Saturday, March 14, 2009

Some things change....

I've been riding my nearly 20-year old Lighthouse road bike, made for me by Tim Neenan (then and now) of Santa Ynez, California. Neenan, one of God's more accomplished creatures, has recently taken up the torch again after years of creating (and helping folks create) gourmet meals. 

Lighthouse Cycles lives again! 

You will still be able to buy a frameset like mine, made in traditional steel joined by lugs. But more often, lucky Lighthouse buyers will choose fillet-brazed compact frames made with "today's state-of-the-art ultralight tubesets" - and probably carbon fiber forks. 

I understand that my old friend David Schnitzer (Tim introduced us just after the War of Southern Secession) is working on a web site for Tim, who is better with some files than others.

I mention all this because a friend here in Denver, a longtime student of bike-fit, suggested I change stems on my own Lighthouse. The stem he recommended: The stock one, painted to match, that Tim sized and built for me in 1990!

So I did: I took the upswept Salsa off and put the stock stem back on. It works fine. I feel good on the bike. Meaning, and I don't want you to miss this - I can ride the same bike I rode 20 years ago. Same position. Hey, uh? Is that cool or what?

But, I do some things differently than I did two decades ago. I had to remove the bar tape to switch stems, so I bought a box of Bontrager padded tape - in black, same as the old tape. I re-wrapped one side and haven't bothered to do the other side yet....

So I'm riding with mismatched handlebar tape, left and right. You have to look close, but if you do, you would see two different tapes. I would never have done that in 1990, never have left the house with a bike treated disrespectfully like that. Like mismatched socks on a guy who dresses in the dark.

I'm not falling apart in every regard, I'm proud to state. But in tiny ways I've changed. As I said, you have to look close.


Earle said...

Must be shellacked cotton ... must be shellacked cotton ... must be shellacked cotton ... you must follow ALL of the traditions of lugged steel bikes, or you will be shunned. Tape is tape, fergawdsakes. When it needs to be replaced, replace it with what works,

beth h said...

I'm guessing that if you're riding the same position as 20 years ago, you haven't gained much around the middle. That's what does it for most of us -- we get a touch of Middle Age Spread and up go the handlebars.
(At least that's how it's gone for me.)

Nigel said...

It's great to see Tim back in the bike business. He built one for me in 91 after I read your article raving about yours and it's still a great bike!!

tim.neenan said...

It feels so good to building frames again. My new Anvil jig should be in the shop this week. I would love to see you on a superlight Spirit tubed compact Lighthouse with that same familiar position of course. Let's talk.
Lighthouse Cycles

tim.neenan said...

I am so happy to begin frame building again. The new Anvil jig should be in the shop this week. I would love to get you in a superlight Spirit tubed compact Lighthouse. With your comfy position of course. Let's talk.
Lighthouse cycles