Wednesday, March 30, 2016

What's Better Than A New Old Bike Project?

Is there anything better than getting a brand new frame to build up -- or maybe (as in this case) a great old frame, just back from the paint shop?

My new old bike. Just returned to me from Franklin Frame in Newark, Ohio. A new or freshly painted bike frame even has a great smell to it.

The anticipation is tremendous -- opening up the box, and pulling the meticulously wrapped frame and fork out. Then bit by bit, carefully peeling back the wrapping, to reveal the glossy, freshly painted frame inside.

Metallic Burgundy -- a favorite of mine. Next I need to put on the restoration decals, recently received from VeloCals.
So, you may be wondering, what is it?

It's a 1984 Specialized Expedition. One of the nicest loaded touring bikes of its time.

Specialized bikes of the early '80s had minimal graphics. "Expedition" on the down tube, a stylized "S" on the head tube, and a couple of tubing stickers. Nothing more.
The way I understand it, the Specialized Touring tubing was a custom tube set made by Tange in Japan to Specialized's specifications. The tube dimensions or wall thickness for the main triangle are reported to be similar to Columbus SP -- 1mm/0.7mm/1mm.
These early '80s Expeditions were designed by Tim Neenan, who was Specialized's frame designer at the time. He also designed the sport-touring Sequoia model (another great bike!) and the first Stumpjumper. Neenan is now the man behind Lighthouse Cycles, which today makes updated custom-built versions of both the Expedition and Sequoia.

As far as I know, the Expedition was only available in a charcoal gray metallic, which was a really common bike color in the early '80s. People often picture garish neon colors or "Miami Vice" color schemes (like coral pink and turquoise) when they think of the '80s, but the early part of the decade was actually much more subdued than that. My example had some pretty dull and tired paint, worn through in some places, and some surface rust poking through in others. Since I actually plan to get a lot of use out of it, and it is not a particularly rare or collectible bike, I decided a repaint was in order. And in that case I took the liberty to choose a different color. The metallic burgundy is, I believe, a timeless color for any bike -- and with the reproduction decals in place, it's hard to believe that the bike wasn't available in this color originally.

Through posts on one of the bike forums by both Tim Neenan and Specialized's Bryant Bainbridge, I'm surmising that the bike's frame may have been built in Japan by Miyata. That company made frames for Specialized for a year or two, but according to Bainbridge, Miyata wanted more control over the production specifications than the folks at Specialized were willing to relinquish. Frame production was later spread out to other, smaller Japanese builders (I believe Toyo was one of them, which today makes some frames for Rivendell). After the dollar crashed against the Yen in '86 they had to start sourcing bikes from Taiwan. Those were nice bikes, but the workmanship on the Japanese-built frames was second-to-none.

Some Before Pictures:

Oddly enough, bikes never look very good in the snow.

Not a great picture, but you can get a sense of just how tired the paint was looking.
The bike, as I found it, had obviously seen a fair amount of use, but even after 30+ years still had many of its original components. Based on spec sheets from the time, the original components would have included:

Crank: Sugino AT triple
Wheels: Specialized sealed bearing hubs, Mavic rims - 36 front/40 rear
Brakes: Shimano Deore MC-70
Headset: Specialized sealed bearing, steel
Handlebars: Specialized, made by Nitto

Some parts that had certainly been changed over the years include the derailleurs, shift levers, saddle, and stem. I believe the seat post may also have been changed. It was the same model as originally specified (SR Laprade -- ubiquitous in the '80s), but the tubing dimensions and everything I can find about the Expedition tells me it should take a 26.8 mm post, and the post that the bike came with measures in at 26.4. My suspicion was raised when I loosened the seat lug binder and the seat post slipped right down to the head all on its own. That, and the binder ears appeared to be more "pinched" than what seemed to be prudent.

Another thing that was changed - questionably - was that someone installed a mountain-bike style quick-release seat post binder bolt. I say "questionably" because such a bolt is totally inappropriate on this type of bike, and it was a terribly bad fit for the type of seat lug binder ears. Between the ill-fitting bolt and the slightly-too-small post, it's lucky the seat lug wasn't irreparably damaged.

Regular readers know that I've had a number of posts in the last few months about various components that I've been gathering. If you haven't guessed, many of those will be going onto this bike in the next few days. Those include:

Specialized "flag" crank

Specialized touring pedals

Shimano MT-60 derailleur

Shimano MT-62 brakes

Brooks B-17 saddle

Upcoming posts will take a closer look at more of the components I'll be putting onto the bike, and eventually, pictures of the completed package.

