My attitude towards the machinery of cycling has changed pretty significantly this year. First, the North American Handmade Bike Show renewed my appreciation for the pure form of the bike and for the craftsmanship that goes into a handmade frame. Second, my crash at Sea Otter taught me how easily a high-tech, carbon fiber wonderbike can be destroyed. These two lessons recently led me to send my dear old Waterford back to the factory to be repaired and repainted.
The Waterford is by far my most treasured bike. The tube shapes, lengths, and angles are all custom. I bought it through Spring City Cycle back in 2000 – the year Carl Zach, Mark Hughes, Scott Latell, Tom Driscoll, and I formed the Spring City Velo cycling club. That was a significant year in many ways. It was a breakthrough season for me as a cyclist, but it also included the tragic accident that claimed Carl’s life.
Back to the bike. When I built it up, I gave it a Salsa Shaft seatpost – the long, mountain bike version. I never took the time to cut it down to a suitable length, and apparently I didn’t remove and regrease it with sufficient regularity. As a result, it ended up getting well and truly frozen inside the frame. Two bike shops failed to remove it, and in the process, rendered the frame unrideable.
The frame (and a matching steel fork I never used) remained in mothballs for years. I really don’t know what pushed me over the edge, but I finally got sick of seeing my favorite bike lying naked and useless on my basement floor. I called Dave Hellekson at Waterford, and he invited me to send it in for a quote.
As I expcted, the seat tube and seat lug needed to be replaced. That necessitated a repaint as well. Fortunately, the quote was lower than I expected, so I pulled the trigger. The hardest part was deciding whether to have it painted in the original scheme (burgundy with cream panels and gold/black decals) or something different. I ended up going for a new/old look, with a “pearl in black” basecoat, white outline decals, white detailing around the lugs, and white arrows on the top tube and fork.
In keeping with the retro theme, I chose a Brooks saddle and a Nitto bar and stem. Other components include a SRAM Rival drivetrain, some off-brand faux-carbon brake calipers I bought for $15, SUNringlé Accelerator X2.0 wheels, and Conti GP 4-Season tires.
So here it is, in all its renewed glory: