Thursday, January 28, 2010

God On a Bike and a Two for Two Day

Last of the six day bicycle racers. God on a bike, Ted Ernst (top) at Madison Square Garden.

I bought a 1980 bicycle frame. Shortly there after I received an email offer from a man I've never met, "I have a set of newly rebuilt vintage Phil Wood hubs laced to Super Champions, front and rear, that would fit that McLean really well. You can have them for the cost of the rebuild and shipping." The rims are probably worth that. Phil Wood hubs that old are somewhat rare, but they are smooth as silk and never wear out. They bring $250 or $300 on eBay. Some francophiles will argue that old Maxi-Cars are theoretically better, but how much longer than forever is really necessary? So my McLean has Phil hubs.

Arguably the state of the art in freewheels in 1980 was the Regina Oro. I had a couple hanging on pegs in the shop. I took one and spun it on. It looked right at home. It was a bit of a corncob (not a bad thing) and I decided that at 65 years of age I really needed more of a granny cog, so I tried to remove the freewheel. Shit? The freewheel tool wouldn't go on far enough. I emailed Mark at Phil Wood. He explained that they made a custom remover for Reginas, discontinued it 25 years ago, but they might have one I could have for $10. A month or more went by. They were still looking through boxes of old stock, but at some point they're all gone. Yesterday I put out a feeler on the CR list. I received a number of hints on how to rework Park Tool removers, offers to rework my Park Tool, to loan me their Phil tools, or to sell me old Phil tools for almost nothing. The best offer was from Ted Ernst, at 80 still a god on a bike, and obviously a prince of men. Free tool, free shipping.

Earlier I had had a long telephone conversation with Dexter Henschel, another old local bicycle aficionado, who had previously had sold me another vintage Phil Wood front and rear wheelset for $50, again almost nothing. I thought that maybe he still had a tool in a drawer somewhere. Yesterday I got a note from him, no tool so far, but he had a Brooks Pro saddle I could have ... free. It might cost me coffee and a donut. Dex and Mark Stonich are old buddies. I told Mark about the saddle and the freewheel tool. He attributes it all to karma, because I gave him the rims off the Henschel wheelset which turned out to be 27", not 700c. I don't know about karma, but it was a good day for me. Hamachi, your Phil Wood wheelset came from Dex. I got the rims free too, but I can't remember where. Maybe Lestrud, he built the up the wheels. Too many free things to keep track of.

So Michael, don't send me the shipping for the shifter. I can't afford it in the long run.


Echelon said...

It is funny how one tool can make a man soooo HAPPY! Simple pleasures for Simple Minds.

BTW I am in this catagory.

Silk Hope

Gunnar Berg said...

I'm a little tool man. Ya wanna run with that one?

Anonymous said...



Jonny Hamachi said...

This all happened before, and it will all happen again.