In 1984, the bike I had been racing on was stolen. I had built the frame for that bike in the shop of Gary Hale. I was back in school and didn’t have the time to build another myself, so I had Gary make me a frame.
The equipment that went on it originally was a Franco-Italian groupo that was extremely cost-effective at the time, and I got a good price on it at the bike shop I was working at. The crank, brakes, and derailleurs were made by Galli, a company that I was told contracted for Campagnolo, so the quality should have been as good, but for less money. These parts looked very similar to the Campi equivalents except for the release mechanism on the brakes. Hubs, 7-speed freewheel, and pedals were Maillard, headset was the Stronglight roller bearing unit. I put TTT stem and Cinelli bars on it (this was a force-fit and I found out later that it was a very bad idea, though I never suffered any consequences). The Ambrosio Durex rims were possibly the most difficult to mount and dismount tires on that I ever encountered in my 10 years in bike shops, but they held up for a long time. The only Japanese part was the Suntour Superbe seat post.
My return to school also left too little time to race, so this bike never saw the mileage or hard use of a racing campaign. It did, however, get used for sport riding and centuries, some years more than others.
The last ten years or so the bike has evolved with my changing needs. I considered replacing the frame, since it is really too steep (74 degrees), too short, and the bottom bracket is too high to be perfect for my non-competitive purposes. But it has little resale value and lots of emotional attachment, it rides well, and it is not too tight to put fenders and 28 mm tires on it.
I have needed lower gearing with age, changes in topography, and aortic valve stenosis. I tried a “compact” approach with a TA crank I had in the parts bin, but the gear that I wanted always seemed to be on the other chainring, and it really did not go low enough for me. I finally went for a triple. The original Galli derailleurs were not up to that (and the rear was pretty worn), so a Joe’s rear derailleur and a Suntour Mountech front replaced them. Later, I replaced the stem and handlebars with some chosen to give me a higher, less aggressive position, which made more difference in comfort than I expected. The bike was updated into the 1990’s with some SPD pedals.
It rains in Knoxville, so fenders provide comfort and one fewer excuse not to ride. I had some clearance issues with the first ones I tried because they were too narrow. So I tried these Velo Orange anodized fenders. They have plenty of clearance on my frame, but the brushed finish is a grease magnet. I also had a lot of trouble getting a secure mount with their rear brake bridge.
I finally had the bike set up pretty much the way I wanted it for the foreseeable future. But I wanted to add a front rack for a rando-style bag and the frame did not have front eyelets to mount the front fenders. The frame needed another water bottle mount on the seat tube (the original plan was to mount the pump on the seat tube, so both water bottle mounts went on the down tube, but the upper one interferes with shifting) and mounting the rear fender was less than perfect. In addition, the original chartreuse imron paint was looking pretty shabby, and I was really sick of the color.
So I got out the torch, added front rack mounts, eyelets for the front fenders, water bottle mounts, and a mount for the rear fender under the brake bridge. Paint was by Eric, co-owner of Tennessee Valley Bicycles (I should note that he does this only with special arrangements, but I wanted to give him credit). Once they are really clean, the anodized fenders are a good surface for paint. I also took this opportunity to add the Schmidt dynohub and the IQ Cyo R headlight.