Thursday, May 28, 2009

Picking Parts

(Above: Gentleman's Bike from Velo Orange)

So, now I had a direction, but what to actually DO was a daunting list. I needed to decide what parts I would want to use to achieve the look I had in mind, and also decide on a color scheme.

Fortunately, working for a chain of bike shops has many advantages here. I have a load of catalogs to look through, and easy access to special ordering. Even still, I ended up finding a lot of things I wanted online. The internet has been a source of not just inspiration, but fulfillment of those ideas in the form of bits.

I need a new stem, bars, cables, brake levers, hubs, rims, chain, freewheel, seatpost, seat, fenders... anything I can't get through the store, I find on one of my favorite classic bike parts dealers' websites. I've linked several of my favorite spots on the right-hand column.

I have to say, I plan on purchasing a number of hard-to-find parts from Velo Orange. No one else has taken the time and effort to create bars and racks and fenders, or source hard-to-find inverse levers, or round up lighting systems and accompanying hardware quite like the folks there in Annapolis.

Harris Cyclery will likely be supplying my hubs, and perhaps a few other small bits and bobs. Rims, stem, chain, seat and seatpost I'll be getting through Clean Machine, along with cables and cable housings for my brakes, and brake pads.

I found a lot of fenders out there, and have yet to decide between a classic alloy, or the sweet, warm novelty of steam-bent wood!

Then the big question of finish: what color to pick? Initially I wanted red... and then I met Richard, a local tattoo artist who rolls on a simply gorgeous Raleigh 3-speed with rod brakes... in a delicious fire engine red. If you've seen Richard rolling down Rosemary Street, you know what I'm talking about. Yes, the bike with the built-in bottle-opener on the seat downtube. I decided red was a bit too... easy for this build. I wanted something classy, but also... different. How about green? Blue? Black? None of them seemed right.

Then I got a look at an original Peugeot Porteur from the 1950's, still in its original paint... and it hit me.

It's ALL about the subtleties. You'll see.

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