Sunday, March 31, 2013

Vintage Find: 1940's-1950's Samchuli (Samchuly) Korean Roadster

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My 1950's (possibly 1940's) Samchuly Korean Roadster

A few months back I was fortunate to run into this bike on Craigslist and purchased it for less than three digits. This bicycle is one of the first bicycles ever to come out of what is known today as South Korea. It dates back to a time when the Korean War was on the front page of the headlines and it survives as a legacy of that era.

This bicycle is a roadster, meaning a workman's style utilitarian cargo bicycle. The rear cage is so strong I was able to ride the bicycle with my wife also sitting on it. This bike comes with rod lever brakes, as opposed to the cable operated brakes of today. These brakes work using a front and rear rod that pulls up the brake pads and compress them against the inside diameter of the rim. The rims, known as Westwood rims, are made specifically so that the braking surface was on the inside of the rim instead of the sidewalls.

This bike has some really cool details and because of that it is best to leave it unrestored. The only thing I did was to replace the dry rotted front tire with a passable Chinese tire. Even still, the tire wants to ride off the rim so I can only put about 20 psi of air in it. Despite this, this bicycle is still ridable and would work perfectly if the 26" Korean dimensioned westwood rims would be replaced with 26" westwood rims of English dimensions.

Here's a couple of more photos I took of this bike. I decided to go with my studio setup for the pictures, as it is also for sale online. Check out my eBay link or personal message me for more information. This bicycle weighs about 45 pounds, so it will have to be shipped disassembled in two boxes. Enjoy the pictures!


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Vintage Find: My Guerciotti

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Vintage Find: My 1986 Guerciotti made by Alan

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Here is another one of my Campagnolo equipped "grail" finds, my 1986 Guerciotti. This was the first attempt at buiding an aluminum road bike. The frame was built by another company called Alan, which specialized in making lighter composite frames for various bicycle manufacturers. This frame was built by a special process in which the frame tubes are actually screwed and glued into the frame lugs. This process was known as bonding, and was also the process used to build the first carbon fiber frames.

Today I rode this beauty down White Rock Lake. I saw another rider on a steel Guerciotti.  Guerciotti bicycles are a rare bird, so I grabbed his attention and pointed at my bike. He said "An aluminum Guerciotti still on the road?". Apparently there were a few bad apples made that really destroyed the reputation of bonded frames. There are stories of riders flexing the frames with their own weight and frames simply snapping under too much load. I am not the lightest that I have been in a while. Yet this frame holds my 190 pound weight really well. If I had any complaint about it, it would be that the bike is actually almost too stiff for me. It accelerates wonderfully because there is direct power transfer due to it's stiffness. It also is an amazing climber. I was suprised at how quickly I was making it up some of the hills on the lake.  I rode 28 miles in under 2 hours, stopping to take pictures along the way. To me, that's a pretty good speed. If a person weighs more than I do, they should probably not ride this bike anyway. There are Surly Long Haul Truckers that can hold their weight wonderfully.

I'll not abuse this bike very much, to me this bike is like the Ferrari that only gets driven on Sundays. Since I will never be able to afford a Ferrari, this is the closest I will probably get to owning Italian luxury.

It's fun to own bikes almost as old as I am and still be able to enjoy them. There is joy in the hunt when looking for bikes like these, but there is also joy to be had in owning the bike and riding it. People like to accessorize their shoes, suits, hats and even their cars. I accessorize my bicycle. I tend to get bored of only one bike, although if it came down to it I could probably only live with one. But there would be no fun in that. I can't say this will be the last bicycle that I will keep to myself, but definitely one of the last, because I don't plan on making this a long term hobby (and I mean years). I have to focus my attention on other projects and pursuits in the near future. In the meantime, check out some more photos of my vintage Guerciotti.