Stay tuned!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Vintage Cantilevers: Choices, Choices

I'm selecting brakes for a project, and I have a couple of choices. I thought readers might be interested in what I have.

Both sets of brakes are wide-profile cantilevers from Shimano. One set is from the early '80s Deore group (some might remember that as the "deer head" set), designated as MC-70. They were one of the top choices for touring and mountain bikes from '83 through about '86. Understand that mountain bikes were still in their infancy, touring bikes were all the rage, and there wasn't nearly as much difference between mountain and touring bike components at the time.

The other set is from the next generation Deore group -- the MT-60 group, which featured Shimano's first indexing mountain bike derailleur. To be more exact, mine are marked MT-62, though the main difference was in the shifters (changed from 6-speed to 7-speed indexing) while the brakes are pretty much the same as far as I can tell.

Looking at the older vs. newer brakes (yes, old vs. new is all relative when they're all in the neighborhood of 30 years old), you can see some similarities and some differences:

On the top are Shimano MT-62 cantilevers from the later '80s. Just below them are a pair of MC-70 cantis from about 1983.
The MC-70 brakes were great looking, with more visually interesting details than the newer brakes. Notice the "shadow lines" that are forged into the arms. I'm not sure how they compare in weight, but they look lighter, and slightly more "right" for a classic road bike. The old brake pads have a lot of surface area, but the brakes would likely be improved greatly with a set of modern compound shoes. That's true of most older brakes in my opinion. Being a 33-yr. old used set of brakes, the chromed hardware has some rust. On the outer surfaces, they can be cleaned up pretty easily, but down inside the allen-head sockets, it's unlikely I'll be able to do a lot to improve them.
The MT-60/62 brakes are similar in overall dimensions and geometry to the MC-70 pieces, and the toe-in adjustment mechanism is almost identical (that's the serrated black ring just behind the brake shoe post). But they have a smoother, more "streamlined" look than the older model. They're still very nice, though - and not too "mountain-bikey" for a good road bike. This particular example has the advantage of being virtually new old stock, so cosmetically they are about perfect. 

Two details make the newer brakes functionally an improvement over the previous generation: The "SLR" (Shimano Linear Response) feature balanced lighter spring tension in the brakes with spring-loaded levers for smooth braking action (Dia Compe did the exact same thing and called it BRS, or "Balanced Response System"). And the newer brakes also include a means to adjust spring tension for easier centering -- something that most modern cantilever brakes have today, but is not present on the MC-70s.
That's a handy feature that makes centering the brakes much easier. Unfortunately, it is missing from the earlier generation brakes.
An interesting side note. When Campagnolo entered the mountain bike market in the late '80s, their top-of-the-line cantilever brakes appeared to be closely modeled after the Shimano MT-60 series brakes. Coincidence? Probably not, but Valentino Campagnolo would likely attempt to castrate me for suggesting it. The brakes were offered as part of their top mountain groups, as well as a short-lived tandem component group. One difference in the Campy version was that the Campys had spring tension adjusters on both the left and right units -- a nice touch, but not exactly necessary.

Ultimately, I've decided to go with the newer MT-62 brakes, which I'll be pairing up with a nice set of Dia Compe road levers. I slightly prefer the styling of the older MC-70 brakes, but the "like-new" cosmetics of the newer set, along with easier setup that comes from adjustable spring tension makes them hard to beat.

More to come. . .

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Muc-Off, MotherFudder

Would you spend nearly $200 for a bike chain?

What if I told you that this chain promises to save you nearly 6 watts of energy? What if I told you that the power savings were good for about 400 miles (less if you get caught in the rain)?

What if I told you that Sir Bradley Wiggins broke the Hour Record using similar technology?!

Dammit, somebody tell me where I can buy one of these chains!

That's right - the latest "must have" performance enhancing technology designed to separate the performance addict from his money is the "nanotube optimized chain" from Muc-Off.

Always wear gloves when handling the nanotube optimized chain. Failure to do so will result in contamination and loss of performance. Or so I surmise from the pictures.
Pre-treated with something called "nanotube speed film" -- supposedly a "military grade" additive -- the Muc-Off chain is not just for racers, but is aimed at "all riders" -- whether road, track, triathlon, or even MTB. Anybody who is willing to pay ridiculous sums of money for marginal gains, that is.

