A Nurse with a Gun

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Red Columbia

Sometimes things don't go as planned. When I first discovered a vintage Columbia bicycle frame with an integral rear rack, my plan was to construct a weathered utility bike. Click to enlargeThe frame, however, had been sanded down and was almost devoid of paint. While chips and scratches do not worry me, I wanted the bike to look like it had lived a working life. A sanded off paint job has no patina of time.

One of my first tasks was to paint the ride. I found a deal on some red wall knobby tires, so I decided to match the color. When my wife saw the frame painted fire engine red, I was forbidden from giving the bike a ride in the back of a pick-up truck down a bumpy road with logging chains and dog chains wrapped around it. The bike would not wear battle scars.

The spousal commandment not to give the bike a suitable patina kind of killed my enthusiasm for the build. Never the less, I installed a Monark springer fork and a "sweetheart" chainwheel. An old lump of a black seat and apehanger handlebars followed along with a few small details. A silver dollar front wheel dangler, a brass coaster brake strap and acorn nut on the seat clincher bolt. Sparkly red dice valve caps.
Click to enlarge
I am still looking for an old Columbia kickstand. It uses a design different from any other vintage bike. I've seen.

I rode the red Columbia on her maiden voyage today. She rode well. Solid. Heavy. The seating posture was definitely upright. The tall apes flexed a bit over the bumps absorbed by the front forks. The frame is cool, a straight bar rear rack combination.

I still want the bike to be weathered. In fact, I want it to bear the evidence of hard use even more now. After it's maiden voyage, I leaned it up against my work bench in the garage. Who knows, maybe a chain or two may fall on it by accident.........

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Blogger ewillyp said...

did you ever get this bike properly identified? I just picked one up in los angeles, looked up some Columbia info and didn't find this particular frame. Just curious. Sweet ride, I'm planning on frankensteining my old mtb parts onto mine as a school commuter.

3:17 PM  

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