80’s Vice Bike

Way back in the day I had a road bike. I was probably in the eighth or ninth grade when I was given a Centurion for Christmas. I don’t remember it as well as I should, but through my research and vague memories it was either a Sport DLX or an Accordo. This would have been probably around 1989, so that would more likely be the Accordo—according to this page on Sheldon’s site. This is proving a difficult history to research; I’m dying for more photos really. This is the closest, memory striking, one, and from the looks of the picture the paint is on it’s way out. But note the sweet decals and two tone paint job. Those shapes and squiggles always stuck in my memory.

I remember having a good time with this old Centurion, it was as fast as I had ever gone on a bike before, and wanting to be like Mr. Lemond at the time, I taught myself how to ride stronger: trudging up hills in progressively harder and harder gears. I’d like to try those hills again, they at least seemed like steep hills at the time; climbing up the street my old elementary school was on in suburban Maryland. I remember people would ask me why they’d see me looking behind me so often while I rode. I admit, I had no idea why, I probably had no idea where I was going.

I also had no idea that I would eventually get rid of this beloved Centurion in an ignorant desire to ride a different bike. I only say ignorant now, at the time of this decision to “upgrade” I was eager to get rid of the road bike. It was fast, it was fun racing busses up and down Kembridge, but… my big brother had just gotten a sweet new mountain bike! A Scott Delano hardtail (& nose) mountain bike. His friend Dan also got one with a suspension fork! And I just felt I had to do the same, why ride alone, when I could ride with the big boys. However, all I could afford was a Scott Peak that looked just like this dude’s. What was most troublesome at the time was the fact that I could only afford it by trading in my Centurion, and even then I remember it only buying me a hundred dollars credit towards the Peak. Oh well, I was in knobby heaven, again ignorant at the time of my newly reduced speed. But I remember those rides well: me, my brother, and friend Dan hitting woody trails and muddy swamps near and around the Patuxent River.

I brought that Scott out here to Seattle with me but it has since been Recycled. I had plenty of miles on it but I stopped riding it after I got a lighter Fuji. I only remember vague highlights of the old Centurion, a mostly white frame with the awesome geometric accents and colorful squiggles that afterwards I would always describe as being Miami Vice-like (it pleased me to read a similar description on Sheldon’s site). Just a few weeks ago—on my birthday no doubt—I got reacquainted with another Centurion-as-gift. I’m back with a “close-enough” Centurion, albeit with only a few of the sweet decals that I liked so much back then….

This color scheme is a bit more my current style

To really firm up the memories though, I need to get my mother to dig through some photo albums, surely there’s one of me and my bike. In the meantime, there’s more pictures of this gem; soon enough I’ll be re-working this gifted bike and converting it to more modern components—like Biopace isn’t modern—and using it primarily as a city bike capable of towing the B.O.B. and utilizing a front rack. It’s not my old bike exactly so a restoration isn’t required; one day exactly whatever that bike was, it’ll return to me perhaps.

Rest in Peace

A definite loss to the cycling world, the death of Sheldon Brown certainly came as a surprise to me. Condolences to his family and friends. Here are some news articles on his passing, Bicycle Retailer and Bike Magic.

Surely we’ve all perused the pages at Sheldon Brown’s Bicycle Technical Info for either solutions to bike problems or answers to some bicycle curiosity in the past. His glossary is unequaled anywhere online. But as much of the time I’ve personally spent on the site, for some reason I never came across any of his products: Superleggero Bearing Balls and the Geomagnetic Booster both seem wildly “useful”. The man’s humor was ever present in his technical info, one of my favorites though, found in his glossary indexed within I-K.

One of my favorite French puns. The letter “K” is pronounced “kah”, the number “7” is “sept” (the “p” is silent, like the “p” in swimming.) Thus, “K-7” is “kah-sept” or “cassette.” I first encountered this in a French electronics catalogue, and it took me quite a while to figure it out. As far as I know, the French only use this abbreviation for tape cassettes, but I have fallen into the habit of using it as a shorthand for freehub cassettes.

I’m a fan of puns and twists in language, admittedly, the “p” in swimming still makes me laugh. Hearing the news of his passing was sad indeed. Rest in peace, it would have been nice to have properly known you.