According to Muc-Off, each chain is "painstakingly speed graded and run-in under load during which data is taken to find its optimum."

Er, ah, Optimum what?

Then it is specially hand-treated with the nanotube formula, working tiny nanotube particles into every nook and cranny of the chain. And the company claims that there is no sharp drop-off in performance as there can be with dry-wax treatments. But it's only good for about 400 miles. Then you need to re-treat it with the company's special "Nanotube Speed Film Lube" which will help restore some of the chain's amazing performance -- but not all of it. The home re-treatment should bring it back to within 1-2 watts of its original from-the-factory performance.

Well, that seems reasonable.

With all these marginal gains that are available out there, any rider with more money than brains should be able to build himself a bike that saves so many watts that it pedals itself.

Remember the Ceramicspeed O'SPEW Derailleur Pulleys that promise to save 2.4 watts for only $500? For another $1000 or so, you could save up to 9 more watts by upgrading the hubs and bottom bracket, too.

Save any more watts than that, and the power company will have to start paying you to ride your bike!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Pure Custom: A Jamie Swan Original

A well-made bicycle will outlast its owner. In a bike's lifetime, it can go from being loved and cherished to being neglected, abused and even thrown out on the curb. Sacrilege, right? But even the nicest bikes can somehow end up that way. In some cases, many of a bike's obvious identifying features - like decals or head badges - will have been obscured or removed, or possibly covered carelessly in Krylon, or sometimes in the decals of some other brand. When that happens, vintage bike collectors may have to do some serious digging to figure out what kind of bike they're dealing with. They might have to look closely at things like lug shapes and cut-outs, the fork crown, the seat-stay cap treatment, or maybe some other subtle tell-tale detail in the tube joinery. In cases like that, the work of a true craftsman will still be identifiable. 

Sometimes I like to imagine what future collectors will go through in trying to identify bikes made today. What will stand out in 40 years when the once-cherished bike is covered (god forbid) in rust and a rattle-can paint job? 

A couple of years ago, I featured the work of Jamie Swan, a true frame-building artisan who had crafted a gorgeous twin-plate fleur-de-lis fork crown completely from scratch. Well, Jamie recently shared some photos of another really incredible project that could leave future collectors wondering "how the hell did he do that?"

In this unlikely instance, Jamie did the seemingly impossible by somehow combining two completely different commercially available fork crowns into one beautiful and truly unique piece.

Jamie was kind enough to let me share some of his in-progress photos. Enjoy.

Jamie started out with these two very different crowns. The one on the left is a Grand Bois crown designed for "Imperial Oval" fork blades. A lot of builders would use it right out of the box -- and why not? It's a classic-looking piece. The one on the right is a Nova Everest crown made for "Continental Oval" blades. Putting the two together wouldn't even occur to most people.
This little diagram illustrates the difference in the fork blades - and makes it clearer as to some of the challenges involved in combining elements of the two crowns shown above.
Here's the narrower "Imperial" blade inserted into the "Continental" socket.  Notice the huge gap on the side. It's just one of the challenges this project presented.
Here, Jamie is cutting away most of the upper portion of the Nova crown -- with the intent to just use the center and lower portions.
Affixed into the lathe, Jamie prepares to machine away more unwanted steel.
The Grand Bois crown is having much of its metal milled away to leave only the uppermost portion and the shoulder tangs.
Mostly there. . . 
A little more machining and filing, and the two pieces are test-fit together.
The steerer tube is brazed into place.
It's amazing that the fork blades fit as seamlessly as this.
All brazed and cleaned up. Seeing it like this, without any paint, you can really get a sense of how clean the brazing is. The look is so seamless, that it's hard to guess how this crown started out.
It's hard to imagine any bike of Jamie Swan's ever ending up obscured and neglected, but if it were to ever happen, even under a layer of Krylon, his amazing workmanship will show through.

I asked Jamie what even made him think to "Frankenstein" these two different pieces together. "I wasn't just trying to make my life more difficult," he told me. "It was all about trying to accommodate the Imperial Oval fork blades . . . well . . . and making something that looked cool."

Jamie told me he bought the Grand Bois crown specifically to use with the skinny fork blades, but "once I got that crown on my bench, I just couldn't bring myself to use the thing right out of the box. I always have the idea that if you're going to make a one-off bike frame that it should have some distinguishing features."

