Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A crazy little thing called lug

Steer tube
Originally uploaded by iTripped
For a while now I have been looking for a new (to me) bike. I already have a mountain bike but found that I was missing the days when I rode a nice road bike, in my case an older Cannondale. So for the past month or so I have been scouring craigslist in search of a suitable bike. Now people on that site (and other sites too) can sometimes flog a lot of crap. There are loads of overpriced bikes and the real gems tend to go quickly. I have also noticed that what I want in a bike has changed, or at least has evolved.

Specifically, I fell in love with lugs.

Lugs, for those who don't know, are the corner pieces that hold the metal tubes in a bike frame together. Most modern bikes no longer use them because welding technology has advanced to a point where they aren't needed. But in losing lugs, road bikes also lost one of the parts that made them more than just a bike. Frame builders used to put personal touches into the lugs, making them ornate and adding character to the bike. Some could be considered to be more like art than anything else. The more I searched online the more fascinated with these beautiful bikes I became. Which brings me back to craigslist. Since virtually no bike maker still uses lugs (they add weight to a notoriously weight conscious product) I am resigned to find what I want as a used product. So long as I can find what I am looking for, this is okay. I would love to ride a bike that has a history that begins before me. I want to be able to tell that story. It is part of what would make such a thing special to me, especially since I probably cannot afford to hire some retired bike builder to make me a new one. (Although I haven't ruled that out completely either.)

In the end it boils down to getting something that not only can be used to commute to the office, but something I will enjoy riding. Otherwise, what is the point? I might as well walk.

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