Sunday, October 18, 2009

Binshou -- bike number four

When I tell the story of my fourth bike, it sounds like the start of a joke:

This man is wheeling a bicycle down the sidewalk in Davis...

Well, he was. And it was a sweet-looking Nishiki mixte. It was dirty and cobwebbed, but it looked great. I've been into mixtes since my Mercier purchase in July and I was eager for a closer look. As the man was preparing to lift the bike into the bed of his pickup, I asked for a quick peek first.

Sure, he said. Then, pointing to the bike shop behind us, he muttered that the "guy in there wouldn't buy it back" from him. Apparently, the bike was his wife's, hadn't been ridden in a couple of decades and he had tried to return it to the shop where he bought it... thirty years earlier.

His real interest lay in clearing garage space, not in profit, he said. Testing this, I offered a pittance to relieve him of the need to put the bike back in his truck. He couldn't accept quickly enough.

That evening, I cleaned the bike, thinking it was the first of many steps needed to make it ready to ride. In fact, that -- plus air in the like-new tires -- was pretty much it. The Suntour shifters and derailleurs shift beautifully, and the bike looks and rides as though it were brand new.

It's a tad small for me, but it is so quick and so nimble that it's staying, at least for now. Although I'm not a fan of drop bars, riding this bike has enlightened me to the advantages of a more aggressive riding position. The one tiny hill on my usual ride is no longer an issue of any kind, whereas it still can be a challenge on an upright bike. Also, it's just plain fast. Hence the name. "Binshou," or "nimble."


  1. That is a hilarious story!

    There are many 30 year old mixtes with drop bars to be found in basically "new old stock" conditions in people's garages. Women would buy them, then discover that they could not ride them.

    Contrary to what many people today seem to think, mixtes were never designed to be "cruiser" style bikes or even upright bikes at all. They were designed as road bikes, with usually an aggressive geometry.

  2. Nifty Mixty and such a deal! Eduard looking for just such a deal.