In case there were any questions as to where this journey began, it began, as always, at the beginning. And on this particular occasion, it began in a rather sketchy bicycle shop on Spadina Ave here in downtown Toronto.
"Do you have any cheap racing bikes ? " I asked.
The salesman smiled with the knowledge that he'd just made a sale. All he had to do was help me sift through the many mediocre options and convince me that one of them was worth the 100$ in my pocket. As you'd expect for 100$, they weren't exactly in great condition. But then, that is the point of restoration, isn't it?
As I test drove the bikes, a long lost feeling came over me. It had been about 5 years since I'd ridden a racing bike, and I'd forgotten just how much faster they are than the clunky "Canadian Tire" style mountain bikes that I was used to. The feelings of insane speed and acceleration were slightly dampened by the questionable reliability of the brakes, but I was completely sold.
The bike I ended up buying didn't exactly get off to a flying start. One of the pedals was crooked and felt really strange. More worrying though was the brutish amount of force required to turn said pedals. About 2 minutes into the test-drive the reason for this sluggishness was revealed. The rear tire, which, until that point, had been over-inflated, quickly became un-inflated. In other words; it exploded. But the salesman, keen on making that sale, fixed the pedal and installed a new inner tube free of charge (nice). The second test drive was much better. The gears didn’t switch very well but that can be sorted. The real selling point was the condition of the frame, it wasn’t rusted, dented, or severely scratched. And didn’t have any stickers or decals to remove for the re-spray. Sold. Time to get to work.