So I realized from the comments that my occasional mentions of this new bike in the last six months haven’t fully communicated what’s up.
The lovely lady who gave me my Gazelle Trimsport told me a few days after I picked it up that she had another Gazelle for me, if I was interested. “It’s a touring bike,” she noted. I was a bit reluctant, given that I can’t use drop bars, but she just laughed and told me to come check it out.
When I saw it, I realized why she had laughed: it has upright bars! At the time, her husband was out of town, and she didn’t know the combo for the lock they were using to lock the bike up. So the new Gazelle stayed there, for the next few months while our lives overwhelmed our ability to meet up again.
Until this Friday! She treated me to a wonderful lunch, and then gave me the new Gazelle. It’s a 1976 or 1977 Gazelle Champion Mondial G-8 Herren in gold. You can see the details, and read them if you speak Dutch, here: http://jvs.webklik.nl/page/gazelle. Click on the 1976 catalog.
The bike doesn’t need much. The mechanic at Gregg’s Cycles in Bellevue (not my normal shop, but immediately after picking the bike up I went to the local JiffyLube, and since I had time and Gregg’s was only a block or two away…) turned out to be very practical in his approach, with no hard-sell. I expected to regrease the bearings, but he said they didn’t need it as far as he could tell, as the cranks rolled smoothly in the bottom bracket. He ended up suggesting a new chain and new brake pads. He even thought the tires would be good for quite some time, as they had no serious signs of dry rot or cracking. It wasn’t that he didn’t think the bike needed work in the long run, but as he put it: “There’s getting it rideable, then there’s restoration. Right now, you just need to get it rideable.”
The only thing I changed, besides what he suggested, is that I ordered new MKS Sylvan pedals for it. I can’t use toe cages, as the nerve damage in my legs means my reaction time is too slow when I stop. I’ll keep the originals, of course!
The bike has a very good condition Brooks that will only need a bit of Proofride to make it happy. It does have some rust on the components, but I can clean that off. The grips are cheap mountain bike grips, so those will have to be replaced eventually, but as I will probably want bar-end shifters if I keep it, I left them on.
The components include a Simplex derailleur and shifters, Mafac (Mavic?) brake calipers and uh… other stuff. You can read about them, within reason, on the brochure linked above. Assuming the bottle dynamo and wiring are operable, it should have a working head and taillight. The rack is similar to a Pletscher, and there are full fenders. The bike is a ten speed. The upright bars were part of the original package, and are aluminum. It’s not super-light, but it’s definitely lighter than my other bikes. The tubing is Reynolds 531, I believe.
The biggest issue right now is the stand-over height. My kind benefactor is a good inch or two taller than me. On the Trimsport, this doesn’t matter since it’s a step-through, but on this bike it will matter. When I picked the bike up, I stood over it wearing 1.5 inch heels, and the tires were flat. Let’s just say I was aware the top tube was there… so we’ll see. I can deal with the top tube if the bike is comfortable for me in other ways. The bars are rolled way down right now, so I’ll probably roll them up and will definitely have to lower the seat. Then we’ll see!
It should be finished toward the end of the week, as Gregg’s was out of the MKS pedals, so they had to be ordered.
If it’s way too big, I could theoretically switch out the bars with the Shogun, and perhaps the new bike would then fit My Handsome Man, as the Shogun would definitely fit me with different bars. But for now, given the quality and condition of this bike, I’m selfishly hoping it can be mine, all mine!
Meanwhile, I have not one, but TWO rides to write up as well! Fun times here at rideblog, definitely.