There were times in the process that Jamie had second thoughts and some serious doubts, but in the end, the results were absolutely gorgeous. Thank's, Jamie, for sharing!

To see more of the pictures from this set, you can check out Jamie's Flickr page.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Old vs. New: Trek 720

I was just reading a BikeRadar review of Trek's new 720 model - which is a bike with a grand touring tradition, re-imagined for the modern bike market. The reviewers praised the bike for a lot of points, calling it "an understated all-road all-rounder with excellent potential." The "highs" were "light, rapid, and potentially smooth - with luggage included" and the "lows" were its "soft" frame, and stock tires that were too narrow for the bike's mission.

The bike comes equipped with those neon-yellow
cinch-sacks that attach to the fork legs.
I suppose it's a matter of personal taste whether someone likes or hates the neon yellow cinch sacks that come with the bike, but it isn't often that bikes come with such a useful accessory as standard equipment, so I'll call them a plus. The bags attach to specially designed mounts that can be removed in a jiffy. Much is made about the bike's fork-mounted load carrying design, but in reality, really serious tourists have long known that mounting luggage on a bike's front-end is a smart idea because it has less of a negative effect on the bike's handling. The old French constructeurs knew it. And Bicycle Quarterly's Jan Heine writes quite a bit about front-loading for better handling.

The frame of the new 720 is built from aluminum with manipulated tapering and profiles. The sloping top tube and weird tubing profiles (some are flared, while others are flat, squarish, or even squashed) are thoroughly modern, but abhorrent to a confirmed retrogrouch. The welds look like they may have had some smoothing, but are on the whole still very noticeable. I'll just say they don't have that "carved of one piece" look that a nice fillet-brazed steel bike might have (or even an old Cannondale) and leave it at that. The bike is equipped with disc brakes and a mix of black Shimano 105-level components and Trek's own Bontrager-branded parts.

The reviewer in Bike Radar says that the 28 mm tires (actually measuring closer to 26 mm) aren't cushy enough, and that the bike is much improved by larger tires. If I could ride the bike, I'm sure I'd agree with him. Apparently it has room for 35 mm tires, but there's no mention of whether the fork will allow tires of that size with fenders. The bike has some mounting points for fenders, but the review didn't mention actually installing any. The 43-cm chainstays might allow room for a large tire and a fender in back, but the gap looks like it would be pretty crowded in there.

As far as the frame being "soft," I can't even imagine how that's an issue. The review says that it makes the bike's acceleration "adequate rather than amazing," which falls right into the conventional wisdom that bike frames must be as stiff as possible. Laterally stiff but vertically compliant, right? It's one of those canards that gets thrown around so much and people just accept it without proof. Certainly it fits with a basic instinctive notion of efficiency and "wasted energy" but nobody has ever been able to prove that a stiffer frame is any faster than a flexier one. On the contrary, Jan Heine has been writing quite a bit lately about frames that exhibit more flex and compliance as feeling faster -- a phenomenon that he calls "planing," which when combined with large-volume supple-casing tires can make a bike almost feel like it's flying.

If I were more than a part-time blogger and had the clout and resources to run some road tests of my own (the folks at Trek aren't exactly knocking on my door with bikes to review) I would LOVE to do a full out head-to-head between a 2016 Trek 720 and a nice '80s example, like one of these classics from 1984:

The 1984 Trek 720. One of the top touring bikes of its day.
And what good days those were. (Catalog scan from
Right away, one can see differences in the frame design -- the '84 classic was one of the best touring bikes of its day. Reynolds 531 tubing, silver-brazed into clean, fairly traditional-looking lugs. The workmanship was top-rate.

Retrogrouches will notice the level top tube and the extra-long wheelbase. To my eye, the bike looked great then, and still looks great today.

The '84 720 was equipped with some of the best components for touring that were available at the time, including the Huret Duopar rear derailleur that had some pretty serious range (though I'll bet a lot of them were eventually replaced with the more bullet-proof Shimano Deore), a wide-range triple crank, SunTour power-ratchet Bar-Con shift levers, and a Brooks leather saddle. It also had a Blackburn rear rack as standard equipment. Since the 720 had braze-on mounts for just about anything a long-distance tourist could want at the time, it isn't unusual to see these equipped by their owners with a low-rider pannier rack on the front (there's that front-loading concept again), fenders, and three bottle cages (one for the camp-stove fuel bottle).
This lightly modified 720 belongs to Wayne Bingham of Velo Classique.
(photo from the gallery at vintage-trek)
As I've already mentioned, I can't ride the two bikes and give a true head-to-head comparison, but we can look at specs and see how the two bikes stack up. Both of these are based on a 56 cm frame size.

