I like to believe it was fate that returned my first real road bike to me two summers ago. I’m talking about a 1987 Miele Delta, beautiful and unassuming with its Ishiwata 022 tubing, clean lugged joints, utilitarian but bomb-proof Suntour componentry, and not to mention, Campy compatible back in the day.
The Miele was bought from Cicli Forza on Denman and Davie, before the planting of northwest rainforest adaptable palm trees, at a time when I had tired of my current touring steed and wanted a fast bike for real workouts. She was my companion on burns out and around UBC as I tried to hop on the wheels of local cycling gods like Alex Stieda and Steve McMurdo. She was also the bike I chose for runs up to Whistler with friends looking for a challenge before an all-night party at someone’s club cabin. Those were the days of poor road conditions, virtually no shoulder, narrow lanes with sometimes heavy traffic, and road washouts like M Creek on a regular basis. Needless to say, GranFondo mass rides weren’t even a figment of anyone’s imagination at the time.
The Miele followed me, racked to the roof of my old BMW 2002 with its touring stable mate and a sorely under-used windsurf board, on three round trips to Ryerson Polytechnic Institute in Toronto during the late ’80s and early ’90s. She fell into a sort of coma after I graduated in ’92, and collected dust in storage for the next six years as I roamed the globe for work, usually accompanied by my touring bike.
I finally succumbed to the pressure of space, or more specifically, lack of it, in 1999. The Miele was sold to a work colleague for a song, and for the next eleven years I regretted the decision and lamented it, as my partner Andrea and some very patient friends can surely attest. It’s not that the Miele was that great a bike really. It was middle-high end at the time – nothing really flash. But, she was beautiful to ride, quick in the corners, a decent climber, and she was the first.
So, it was fate when I ran into Ted not once, but twice two summers ago. He volunteered that he still had my old road bike, almost as if he saw the question in a thought balloon rising from my caricature-like face. His bad back now prevented him from riding it. So, would he sell it back to me? Absolutely, and at the price he paid for it. Sold!
Well, two years later and after a sanding, painting, new original decals, an upgrade to some newer, but for the most part period accurate components, here she is – complete and ready for the next stage in our continuing relationship around town, up Cypress, up Seymour, and hopefully, up to Whistler.
Finally, to all you aficionados of vintage steel bikes, who painstakingly and lovingly keep these beautiful machines on the road and ridden regularly, chapeau!