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Guerciotti Headbadge.
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Cinelli Criterium Handlebars.
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This bicycle is fully equipped with a Campagnolo Victory drivetrain and Campy Record brakes.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Vintage Find- My S.M Woodrup "Grail" Find

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My 1985'ish S.M Woodrup Bicycle


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So, it's been awhile since I have updated my audience on my latest vintage finds. I have come across a few finds during the winter but I have been too busy ( and lazy, quite frankly) to write articles about them. Most of the finds that I have written previous articles about have already been sold, since there are only so many bikes that I can keep in my garage. Now that I no longer qualify as a candidate for the show "Bike Hoarders", I have made room for a few more sweet bikes that I have recently acquired.

One of them is this S.M Woodrup, one of a kind custom road bike. When I say one of a kind, this bike was hand built in s small shop in Leeds, England, to the exact measurements and specifications of the previous owner that I bought it from. Thankfully the previous owner has the same build and height as I do. It was an easy sell, one which I was able to afford thanks to selling a few bikes of my own. I will remind the reader that most of the time there is little or no money to be made in the bicycle collecting pastime, most of it goes right back into bicycles. I will say that the bicycles that I posses have a greater collector's value than the ones I have sold previously. One must work their way up and eventually leave behind the point of sale market. Anyway, let's talk more about that Woodrup!

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Awesome Headbadge emblem! Custom made in Leeds, England

This bicycle is completely Campagnolo equipped, with Campy Syncros shift levers. These were the first attempts at SIS shifting, which Shimano perfected and got the one up on Campy in the bicycle market. Campy Syncros shifting is notorious for the clunkiness of the shift and at times skipping gears. Even with these setbacks, I was able to sustain 18mph for over 20 miles at a time. Not bad for a steel bicycle. The rear derailleur was a setback at first. I had to remove it and readjust the chain tensioner which had snapped in half and come off the derailleur. I managed to piece back the tensioner and re-connect it to the derailleur, giving me a working but I'm afraid not so permanent fix. After a hundred miles it's still holding up, so that's a good sign. On a side note, anyone selling a Campy Athena rear derailleur they could let me have at a good deal?


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This bicycle is potentially fast. Like all bicycles, the power is in the engine that drives it. I hope I can ride this bicycle one day at the speed it is supposed to be ridden. That way I can pull an Eddy Merckx-style breakaway on a group of unsuspecting time trial cyclists on the trail. I will say that there are stiffer, lighter and more snappier bicycles out there. But there is definitely a coolness factor to this bike that can't be overlooked. In fact, this bike is so so cool that I finally caved in and topped it off with a Brooks saddle, something I never thought that I would buy for a bicycle. Riding this bike takes me back a couple of decades, and let's me see how the view from an 80's professional race grade bicycle looked like back then. I can feel the same way Miguel Indurain or Bernard Hinault felt back in the day. I'm keeping this one, I've already sold a lot others. I could always entertain a trade for a new Cannondale Supersix Evo Team Liquidgas Edition though. Anyone have one lying around?

Stay tuned for more vintage bicycle articles from a Bicycle's Point of View.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Dallas Vs. Austin- Which is better?

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Dallas VS Austin

I have walked around both of these city centers, as well as other bike friendly cities around Texas, the U.S and the world. With a little bit of knowledge about Austin and a little bit more about Dallas, I am ready to give an assesement of which of these two cities is better.

Why Dallas and why Austin? Because both of these cities are in Texas. Dallas is a city that I have just recently started to acquaint myself more with having grown up closer to Fort Worth. Austin is the city I have really wanted to love after hearing all the hype from friends who visit there as well as other sources about the city's easy accessibility by bicycle. Austin is also the state capital, so by default one would automatically assume that it is the best city in Texas. People are always singing Austin's praises when talking about Texas cities and Austin is always getting accolades from the cycling community.

I recently both visited Austin and took a walk around downtown Dallas during the daytime to compare which of these two cities had it going on. Let's compare a few pros and cons about my observations of both places.

