Classic Bike Show: Seattle 2011.

Via on Mar 23, 2011

Eddy Merckx row
Enjoy these photos from the 2011 Classic Bike Show!

Photos taken by Bob Freeman. Please click here or on the photo above to go to the set. The Classic Bike Show featured some of the finest bikes of yore imaginable. Why would you want a classic bike when today’s modern marvels abound? You could say bikes haven’t changed so much since the idea of pedal power came to mind. Yes, bikes still have two wheels and many of the original components found on 19th century models. You could also say cars still have many of the same components as their forefathers. But, realistically speaking, there are so many superbly crafted retro bikes out there at bargain prices, you should consider at least investigating them before you truck out to your local mega store and score a new one.

Merckx

Thanks to Bob Freeman’s photography, you can pop into the Classic Bike Show and check out 45 photos that reveal some of the finest classics you’ll ever see under one roof. Many bikes are made by pro racers who have formed manufacturing companies. For example, the Merckx bike carries the name of legendary racer Eddie “The Cannibal” Merckx. Merckx won the most Tour De Frances until Lance Armstrong came around. But, what does this mean to you, the bike enthusiast? Well, bikes are subtle creatures. All of their components and geometry add up to significantly different riding experiences. That’s my Merckx in the photo above.

The nice thing about classic bikes is that there are just so many out there in the marketplace that you can pick and choose exactly what you want. Making up your mind about what to get is much harder than finding that perfect ride.

The first step is to get on a bike and ride. Ask yourself what you’re after: a commuter, racer, workhorse, touring bike, or what? Be realistic about your physical self. You may see yourself as a racer wannabe, but actually you’re more interested in seeing the sights on your way to a coffee shop. That’s pretty hard to do with a racing bike profile. Bikes are amazingly versatile and can be morphed dramatically with different components. For example, you can change tires from thin to fat and transform a jaw rattling ride into a cushy coast. You can swap the stem and convert a hunched over, very uncomfortable posture to an upright posture. Handlebars come in many varieties, as do seats, wheels, gear ratios, and every other bolt on piece of the bike. However, a frame is hard to modify.

So, again ask yourself what you’re after. Ride a few and look around. It’s hard to judge a bike on a 5 minute ride. In fact, it sometimes takes days to decide whether the bike is right for you. Hop on your friend’s bikes. Go to a few bike shops and try out their inventory. Ask a bunch of questions. Then, look for your fav. The good news is that there’s an active resale market. So, if you buy a bike, especially a used bike, and you decide you’d rather have another, it’s easy to sell it.

The Classic Bike Show was a great place to see the best of the best. Hope you enjoy the photos. Please give Bob Freeman some thanks by favoriting photos you particularly enjoy. And, let me know what you think. I love bikes and I’ll tell you everything I know if you just ask. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll find someone who does. I promise!

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About Michael Levin

Michael loves sharing what he's learned about organic lifestyles like living off the grid and bicycle commuting. He calls it "lifestyle entrepreneurship". He's into organic gardening, mindful living, and realizes that we only have this life and each other. His favorite quote is "The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he's always doing both." (James A. Michener)

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