Riding pal and custom frame builder Chuck Lathe wrote a blog entry week last week celebrating the fact that his Coho red randonneuse bicycle had achieved super randonneuse status (completing a full brevet series, from a 200k to a 600k, in one calendar year).
I’ve never been good at haggling or negotiations (averting my eyes and offering uncounted cash) but about three years ago I made a series of nearly no-cost to me trades which landed me my own super randonneuse–my Trek super trek (aka, the tin donkey).
For about a half day, I owned a blue Schwinn Collegiate which came to me by way of a former faculty member who had abandoned it in a campus office. Mid-day, I traded I the Collegiate for a mid-1980s, mid-range Trek road bike which had been deposited at the local Goodwill. Trade took place behind Blue Heron bicycles, from the back of a pick-up truck, between me and a fellow who combs goodwill for decent bikes and than remakes them as campus commuters. I saw the Trek and offered, first cash, and than the Collegiate in exchange for what looked to be a pretty road worthy (if somehwhat rusty) bike. Poor old Trek was on its way to a gentle life of a leisure as some sorority girls one block beach cruiser (probably ridden with toe clips in flipflops).
Later in the Fall, in exchange for another 3-speed, my beloved Raleigh, Orphea, I had a local shop upgrade parts, wheelset and convert bike to a 7-speed drivetrain. I also made the crucial, class-me-up gesture of adding a Brooks saddle and Carradice Pendle bag to the rig.
At the time of the Trek trade, I rarely rode bicycles beyond my short commute. However, once the Trek was up and running, with 7-speed drivetrain, I found that I could ride further, free of physical discomfort or mental fatigue. Something about the Trek, with its long chainstays, ancient paint, illegible graphics, hodgepodge parts and gentle fork rake, kept me afloat and moving forward for longer and longer distances. The next year, I started participating in metric and full centuries and begin my preparations for a future season of “randonneuring” (a cryptic word I associated with a style of handlebars and fine French cycling luggage made by Gilles Berthoud).
Fast forward to 2007 and I’ve already ridden almost 3,000 miles on the Trek.
Last week, I completed my first 600k, securing super randonneuse status for me and the Trek. In two weeks, I head up to Portland for the Oregon randonneur’s point to point, 1000k. For this event, Super Trek and I will be travelling from Troutdale to Glacier, Montana.
Though I’ve qualified for Paris-Brest-Paris, I will be taking the Trek up to Centralia, WA, for another 1000k, the poor man’s PBP, to be held the same month.
Dark turn of the tale (the Black Beauty factor): As some of you know, I’ve had a custom Rivendell on order for three years and counting. Some wonder if the Rivendell exists but I know that at some point this Summer or Fall I will get an email indicating that the bike is in the mail.
Question remains: what will become of the Trek? Should it be put out to pasture, donated to a needy campus kid, repurposed as a wet weather winter bike or sent off to the bike knacker for parts dis-assembly or tube harvesting?
Additional flickr glamour footage of the Super Trek can be found here.