Austin: Pros and Cons

Pros:

Bikeability- Austin is a very bikable place. The sources got that part right. From the outskirts of the surburbs to the city center, one can go anywhere in Austin by bicycle. That is a asset that Austin has that Dallas is reluctant to capitalize on. I'm sure that if people in Austin actually had a place to be they could count on their reliable bikeway system.

Music capital of Texas and beyond:  Although in all honestly I only saw two bands performing live shows the whole day and one of them was a one man production, Austin is known for it's live music and outdoor concerts such as Austin City Limits and South by Southwest. If you are a lover of music, especially independent label rock music, you will love going to Austin. Again, that's a pro to a lot of people but music just doesn't top my priority list like it used to these days.

Natural Beauty Surrounding City Limits: As I was leaving Austin, I had to acknowledge that the natural scenery around the city is much prettier than in Dallas, Austin being in Texas hill country. I would have loved to explore the Colorado River in more detail, rather than focusing on the downtown area during my last visit. Last year I had the opportunity to go to Pace Bend national park, about 30 minutes south of downtown.  Lake Travis is an awesome place for a weekend camping trip and has some great spots for cliff diving. 

Cons:

Hipsters: Hipsters are migrating south from their Northwestern spawning grounds of Portland and Seattle and their Norheastern burrows of Williamsburg, New York. They seem to be taking over every major metropolitan city and replacing the city culture with something that only they can understand. They seem to give reverence to the single speed bicycle in the same way some Chicanos revere the lowrider bike. Austin is a college town, and although I have seen some hipsters work around the city, most of these young kids in Austin are university students (or dropouts) living on their parent's dime. Most of the young bicycle commuters in Austin didn't seem like they had anywhere in particular to be, unless it was bar hopping by bicycle. I would have liked to have seen more bicycles with baskets and people actually doing real errands on them. Instead you have a bunch of hipsters parading on their single speed bikes for the sole purpose of making a statement about themselves. Maybe I am antiquated in this regard, and I would gladly admit to that if I were ever called out on it. I also feel a certain disdain with the way that hipsters treat their bicycles. They have no moral qualms about taking a classic, hand built 80's Colnago with campy super record components, spray painting it flat black, taking all the components off and adding their stupid track wheelset with a single speed flip flop hub. The way that they treat valuable things says a lot about the persons they are. In my opinion, that makes hipsters spoiled, self-entitled brats that have nothing to contribute to society. Instead, they can take the beauty of a place like Austin and turn it into something butt ugly in their quest to be ironic and original. I'm just glad San Antonio isn't going that route.

4th Street: What can I say? I got hit on at least 3 times going down 4th street, by other dudes. To me, that's a minus.

Where were the Food Trucks?:  Where were all those food trucks that I saw on the Travel Channel documentary? I was looking forward to lunch from a Food Truck while I was walking around downtown. The fabled food trucks never showed up.

Dallas: Pros and Cons

Pros: 

Dallas is Growing: Dallas is starting to go through another construction and cultural boom. Being one of the cities that has held up well financially since the great recession, there has been a massive amount of migration from other states. The result is more money is now being poured into the infrastructure of Dallas. As a result Dallas is becoming a prettier, more walkable city than it used to be. There are still some sections to avoid, but law enforcement has picked up dramatically since the last time I actually worked in the city center, around 2005. 

Dallas has Bike Lanes: Dallas is now started to install bike lanes and sharrows along a few roads in downtown. I have yet to see these on all roads, but there are so many stop lights in Dallas one almost doesn't need the sharrows to keep pace with traffic. It's great to see more cars acknowledging more cyclists, although there was recently a hit and run in the city when a car hit some cyclists in the Deep Ellum district.

Dallas is Stable: Dallas does not suffer from an overabundance of hipsters or the heated and volatile political climate that Austin seems to have. Dallas is like an empty canvas right now, anything can happen. What has happened so far is great and is moving in the right direction. In that sense, Dallas is stable.

