Tuesday, December 28, 2010

She Rides a Vintage OLMO: Don't Hate Her Because Her Bike is Beautiful . . .

Rosie admiring the newest member of the family.
When my sister Valerie exchanged vows in October with her husband George, I knew that he liked biking and their first date (it was a date, George) was a bike date.  Score one for George!  What I did not know was the extent of George's utter bikey wonkiness!  How wonky is George's bike obsession, you ask?  He rebuilt  and refurbished a vintage Italian OLMO for my sister for Christmas, that's how wonky.  Score two!!

George, bike and Rosie.
It all began with this tattered but still elegant frame he found at Lucky Bike in Greenville, SC (2 Sydney St, 864.271.1214).  Bikes are lucky at Lucky Bike because wonky people like George find discarded old jewels and lovingly restore them to their former glory (and them some).  Here is a "before" shot of the OLMO.

I'll let George tell the rest:

OLMA after
"Although I did a lot of research on the web, I was unable to find the model of the bike or a photo of a vintage one like it, even with the serial number 325D. All I could find were their road bikes,but their site didn’t have any bike history.  Since my Italian is nonexistent, I didn’t  e-mail OLMO to see if they could help date it. The bike still had, on the other hand, some of the vintage parts that helped me date the bike such as Wienmann brakes, Gnutti bottom bracket, Philippe stem and a Magistroni crank.

Moustache handlebars
"The original handlebars were shaped like the moustache handlebars but without the drop. Looking at them from above they are the same except flat looking from the front. I tried to clean them up but they just were too rusty. Even though the new moustache bars I selected for the rebuild were developed in the 90’s, I still think they look classic.

Woody fenders!
"The original fenders were plastic and completely destroyed.  I wanted to replace them with something cool. One day I was looking for a wooden bottle cage for my bike and found Woody’s Fenders, www.woodysfenders.com, there was my answer to replacing the old ones.

Lovely Brooks saddle
"The design wasn’t hard at all because Valerie and I really have the same type of vision. We had seen a new bike in Savannah, Georgia, a single speed in a similar color.  However, Valerie she would not be happy with a store bought bike since I had built my own bike. With the exact color already determined, I knew that a Brooks saddle would be the obvious choice. The only heartache was having the wheels built all white with just the nipples red at the end of the spokes. In my mind I knew the rims had to be white and it needed that little splash of color.  But was the color right?

George's Raleigh Technium, rebuilt as a fixed gear.
"Now, about my bike: a Raleigh Technium with 26” tires, which I've had since 1987 . All that was left prior to rebuilding it was the frame, so I decided to become part of the fixed gear cult. The wheels were the bling of the bike, Velocity Deep V’s, the burl image, and the Brooks saddle, of course.

"We plan on riding our bikes down on the Swamp Rabbit Trail in Greenville and around town. I ride to the grocery store when weather is good. Riding a fixed gear is so different and loads of fun! Also anytime we head to a ride that will be flat, like the beach or places like Savannah, we will take the bikes."

Valerie is gushing about her new stylish, vintage bike and can't wait for the weather and the roads to clear out enough for her to take her bike out for a ride.  She admitted she is looking forward to the looks of envy that will no doubt follow her down the bike trail.  I have no doubt she will get them.


Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

Tell George he did an outstanding job on the restoration. What a beautiful bike. Well done! Great post. I liked it.

G.E. said...

I concur with Sinbad... what a gorgeous bike. I always enjoy seeing vintage bikes being restored and used as transportation, rather than being displayed somewhere and never used. I hope she gets lots of great use!

PaddyAnne said...

What a beautiful result! The wooden fenders are a perfect addition. Thanks for sharing!

Deborah said...

Gasp, swoon, covet!

eggman said...

I just found a similar bike in Chino, California. All original parts, including Campagnolo 4 speed drivetrain and dual generator driven headlights. Rear fender is drilled for skirt guard. Original paint and chrome, all decals and badges are perfect. Has a metal license plate from Arvada, Colorado dated 1957. The only difference I can spot with your bike is the pump boss on this one is on the back of the seat tube instead of on the down tube. Paid $600 as a birthday present for my wife.