Upgrade or Downgrade?
Friday, July 26, 2013
A friend of mine got fitted for a bicycle at an expensive East-Side pro-shop when we were both much younger and paid what seemed like a huge number of 1986 dollars for a Panasonic Team Japan road bike. He rode it a few times and decided it was too small for him and went back to riding his too big and less expensive bike. The new bike went unused, taking up space in his apartment for about three years. One day he comes over to visit and brings the bike. He says "Vinny, I brought you the bike. If you don't take it, I'm going to put it out on the street." I accepted the gift but I was pretty heavy at the time and didn't use it much because I didn't think it was constructed for a person of my weight. Mountain bikes were becoming popular and Judith bought me a steel Marin which I used to commute to work. The road bike sat pristine for years, but eventually I started riding it even though it was really a bit small for me.
It was a great bike and I was really happy to have it. I thought it as good as many of the Italian and French bicycles that I saw people riding in Central Park, but being a bit of an idiot, I was embarrassed by the Panasonic decals and I removed them with Goof-Off. Now the bike has thousands of miles on it but still feels like new. It is actually rare and and if I hadn't removed the decals and changed the seat and pedals, it would be eminently collectible. But I'm still a bit of an idiot. I just bought some aero-bars and Frankensteined it. I took it out for a 40 mile ride yesterday and my first experience with aero-bars was pretty great.
Here are someone else's picture of the original, a shot of my bike from two days ago, and one of what it looks like today.