That was 2002 or 2003, can't quite recall which, and the bike was less than 2 years old and, to my eyes, the most fabulous piece of machinery I had ever set eyes on.
The reality was, though, that it was a mid-level race bike from a mid-level brand, with mid-level specs and components. But I loved it, anyway. My cunning plan was to become a regular rider and clock up the kilometres, lose weight and regain some fitness.
However, I was busy with work and family and I no longer cycled to work. My trusty hybrid (bought new in 1991) was already gathering dust in the shed, and every time I rode this 'new' wonder-bike I ended up with a crook back. So the bike sat in the corner of the bedroom and stared at me for most of the next 5 years - until I retired from work in August 2010.
Never mind, more stretching and exercise and the next ride was a little further, about 15kms, and then I rode to where the ATB would start from the next week and home again - about 25kms. So I could at least make the start and, theoretically, ride home again - assuming I could survive the intervening 50kms over the Westgate bridge to Altona and back ! :) I managed just 4 rides before the big day.
|The Raceline at Studley Park.|
|Caked with mud from a ride to |
Diamond Ck via Eltham
|The new Caadx with it's 'go faster' wheels.... now on the Raceline|
My mate Kevin was keen to start riding and needed a bike. I flipped the stem, which raises the handlebars an inch, and lowered the seat. I swapped out the old worn SPD pedals for a pair of basic flats and he was away. I'd also removed the hideous old 'tiger' bar tape revealing reasonable black tape underneath. It seems the previous owner had added a layer of tape in order to soften the harsh ride transmitted through the aluminium frame and bars. Unlike modern alu framed bikes (including my Caadx) the old Raceline does not have a carbon front fork, so road-shock can be an issue.
|Kevin aboard the Raceline at|
ATB50, October 2011.
So the Raceline came home once more and was ready for a minor makeover. I thought about fitting compact cranks, and even bought a full secondhand 105/Tiagra groupset, just for the cranks. But, rookie mistake, the cranks were too big at 175mm and didn't really suit the bike. So, with my mate Justin's help, I just fitted the 105 rear derailleur to improve the changes a little and a new 12-27 cassette then thought about what to do next.
|The 'new' Raceline... replaced chain, cassette, RD,|
bars, bartape - and now fitted with the 'go faster' wheels.
The original bars had been bent somehow and the right side was angled slightly inwards. Justin kindly supplied an old, but unused set of compact aluminium bars which I fitted my self and replaced the bartape with nice new.black. I fitted a new chain as well and now, with my best wheels on board, the Raceline runs like new !
Cost of the overhaul was probably less than $150, but this old steed owes me nothing. It's still just a mid-level bike, with mid-level specs but it has acquired some symbolic and sentimental value.
And now that I've been riding for 2 years I am fit and strong enough to do it some justice. I took it for a ride down Beach Rd last Sunday, along with Kevin on his maiden ride aboard the new GIANT, and Justin on his custom steel-framed Gellie and had a blast. Several Strava PBs on the way down and on a short climb in Kew coming home.
Next weekend I may take it back to the Dandenongs - Kevin has all the gears now and needs some hills in those legs !!
And the other news for the Raceline is that I have another old friend ready to take on road cycling ... :)