Trek lists the 2016 model 720 as having 43 cm chainstays and a wheelbase of 101 cm. It has the fork-mounted bags already mentioned, and attachment points for a rear rack - though mounting panniers on the back might include some heel interference depending on the size of the bags. The new bike's angles are listed as ST 74°, HT 72°. Why the steep seat-tube? For a more aggressive seating position? The fork offset is listed as 47.5 mm, yielding 62 mm trail. I believe most people would consider that a medium trail figure. The BikeRadar review says the new bike weighs about 22 pounds in the 56 cm size.

The 1984 Trek 720 is a true grand tourer and has a wheelbase that stretches a full 106 cm, with 47 cm chainstays. Lots of room for big tires and fenders - and the long chainstays mean that there is plenty of heel clearance with rear panniers. However, it should be mentioned that the bike was designed around 27" wheels (ISO 630) which were still common at the time. The bike's angles were ST 73°, HT 72.5°. The '84 Trek catalog doesn't specify the trail figure on the bike, but fork offset is listed as 52 mm, which should yield a trail figure somewhat lower than the 2016 version (more rake equals less trail). Many people believe that a bike with less trail will handle a front load nicely. Speaking of forks, the classic rake and tapered 531 fork blades should give a sweet, compliant ride -- better than the modern bike's large carbon fork with its disc brake mount. A disc brake fork has to be much stiffer to handle the braking forces which are concentrated so far from the fork crown. About weight, the Trek catalog says that the fully equipped 720 would weigh under 25 pounds. Heavier than the new bike, to be sure, but how much of a difference those couple extra pounds make is debatable.

Here's another thing to compare: Where were the bikes built? In 1984, almost all Treks were built in Wisconsin, and the workmanship on the 720 -- one of their top models at the time -- was really good for a production bike. The new 720 is almost certainly built in Taiwan, or possibly China. According to a 2014 CNBC article, the only bikes that Trek still makes in the U.S. are their top of the line carbon fiber race models, and those only account for about 1% of their total production.

As far as price goes, the new bike is listed at $1889. The 1984 version retailed for just over $800 in its day, but I do know that they have held their value very well over the years. Occasionally one can find really clean used ones for about $700 complete, but it isn't unusual to find "like new" examples on eBay fetching well over $1000. If somebody bought one of these new in 1984 and kept it in good condition, it would have proven to be a decent investment. I wonder if the same will prove true for the new version?

So, which one would YOU choose?

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Running Bike - Joke or Scam?

Bike-related Kickstarter projects can be such a joke. For every worthwhile startup seeking crowdfunding, there are probably a dozen more that deserve nothing more than outright ridicule. Every tech geek and tinkerer out there thinks they can improve the bicycle, and Kickstarter is addled with worthless gizmos and rehashed versions of old ideas, put forth as something "new and innovative" by people with no knowledge of history.

Here is one Kickstarter project that mercifully got shot in the back of the head before anybody could waste their money on it. The Running Bike was suspended by Kickstarter after about a week. Billed as something all-new -- a bike that simulates the motion of running -- the Running Bike is far worse than a basic rehash of an old idea. The bike pictured is LITERALLY an old Alenax from the 1980s -- a bike that was supposed to be revolutionary, and the company went to bike shows for years to build a market for the thing, but the company eventually folded in the early '90s. The bikes were available for several years at least, in both road and MTB versions, and some are still out there -- to be found at garage sales, on eBay, or Craigslist.

An '80s Alenax. 
About the Alenax, here's what Jobst Brandt had to say about it: "The Alenax is a great example of an outsider inventing a solution to a perceived problem, creating something that is useless for the intended user. Much money was thrown into the design and manufacture of the Alenax." Brandt then goes on to outline all the problems with the design, and deflating all the company's claims, before concluding, "Summing it up, I think the inventor (and investors) did not realize that converting reciprocating motion into circular motion is best done by a rotary crank rather than a reciprocating lever, and above all, they weren't bicyclists."

