Some weeks back in the context of a very unusual Bianchi, which, some implied had been conceived from a very large, spares bin, Tony playfully suggested I might be able to conceive a smaller production run myself. Reasoned or otherwise, pattern and obsolete parts entice me-going a long way to explaining my gravitation to people’s winter bikes. I don’t subscribe to the philosophy that winter/trainers must be thrown together blindly using a hotchpotch of random parts from the spares bin. Neat and tidy using a downgraded race grouppo suggests good planning, although uniformity doesn’t appeal to me. This week from my warlock’s cauldron, I produce these…Cinelli Spinacci from the late 90’s. Once popular with the pro peleton, the evil ones at the UCI outlawed them in 2000 so they pretty much vanished to the bowels of the bargain basement and classified ads.
These were acquired very cheaply in 2003 on the basis they’d “Come in handy at some point” and until recently they sought refuge in the spares drawer. Popping some fresh test rubber aboard the Univega saw the unfortunate and untimely demise of my beloved speed lever and as I searched for a replacement tyre lever, the distinctive Spinacci end plugs peered out from a cardboard box.
Transfixed, I unearthed said bars and mused “Teenage Dream”. Ever evolving, the call of long, light evenings still demands some illumination-if only of the seen-by variety. One thing lead to another and these Torch end blinkers slotted unobtrusively into the ends, easily removed come battery changes…Gathering momentum, it was time to salvage some seemingly well-preserved bar wrap from an old set of Cinelli drops. Thinking this would complement the green and black livery perfectly the unravelling began…
Despite being stored in a dry and relatively warm garage, the adhesive had become a hard, brittle mess. My gaze turned to the boulevard of burst tubes and the solution was obvious. Back inside, I cut along the seams and bound it tightly around the extensions, securing the ends with some super glossy electrical tape. A more aesthetically pleasing solution would’ve been to fashion two sleeves from a road tube and slide them over but doing so wouldn’t provide the same insulation from road shock, besides 26x1.5-2.1 was all I had. These ITM Olympus have also resurfaced and shall whiz aboard the Holdsworth assuming an oversized fitting kit can be procured. Deathly silence from distributors and retailers alike is encouraging lateral thought-there’s a good chance another brand will be of the same diameter.
Race blades at the ready (remember the Teenage Dream was built during the era when cynically tacking mudguard eyes to frame ends meant they could be marketed as a trainers-or fast road in the days before audax despite insufficient clearance around the fork crown!); It’s time to relive 1991’s summer of tractor racing, young man’s angst arguably superseded by mid-life (but definitely mellower) crisis. Wonder if I can beat my 37.5mph overtaking record.
Hopefully the highways agency will have filled in some of the rim crunching craters by time my beloved road bike is roused from its relative hibernation… They’re breeding so prolifically locally that even the Univega with its beefy 26x1.75s is reminding me to skirt round them. Otherwise, the loyal loyal load lugger will have the Teenage Dream’s hoops aboard the sprint carriers, beating a path to the wheel builder’s door. Yes, I bought a pair around the same time as the Spinacci and following several coats of clear lacquer, used them for their intended purpose-albeit lugging wire on cross and mtb wheels.
Returning to retro, I love and loathe it in equal measure. Love the fact some otherwise extremely rare/expensive things are now readily available and bring a lot of happiness- reasonable quality, nicely priced road fixer framesets and complete builds being a case in point. Unfortunately, there’s a point where the balance tips and the economics of supply and demand push prices through the roof. Only a few years back someone would gift you a old but very worthy track frame that was “taking up space in the loft” not now. That said there’s been a sudden rush of ex soviet track/pursuit bikes come under my radar thanks to family links with the Eastern block.
A Dawes built Kirk from twenty years back has also come to my attention. Wouldn’t hand over more than £20-not even for a nice one thanks to blancmange handling, poor casting and quick rot but they’re an interesting piece of cycling history/ornament nonetheless and from another, deeply personal perspective, I can appreciate why people are firmly attached to theirs.
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)