of the old history alive with occasional Fat related posts on my blog.

  15. Sean

    Alan Super. I think it is an 84 or 86 but I can’t be sure. I bought it used at Excel Sports in the early 90’s after a junker Peugeot died a miserable death during the last 20 feet up the grassy hill to my front door. Don’t know exactly what happened but the rear der. went into the spokes and the der. hanger never had a chance. I needed a frame for a crit the next week and I had remembered seeing the Alan languishing in the corner and figured I’d give it a try for the $150 price tag. Rode that bike for 15 years until I started having doubts about the tubing coming apart during a decent. I had a shop owner chuckle at me one day and say “hey, I have that exact bike in my collection that hangs in the rafters of the shop”. Figured it was a good time to make a change. I still have it in the basement. It will become wall art someday or a single speed for casual riding….great bike. Oh, and I love my 1984 Miyata Ridge Runner too.

  16. Alex

    Off the road it was a blue 1995 Mountain Goat Whiskeytown Racer MTB, acquired directly from Mr. Linsay himself and assembled using the finest on offer at the time. God, did I love that bike. God, do I miss those times and rides! Others that left a mark (and are missed) are an IF, a Serotta and my current YBB, which of course is not missed and still in use. Talking about Fats, my bro has a ´98 Yo Eddy! and it´s indeed a fine MTB, gotta love that powder coating and slick details.

    On the road my best bike was a Scott Addict. Yeah, a carbon production bike. Being in the sport for the last 22 or so years and worked as tech editor of a local bike mag for 8, I´ve owned and/or tested a few hundred bikes and some sweet ones (a few custom projects included) but I´ve never found such a balanced and sweet ride in one lightweight kit as the Addict. It´s one damn fine racing bike IMHO.

  17. Erich

    A nod to Lachlan above – I feel my Cervelo R3 is a revolution on two wheels. But favorite bike? If measure by anticipation before its acquisition and sadness after its departure, there is no question: My Redline 500a BMX bike. For two years in the mid-80’s, I suffered on a Schwinn Scrambler before I convinced the parents to push me up a level. Months of anticipation later, it was mine. Ball-peen finish shining in the sun.

    3 weeks later, it was gone. One evening, I left it outside of our house for an hour while getting a snack and cooling off. When I returned, it was gone.

    Without sympathy for my ADHD oversight, my parents would not provide another Redline. I was back to the Scrambler for a few months, but shortly thereafter received my first 10-speed…and the rest is history.

  18. Erik

    Mr. Blonde: I can relate to the Lemond Poprad mine has been through several different variations including a single speed and now a Ultegra 10 gruppo. I keep saying I’m going to sell it but still have it.

    My all time favorite is still my Bontrager Privateer after 10 years and thousands of miles a single speed setup, a 2×9, and now a 1×9. I can’t wait for the ground her to not be a sloppy mess.

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