Fresh Start

Recently I took a look at my Peugeot that I’ve been refurbishing and thought to myself “I’m done.”

I’m not fed up with working on it, or tired of looking at it, I’m just finished.  It’s at a point now where I like the way it looks, it’s fun to ride, and I get the occasional compliment. It’s clean, polished, and brightly coloured in such a way to make it a head turner; when I go into my store room and see it I’m a little proud of what I’ve done.

So what comes next? The weather is getting colder, the days shorter, and the roads damper. I’m still out riding for work and fun, but the mileage tends to naturally reel in a little as Autumn kicks in. This wasn’t such an issue last year, as I’d just begun the work on my Peugeot, but of course that’s all done now (though I might get some mudguards for winter-proofing.) So what can I do?  Buy a new bike, of course!

I’d been looking around for one for a while with not much luck – the surge in interest when it comes to vintage bikes has meant prices vary massively depending on the knowledge of the seller and their hope that some hipster looking to make a fixie out of a frame that looks old doesn’t know what things are worth. After some trawling though I found a local bike that was just what I was looking for, with a seller open to offers. After some back and forth I got a reasonable price for it and trundled off to pick it up.  I’d decided to get a British bike this time, and I’m pretty happy with what I found:

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A Holdsworth! I’ve struggled to match up a model but I think it’s a triath-elan. It looks like it’s seen quite a bit of use as a few parts have been swapped out, but some of them (like the cinelli stem and bars) are pretty nice, and I’ve never been that bothered about a completely historic rebuild. It’s bloody filthy, so first thing will be a good deep clean, with the odd bit of rust removal.

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My only real concern are the wheels. They’re thick with sludge, which makes me wonder as to the state of the freewheel under all that sludge, though the teeth on the chainring look surprisingly healthy. It’s difficult to tell whether the wheels were just poorly stored with some kind of preservative because they spin cleanly, I’ll just have to service the hubs and see how I get on.  There are some comparability hurdles too: Holdsworths use campagnolo parts, and I have a campag rear mech for the bike, but whether it’s compatible with the freewheel is another matter, as it had a (very grimy) shimano mech fitted when I picked it up, with the campag just in a little bag.

At first glance it’s a mountainous job to bring this bike back to life, and this time last year I would have been nowhere near confident enough to undertake such a project, but when I break it down into little jobs it’s much less scary. I’ve got a date to have it ready by that gives me plenty of time (Eroica Britannia!), I’ve got a style I want to aim for (semi-randonneur,) and most importantly, every time I stop working on it of an evening I go and put the parts away next to my Peugeot that I’m done with and remind myself that I’ve done this all before, successfully.

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