Well I’ve been riding again for about three weeks after a pretty bad fall. I was at the Eroica California event in Paso Robles California enjoying my favorite ride when I did a stupid move and allowed my front wheel to get too close to the ledge of asphalt next to the shoulder of the road. All it took was a slight move of the handlebars and down I went. I was fully engaged in the ride and the fall was so fast that I had no time to brace for the impact. I hit face first and then ,of course, the other parts of me got the secondary road rash type injuries. Only traveling at about 12 miles per hour one would not expect the injury I sustained. My face was broken in 5 places (orbital bone, cheek bones) with loose pieces “floating” in my face. I also broke my left hand. Fortunately, I was wearing a helmet so no concussion or brain injury. The good news was that no surgery was required , just time to heal. I waited a good amount of time to allow for the bones to grow back together and now I’m back to riding. It has been very warm(HOT!) in Southern California so normally I would wait for cooler weather, but , I feel I’ve lost enough time and really need to get back “behind bars”. It has been glorious !! The old saying about absence making the heart grow fonder is true. Living here has spoiled me in that I ride pretty much year round with very little interruption so to take a couple of months off was brutal but necessary. When I ride now I am not only a bit more cautious , but , more appreciative of the journey. I have always enjoyed “the ride” but it seems as though I am viewing things in Technicolor! After riding these now “old school” racing bikes since the mid seventies I am enjoying the new appreciation that has sprouted up recently around these hand-made bikes. The ride truly reflects the build quality which I really don’t see in the disposable bikes that are more common now. I frequently get asked by younger people about my old bikes and their interest seems to be growing. I am not sure of how that affects my riding pleasure or not , but it certainly doesn’t hurt. What ever you ride, just get out and do it! Long ride , short ride , just do it. After 45+ years of cycling I can say that those times behind bars are some of the best times of my life. Taking a couple of months off has proven that to me, Ride on, Joe
I got the bike home and after close inspection saw that it is in fact a Gran Rally. It has a 6 digit serial # flanked by stars making it an early 1972. The seat post is a Zeus and the headset an Ofmega . This bike has been outside in Morro Bay California for more than a couple of seasons! I actually entertained selling it off in parts and using the profit for other bike projects. Well after a bit of tinkering and scraping/ cleaning I have decided to keep it as a bike and it WILL see the road again. I will take it apart and clean and grease it and, after all , patina is in right now! 3/13/18 The serial # *209747* flanked by 5 point stars. Does this mean 09(month) of ’72? I am going to next check date stamping on hub lock nuts.
Well, this one is a bit rough! It is on its way to me and should be here by next week. This will be my next project. From what I am told by my friends on Bikeforums , this is a keeper, it has a butted Columbus Tubes (x3) Frame and Campagnolo Dropouts .The fork ends are stamped ,I am being told. All around this is a very nice bike once it is cleaned up. It was made by the Torpado factory in Italy. It obviously has issues , but we’ll see how it turns out once it arrives. The price point was very good with lots of room for cables,tires and whatever else it may(will) need. Joe
This Stella came to me years ago . It was my best friends bike in the late 70’s. He and I would ride to the local park to throw Frisbee and do short local rides around Ojai, California . The Stella was given to him by a friend after he got out of the service post Viet Nam. As long as I could remember, Don would ride around on this with me and my new Kabuki Diamond Formula and our Frisbee. The summer days are now a fond memory , and , Don did not continue to ride it. He hung it in his garage in Ojai and pretty much forgot about it. Years later he came by my shop in Ventura to inform me that his wife had passed away and he was retiring to Mariposa, California. I was getting ready for my “lunch ride” out to the harbor , but instead decided to sit and talk with my old friend. He was surprised to see that I was still riding the Kabuki and told me that he still had the Stella. He said it had been neglected and he would love to see it brought back to its former glory and used. He offered it to me as he knew I would do just that! The bike is too small for me, but I make it work. Fortunately it came with a very long seat post which allows me to ride it on short city rides. I changed a few things from when he had it, I put alloy handlebars and replaced the wheels with period correct Wienman 700c wheels and butted stainless steel spokes . Two years ago at the Eroica event I found an Ideal #87 leather saddle which is now on the bike . the old Campagnolo derailuers are fine and shift ok . I want to keep it as original as possible , but , at the same time enjoyable to ride. I have not been able to free up the pedals to change them to some with cages . One of them is bent and to this date IMPOSSIBLE to remove . The crank is also original and I would love to put a Campy GS or NR unit on there, but I’m not sure when that will happen. I think this was their middle range bike , they made a bike which came with higher end Campy parts and dropouts. It ride well, very reliable , always shifts and stops fine. As with most of the bikes built during the bike boom in the 1970’s this one just keeps on going! Always ready for a new adventure.
I bought this bike in about 2015 from a 78 year old man in Beulton, California. I saw the add on Craigslist and after seeing the photos , I decided I would give it a new home. I like bikes that are original and this one fit. It is not as tall as I like but very rideable at 23.5″ ( I ride a 25″). He purchased the bike new in Cupertino California in November of 1977 for his wife who , as it turns out HATED it! Lucky for me, it sat year after year in his garage never being ridden. He rode a Raleigh International that was very beat and rusty , having made a ride (among many others) to San Diego from San Francisco. His International went to someone else who showed up for it. I guess he was getting too old to ride and maintain balance. I put a set of 700 x 23c tires on it and wrapped the handle bars with period correct cloth tape and enjoy riding it frequently. This was the first year of the “GS” with Campagnolo dropouts , cranks , pedals , derailers and shifters , hubs , bottom bracket , and headset. It sports Wienman Carrera brakes with drilled levers and Wienman concave wheels ( hard to polish!!). The spokes are butted and the frame is Reynolds 531, and of course a Brooks Pro saddle. I guess this was a “top drawer” bike for Carlton, just below the International and Professional. I love the cut out Bocama lugs and details of the build. Not the fastest bike I own, but very sturdy “go anywhere” bike. I think with proper care this bike will be on the road a while longer!
I rode this bike at Eroica California last year(2017) and it did quite well. The wider tires seemed great and the old Phil hubs made the down hill rides quick. The hills were brutal with a 42/26 combination, but that’s what Eroica is all about! I changed the modern Brooks to a more corect Pre Cinelli Unicantor saddle and put on some Gel undies for the ride. Too cold for my cycling shorts.
I happened upon this bike on ebay,it was found in a storage locker in Corona , California.The bike was very dusty but in solid shape. Due to the lack of rust or oxidation, I think it spent its entire life inland away from the ocean. It was in original condition and none of the Campagnolo parts were missing! Even the original Brooks saddle was still on the bike and just needed rubbing with Doc Martin’s rub. The rest of the bike and components just needed cleaning and greasing. I rubbed the chrome and frame with cleaner , polished the alloy parts and took it for a 30 mile shakedown ride. It performed flawlessly and got me home without any problem. I love this bike and have actually scored my best Strava time even with the comfy wide tires. I averaged 17 mph even including one medium climb!(and I am not a young man)