Cons:

Dallas has crime: Dallas has real crime. It has always had crime, and it has never been a good idea to walk around the downtown area by oneself at night. The crime rate in Dallas is going down, and with a little common sense, Dallas can be a navigable place, even in the late hours.

Dallas has stubbornness issues: Dallas has a city council that is made up of progressive thinkers as well as old timers. The old timers are desperately trying to please the fringes of the population in Dallas, who are usually made up of other stubborn, old timey people. So bike lanes as well as the Dallas Bike Plan have had a hard time taking center stage when it comes to projects approved by the city. Old timey people generally don't ride their bicycles places, although they should. Bicycling is just not a relevant issue to them. Add to that fact that bicycling is seen as a political issue rather than a community one.

If we were to have  a face off on which city is better, today's Austin would probably beat Dallas by a very narrow margin. Walking around Dallas has made me realize that Dallas isn't far from surpassing Austin as a more bikeable and walkable city. It just needs a push in the right direction. So keep pushing Dallas, keep pushing. Dallas will eventually have a greater coolness factor if it continues on the same trajectory.


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Just Checking in

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Hello Everyone,

 Sorry it's been a while since my last post. Keep visiting my page from time to time and check out my "Resource Guide" tab which features some real interesting articles along with helpful cycling tips from an unofficial expert (myself, then again, no-not really).

Please keep up the enthusiasm for my blog. I have acquired several more vintage finds since my last articles, some which I might post in the near future. I have been weighing several topics in my head which I have wanted to discuss on my blog, but none of them have seemed worthy of an article so far.

I will however highlight that I went to Austin on a trip recently just to check out the downtown area in more detail. It was a Saturday, and I didn't stick around for the nightlife that Austin is known for, so maybe my opinion is a little skewed. My overall impression of the downtown area was...meh. I was expecting to be more impressed than I actually ended up being. Yes, Austin is very bicycle friendly, but they are way overdoing the hipster thing. Don't get me wrong, as a creative and artistic individual, I like displays of originality and ironic things. That is, until everyone in one area is doing it, then it is no longer original. Case in point, downtown Austin. All the twenty somethings were on single speed bicycles wearing either what I would call a stocking on their heads or dreadlocks, although I am skeptical of there being that many devoted Rastafarians concentrated in just one area. This along with 4th street (for reasons I will not disclose, just go there if you dare) in downtown are my chief complaints about the city. And although I know deep down inside that I'm a cool guy I just wouldn't be able to hang in the city of Austin. It hit me while I was there that I had outgrown this city on a social level. The images of the cyclists that I saw fit like a glove into some of the stereotypes of cyclists Eben Weiss describes in his book "Bike Snob NYC". I wasn't seeing anyone in business suits commuting to work, or anyone that seemed like they even had a bit of responsibility. That kind of turned me off a little bit. In world class bicycle cities like Berlin you see that sort of thing, and as I can recall I didn't see even one hipster throughout my whole visit there. Maybe it's the old man talking, but I doubt it. I'm afraid that in Austin's case cycling has to do the the bigger trend of hipsterdom and Lance Armstrong worship. Once it's no longer cool to be a hipster that might effect the whole bike thing in Austin, at least that is what I fear.

I am currently following some of my own advice and dieting. Yes dieting. I am on a mostly vegetarian diet and am staying away from breads and sugars. I also joined a gym to lose some annoying poundage before the summer (and bike racing season) starts. I am going to try my hand at racing (and probably losing) once again pretty soon. More info on that later. I am strongly considering showing up to an official race on a 30 year old bicycle, so I need to be in shape if I am in it to win it. Anyway, we'll see how that goes.

Let me also add that I do get too busy to blog sometimes. As outrageous as that sounds,  I too suffer from the malignancies of living a normal life and having projects, tasks and errands to run each day. Most of these happenings aren't bicycle related topics, although I do have interesting things happen to me on a regular basis.

Keep reading, subscribe if you are just visiting my page, and stay tuned for more exciting news from a Bicycle's Point of View.