Friday, 5 October 2012

A Bike Reborn

I have three bikes; a Specialized Hardrock for the hills, a Bianchi C2C Via Nirone 7 Alu Hydro for the roads and an old MBK Tracker. I've had the MBK since the early 1990s when Sandra bought it for me as a birthday present.  Oddly it was my first bike as an adult.  I spent my life as a kid on two wheels on a series of single speed Raleighs but stopped cycling in my early teens.  Stuart, Sandra's brother, who in those days worked in a bike shop, built it.  I am also sure that he also selected the fairly muted colour scheme of greys. Since then I have learned that many of the MBK colour schemes were pretty acid!

We lived at the foot of the Ochils which I knew like the back of my hand from years of walking and soon I was quartering them on the bike sometimes with Stuart who introduced me to downhilling with some style.  Posted to the south the bike came with me and did miles off road on Salisbury plain.  It seems a heavy beast now but the gears seemed amazing and I've done hills all over the UK.  Back in Scotland I commuted back and forward daily on it and still got the occasional hill in.

Children came along and a child seat was attached.  It has to be said that some of my best memories on that bike came from those days out as a family and then when we moved down to the Ayrshire coast and the kids got their own bikes.  By that time I was commuting on it again and the effects of the west coast salt and its age began to tell a touch.  I learnt bike maintenance on it at a cracking course at the Edinburgh Bike Coop and never stopped  using it even when I got a more modern bike for the hills and finally a road bike of what seemed incredible lightness!  Its final retirement from any notion of hills was the fitting of a sprung Brooks saddle and a pannier rack.

This year I finally got round to a project I've had in mind for a while.  I stripped off as many components as I could manage and had the rest removed by Alpine Bikes at George's Cross in Glasgow.  The frame and forks went to Shand Cycles ( ) in Livingston giving me an excuse to nosey in their magical workshop.  A couple of weeks later they returned a frame to me that looked better than new.  Heavy it might be but it is beautiful work now in a dark green.  In the meanwhile I had cleaned off all the components and resprayed the handlebars adding new grips.  Alpine Bikes did the rebuild and I now have a gleaming town bike that is a cracking ride. Weirdly it is the last bike that I would give up despite my love of the hills and the thousands of miles I've done on my Bianchi.