Who are we? We are our stories.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

1985 Peter Mooney

When this I purchased this bicycle I assumed I was buying a bastardized touring bike because of the fender bosses, cantilever brakes and triple crankset. After contacting Peter Mooney, who is still building frames in the Boston area, I was surprised to learn that it had originally been built as an upright town bike, apparently for a hilly neighborhood. Initially I rebuilt it with that in mind, but was never quite satisfied with the feel of the upright bars. It has since evolved into a bike with stem mounted shifters and dropped bars mounted very high to accommodate my stiff 62+ year old back.
Although this bike is very French in attitude, if not geometry, it is an American frame, built by an Englishman, with mostly Italian components. The frame is made of Reynolds 531. At 1.0/.7/1.0 and with a sprung leather seat, it's a little heavy, but the light spokes and wide, light tires, make it feel fast and quick, yet with a ride like an old Buick. The frame is a little small for me and visually the bars are too high, but at this point in my life, it feels right. But make no mistake about it; this is an old man’s bicycle.

Below is the bike as purchased. The only components still intact are the headset, crankset and bottom bracket.

Rigida 1622 Super Champion rims laced to Campagnolo Nouvo Record high-flange hubs with 36 DT Revolution spokes, carrying 700 X 30 Grand Bois Cypres tires. Nitto SP72 Jaguar (Frog) seatpost holding a Brooks B67 saddle, the heavy duty, 242 lb capacity model.
The Honjo hammered aluminum fenders are nice reproductions of the old French Lefols. The Luxor headlight, tail light and reflector are vintage and also continue the hammered aluminum Art Deco feel.

Late 1980s Campagnolo Rally derailleur; Campy’s last gasp effort at touring components. They finally got it right and then quit making them.
Whisper quiet IRC 7-speed freewheel. We’ll see if its reputation for
shucking its bearings on the ground under stress is

Campagnolo Nuovo Record triple ring crankset mounted on the original Phil Wood bottom bracket.

The front derailleur is an early 80's Campagnolo Super Record.

Frogglegs canti brakes, Mafac style except with huge pads. They are pulled with
1970s Modolo Pro levers.

Nitto M12 front rack.
Classic Silca Impero frame pump with the standard Campagnolo pump head.
The Luxor headlight is a simply beautiful teardrop.

The Nitto Grand Raundoneur (sic) bars are covered with elk leather and are mounted to an Ambrosio adjustable stem. The stem-mounted shifters are ratcheting Suntours.

I have an additional Nitto bottle cage mounted to the basket for morning coffee or a second water bottle.
Also note the obligatory "On your left!" bell under the stem.

The leather trimmed Amish basket was made by my friend Eli R. Hershberger. The basket detaches from the rack by releasing the buckle of the toe strap at the front. Neat, I think.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

01/13/08 Letter from Addy

Hello from Munnar, Kerala! I have spent the past week on a crazy whirlwind tour experiencing more pampering, and beautiful sites than I ever have in my life. The program that I am enrolled in has eight students, all girls, whom I enjoy very much. The program is ran by Dr. Sunny Luke a professor of molecular biology. He has worked extensively with stem cell research and is fairly well known throughout the area. Dr. Luke is cousin's with the minister of tourism in Kerala, an absolutely beautiful state in Southern India, know as "God's own country". As a result of Dr. Luke's relation we are being personally guided around Kerala by the minister of tourism, Laloo. It is a surreal experience. We stay in the best hotels, and eat the best food availble.

I came to India to take a break from materialism and now find that I am surrounded by it more than ever. This somewhat disgusts me but there are obviously many benefits. I have not had access to the internet so I have been unable to keep a blog, but will, and will send the link to it when I am able to.

India is so different than anything I have ever experience: the air smells different, the colors are more vibrant, and the people are just fascinating. Not to mention the landscape is breath taking ...

I will being staying at Pondicherry University. Which is basically in the middle of a wildlife area full of palm trees. Pondicherry is a beach town and seems like a very laid back peaceful place. I am excited to be able to call it home for the next few months.

My tour through Kerala has been absolutely breath taking. I am currently staying in the Eastern Ghats about 5000 ft. about sea level. I am surrounded by beautiful tea plantations and spice gardens. The tea plantations cover the mountain sides and look similar to english fields except even more beautiful. Two days ago we were on the coast in Kerala bobbing up and down in the waves of the Arabian sea watching the sunset. The day before we took a tour of the backwaters of Kerala: a water highway that is mentioned in the top ten things to see before you die. It was fascinating.

I wish I could tell more but unfortunately I need to eat lunch at another fancy restraunt. Life is tough... I hope all is well in your lives.
I miss you much and think about you often.
Much love-

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Pondicherry, India

My daughter Addy is studying in India this semester, finishing up her degree in Philosophy from from Augsburg College this Spring. She felt the Philosophy she had been exposed to at Augsburg was slanted toward dead European men, and India would give her broader insight. She will be studying at Pondicherry University, located in Pondicherry, on the east coast of India, south of Madras. Pondicherry, a city of 220,000, was a French outpost and retains French influences in food, language and architecture. She will be touring southern India for two weeks, today in Thekkady, Kerala, a center of spice cultivation and tomorrow she travels to Madurai to visit a 4th century B.C. temple. Truly a life adventure.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Lorna's VO mixte

I finally completed building up Lorna's mixte. The fork and frame were made for her by Ahren Rogers, under contract to Velo Orange, a company specializing in vintage French components and bicycles. It has an 8 speed, internal-geared Sturmey-Archer rear hub, 650b wheels, Honjo hammered aluminum fenders, a vintage Perle chainguard, T-A crankset, Paul centerpull brakes, and a Brooks saddle and bag. The handlebars are covered with laced-on elkhide, tough, yet soft to the touch. Our friends Eli and Lovina Hershberger, an Amish couple from Viroqua, made the basket. Pretty spiffy little bike, I think.