The bike I ride most often is my 1984 Cannondale ST500 touring
bike. It's the first really good bicycle I ever owned, and the
one that convinced me that I wasn't a wimp after all - just a
plugger. Three months (almost to the day) after I bought my 'Dale, I
rode in the 13th Annual Flattest Century in the East (an annual ride
sponsored by the Narragansett Bay Wheelmen). If you had tried to
convince me, at the time I bought the bike or any time before, that i
would willingly get on a bike and ride for over eight hours, I
would have told you that you were crazy.
Of course, my 'Dale hasn't gotten through all those years and all
those miles without changes. By now, it's getting to be a bit like "my
father's axe" (I've changed the handle three times and the handle
twice, but it's still my father's axe!), but that's part of the charm;
over the years, it has evolved into being my bicycle in a way
that a brand-new one never could be. The history of its various parts:
Still the original ST500 aluminum frame and chrome-moly fork. I
wouldn't think of it as still being the same bike otherwise. The
bottom bracket did have to be replaced when I got the new cranks,
though (modern fashion is to use shorter axles); the current one is a
- Front wheel
Mavic 700C rim; Suntour sealed-bearing hub. This wheel was build in 1996 by
Peter White Cycles. The bike's original wheel was still intact, but I
decided to switch to 700C (rather than 27") because 27" tires were
getting scarce. The Suntour hub is an original 1984-vintage part!
- Rear wheel
Araya 700C rim; Sovos sealed-bearing hub. I got this one in 1994,
after an unfortunate altercation with an abruptly right-turning car
tacoed the original wheel. Peter White partially rebuilt it in 1996,
replacing some damaged spokes.
Chris King sealed-bearing. The one truly extravagant component on my
bike - but it's a really high-quality item, and I haven't had to
adjust it, ever. The original Tange headset would never stay in
adjustment. Peter White said that part of the problem is that the head
tube wasn't machined properly - a common problem on manufactured
bikes. He, of course, fixed that.
Belleri randonneur (a curve with a slight rise of the tops on the
outsides; a traditional touring bar shape). One of the few original
parts left. Wrapped with Cinelli cork (great stuff, that).
Sakae Ringyo alloy. Another original part.
Sugino Impel. This was replaced in 1997, when a pedal fell off
the original Sakae Ringyo crankset. (Turned out the threads of the
pedal arm were stripped, and of course no replacements were avaialble,
since the things hadn't been made for a dozen years.) The chainrings
are 44 alloy, 32 alloy, and 22 steel. The steel one came with the
cranks; the other two were bought at two different bike shops (had to
search to find the sizes I wanted). The cranks came with 42-32-22, but
I wanted the 44 to match the chainring I used most often on the old
cranks (which were 48-44-30). Besides not being broken, the change
gave me some much lower gears for those nasty hills - something I
could have really used on the 1996 AIDS Ride.
Specialized sealed-bearing, with Christophe toeclips and Bianchi
straps. The pedals were installed in late 1984, shortly after the
Flattest Century. (I tried to follow a paceline through a curve,
forgetting that I was on a touring bike and they were on racers; I
caught a pedal and bent it beyond repair.) The toeclips are
original. The straps were replaced in 1992, when the originals wore
New Gran Compe 500 sidepulls (original), Scott-Matthauser pads, and
Dia Compe aero brake levers (installed by Peter White in 1996). I went
with the aero levers because I never liked the long reach of the
originals, and I was already spending too much money on the bike that
year, so what the heck. I'd rather have cantilevers on a touring bike,
but my frame doesn't have the bosses for them, so I have to live
Front: Suntour XC Comp, installed in 1997 when I
replaced the cranks. (The original Suntour Cyclone was designed for
half-step gearing, and wouldn't shift the new gears properly.) Rear:
Suntour XC Pro, installed by Peter White in 1996. (The original
shifter was a Suntour Superbe Tech, which lasted until I got it dirty
from riding and tried to clean it for the first time; it had a weird
design with a spring inside one of the pulleys, and I was never able
to get the thing to go back together properly. That was replaced with
a Duopar in late 1984, which finally wore out.) Levers: Suntour
downtube, another original component.
- SR Laprade, another original part.
Avocet M20 GelFlex. The bike originally came with an Avocet
touring saddle, which I was happy with for the first 8 years; after
that, it lost its cushiness. I replaced with an Avocet gel saddle,
which again made me happy for a few years. In 1996, I tried to get
another, but nobody had them that year, so I briefly tried a Serfas
saddle instead, but I was never comfortable on that one. In 1997,
Avocets showed up in the local stores again, so I got a new one.
Sachs. Replaced many times over the years, of course. I used to use
Sedis chains, but they aren't made any more.
Rear (mounted permanently): Blackburn MT-1. I recently had to replace
the origiinal-equipment Cannondale rack; one of the screw holes
stripped. Front (off the bike most of the time,
but installed for tours): Blackburn low-riders.
Now, aren't you glad you asked? :-)
My second bike is a Bike
Friday. I commute on it some of the time, and I expect to take it
on a trip one of these days (it folds).
The Giant Iguana that I
used to have was totalled in an accident with a delivery truck in
1998. I recently (October 2000) sold the Dahon folding bike that I used to
have; I hadn't ridden it for a few years, and now I have the Friday