Gritty to Pretty: the Lovely Donation Bike!
I am pleased to report that the refurbished vintage donation touring bike - also known as "the roadbike for women who fear roadbikes" - is ready! As often happens with these things, the project took longer than I anticipated. In the end we did not have time to put the bicycle together ourselves, and I entrusted the job to the saintly Jim at Harris Cyclery - which contributed the labor pro bono and donated the remaining parts my build was missing, thus becoming a sponsor of this project along with Velo Orange. My sincere thanks to them, as well as to all readers who contributed parts and funds to this effort. This is not yet the official give-away announcement, as I first wanted to show off some pictures and describe the bicycle in detail. I hope you like it!
So what exactly is this bicycle... It began as a vintage Shogun 400 touring bike that looked like this when I picked it up, but has been rebuilt from the frame up. When I spotted the original bike, I immediately thought it had potential. The early '80s Japanese cro-moly frame with relaxed geometry promised a comfortable, "Rivendell-esque" ride. And, despite the fairly small size (52cm), it looked like there would be no toe overlap, even with fenders. As many know, it is extremely difficult to find a roadbike in a small size, with relaxed geometry and no toe overlap - be it modern or vintage - which is what makes some of these unassuming vintage Japanese frames special. My idea was to start with such a frame and build it up with comfortable, functional components - ending up with an unintimidating "starter" roadbike that a beginner would be able to learn on without undue nervousness or discomfort.
I want to express my thanks again to Velo Orange, Harris Cyclery, and the generous readers who have contributed to this project: Justine, G.E., Neighbourtease, Spindizzy, Cedar, Somervillain, and others!