Over the past weekend, the California Eroica happened. I had hopes of getting away to ride it with some Dino friends. But alas, business first. Next year. Yeah, next year. Instead, I thought, "hey, pull out the old Bridgestone and get out for a morning on/off road ride!" I hadn't ridden the old girl since I converted it back to gears from the fixed gear bike I had it set up with for many years. Air in the tires and it was good to go.
This '94 Bridgestone RB-1 was the last 62cm frame to leave their San Leandro warehouse in 1995. I was working at Haro and heard that Bridgestone was shuttering their doors. I always hand a big hankering for their bikes having sold them in the shop I worked at in Carlsbad, CA. However, their largest mountain bike was still a touch too small and I had a custom road bike. I figured this was my last chance to pick up an RB-1, so a call to someone I knew who worked at Bridgestone and I was informed that they had one 62cm RB-1 left and soon than bike was in my hands. I built it up with odds and ends I had at the time. Today, those odds and ends are fairly coveted parts, but back then they were just parts.
Salsa quill stem
Specialized alloy headset
Cloth bar tape and Velox bar end plugs
Simplex retrofriction shifters
Mavic 851 rear derailleur
Shimano Dura Ace front derailleur
Ritchey Logic cranks - 110 bcd, 53/38, 177.5mm
Campagnolo Lambda Strada rims
Campagnolo Record 32h high flange hubs
Dura Ace 13-22 freewheel
Suntour XC seatpost
Selle Italia Turbo seat
Shimano 600EX brake levers
Dia-Compe Gran Compe brake calipers
Schwalbe Durano 28 tires
For the longest time, I had this bike set up with a fixed gear. I don't know why, but as soon as I got on it and started riding that morning, I rode it like I would ride a fixed gear. Always pedaling, not coasting...there's a certain way you ride a fixed gear bike compared to a bike that freewheels. Hard to explain. Maybe it was because I had been commuting on my fixed gear Ibis Scorcher, but when I got on the RB-1, I felt like it was my old fixed gear bike. It didn't take long to get more into the groove and get 'er going. Until the climb out of the Tomales Bay watershed and over into the Point Reyes National Seashor. Then I remembered that a 22t large freewheel cog was the climbing gear of a young man. But, I got up and over the hills and it wasn't bad at all. Just a bit of grit. And maybe half a lung. And a lot of out of the saddle.
Out onto the seashore's roads, I headed out to the dirt L Ranch Rd. which is very much like what the dirt roads of l'eroica look like.
As I got to the end of the road, the cows scattered at my approach.
But as I leaned my bike against the fence and took a photo or two, they drifted back. Probably thinking I had food for them.
Pretty soon, they were all about crowding up to the fence.
Looking out at Marshall across Tomales Bay from the Marshall Beach trail.
After not having ridden a bike with down tube shifters for a number of years, I found it to be completely natural shifting. Like I never forgot or like it was yesterday when I last road a bike with down tube shifters. Simple. The one thing I did discover was the drop position of the old Mavic bars was pretty damn low and far away. The tops and hoods were fine. The drops were a fairly uncomfortable position. Did I used to be that flexible? And if I'm going to continue to ride it where I need brakes, I'll have to fit new brake blocks because 20 year old brake blocks are pretty much like bricks against the wheels. Not optimal when approaching an increasing radius turn at speed.
An excellent day on the bike.
(What's playing: KWMR Silver Dollar Jukebox)