My one true love is a shiny black Raleigh Sports, a second-owner '53.
The original rims & Dunlops went to storage in 1972 when I gave her Fiamme Reds.That front Red Label's outlasted SuperChampion Arc-en Ciels, a Campagnolo Record Pave and many lesser rear rims that bore Wolber Renforces at first, ( I was easily impressed!) Spanish Michelins, LionTyres, Barums, dozens of "flatproof" National 300s, nice hefty Pirellis and shoddy Hutchinsons. Lately, those nice, simple Thai tubs that corner so well
Wiped with fresh oil and flashing a cleanTA Criterium Adapteur 43 it just flaunts it's good looks. But that's just beauty. True love seeps up through a dozen then fifteen or twenty or thirty winters of wiping the salt scum from under the mudguards. It knows the way home after a double shift and the extra sip of scotch. It jumps to the other lane, snaps on yellow lights, leaps over curbs and slices a 22mm swath in fresh snow. OK, so it brushes both grips between buses. So? It rides straight, and what does a man really want? It likes special places, like the back seat of my convertible, white except for the 43t ring print, bedrooms & halls with just a whisp of grey where it's spent a lot of evenings. It's never been outside alone since we've met.
But that's true love. Love is interspersed with flings. A classy sultry blue '76 Pogliaghi trying to look respectable after I tarted it up with a titanium BB and those gaudy Modolo Pros. A cold sharp white '80 3Rensho SRA that wouldn't wiggle it's butt no matter what. A Team Peugeot Fibre Carbone. The last custom titanium Team Panasonic sold in USA, Oh, and the 531SL Zeus that could pass for French on a good day. Later a '71 full Nuovo Record red Team LeJeune. French? Ah, the '72 Mercier 300 (just like Pou-Pou's) that showed me the hidden pleasures of the climb and the ecstasy of descent. The Mercier had my first tubs. Haven't owned a clincher since. Couldn't do that to my true love.or even the friend du jour.