So some guy goes on Kickstarter with pictures and a video of an old Alenax, trying to sell it as the "Runners Bike," and hawking its unique features with the goal to raise about $45,000 so he can "bring the Runners Bike to market so that everyone who wants to can enjoy the ride."

"From Sprocket Power to Torsion power, The pedals now become Power Strokes making 'riding for runners' the best choice," says the Kickstarter page.

It goes on:

"Except for the a 'Tread Mill' there is no mechanical device that can utilized the same set of muscles action, for people who use running in their sport of choice, except for now. The torsion powered 'Running Bike', whether static (not mobile) or mobile is the only natural expressed excise training / activity tool besides the tread mill and of course actually running or walking that strengthens and activates both the skeletal and muscle structures. Whether your a professional athlete, have a strong exercise discipline or simply want to stay in shape, the Running Bike replicates running's specific action."

The tenuous grasp of English language conventions sends up all kinds of red flags for me. About the only thing missing is a desperate emotional plea from some deposed Nigerian prince.

Here's something that really got me scratching my head:

Yep - as a reward to backers who pledge $250 or more (for a bike you can buy on eBay for $240), they were willing to give out tubes of "Tailored Shave and Skin Cream." Incidentally, I looked up Tailored Shaving, and even though they do have a website and a Twitter account, I was not convinced that it is an actual company. There was a means to contact the company for information, but no apparent way to buy the product, or even information on where one could find it.

So ultimately, was The Running Bike a joke? After watching the video, which makes some fairly vague claims about the bike's benefits for runners, and mentions future plans to integrate more digital performance tracking for the product, I didn't get the impression that the fundraising effort was anything other than earnest. If it was meant as a joke, it didn't seem particularly funny. The shaving cream "reward" was about the only thing that hinted at "joke" to me.

And if if wasn't meant as a joke, was it some kind of pale attempt to scam people? Or was somebody actually thinking they could just put any old crap up on Kickstarter and get money for it?

Since it was suspended last week, I guess we'll never know.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Bike Shorts: The Great American Bike Tour

That's bike FILM shorts, don't you know?

When I was searching for examples of bikes from the '70s that featured early versions of disc brakes, I happened upon this short film, The Great American Bike Tour.

Got to love the patriotic motif.
This 1975 promotional film was produced by J.C. Penney, which apparently hired a bunch of young college-aged men and women to ride Huffy-built J.C. Penney bikes across the country, from New York City to San Francisco. The point was to promote their new disc-brake-equipped bikes, and maybe bike use and bike safety along the way, as well.

Penney's made sure to get several close-up shots of the new disc brakes, including a scene with a sponsor describing the brake's benefits to a fresh-faced rider.
The participants dip their back wheels into the Atlantic at the beginning of their adventure.
Totally befitting the times, the film is full of these '70s video effects, montages, and really cheesy music.
The group stops off at a shopping mall to promote riding safety as the kiddies look on.
One of the things I love is the matching tennis outfits on all the riders. Anybody notice something missing? Yep, not a helmet in sight.  Granted, bicycle helmets were only just beginning to be introduced to the market in '75, but can you imagine a bike safety film (ostensibly) today without helmets?
One might also notice that the riders are carrying virtually no gear with them whatsoever. That's because they are being followed by a married couple in a big-ass R.V. with tents, clothes, and all their supplies for the trip.
Arriving at the Pacific (now in matching track suits) the riders rush to dip their front wheels.
Close the film with a shot of one of the bikes as the riders celebrate their achievement on the beach. Does anybody else think that looks like an awkward bike setup for a cross-country ride?
I love re-living my youth with these '70s era graphics.
I shouldn't be too hard on the bikes, though. I mean, they did make it cross country, even if it was with a lot of sag-wagon assistance. But the snob in me would prefer something much better-suited for an unsupported adventure.

It's sort of interesting to think of all the attention that bicycle riding was getting in these right-after-the-bike-boom days. I'm sure that the gas-crunch helped with that. Keep in mind that this little promotional exercise just barely preceded the huge Bikecentennial tour of 1976. I wonder if any of the participants in this tour went on to do Bikecentennial as well?

If they did, I hope they got better bikes.

If you've got about 15 minutes, you can watch The Great American Bike Tour right here, courtesy of YouTube user Sam Handelman, who was one of the riders.