The Olmo

Many cyclists own two bikes; a summer bike and a winter bike. The summer bike is the best bike or the race bike. Where the money is spent and where the love and attention goes. It is kept in tip top condition and polished regularly for the delectation of its owner and his club mates or friends.  The winter bike has as little money spent on it as possible and is often neglected. It's a workhorse whose job is to soak up the big winter miles in rain, sleet, salt and snow. To spare the summer bike when the road conditions are damaging.

The summer bike is stripped back to be as light and lean as possible. The winter bike has extra bits fitted - mudguards, mudflaps, frame pump, lights, wider tyres and possibly a pannier rack with a pannier or saddlebag. To most people, this makes the winter bike look bloated and ugly by comparison. But to some, a well maintained winter bike that has been put together by someone who knows their winter bike onions has its own beauty; a form closely matched to its rugged function.

My winter bike, a steel framed Olmo, had that kind of beauty. It was given to me by Tony not long after we first met. It's been my winter bike, my pub bike and, with a pannier rack and Carradice bag fitted for carrying clobber, my work bike that's taken me to the local factories I now work with. It's been a work-horse, featured in blog articles and in Q&A's and has even been exhibited at a gallery.

I use the past tense because earlier today, the frame broke. I'd had to gently ride the Olmo 15 miles back home, riding carefully over pot-holes and bumps hoping it would get there, which it did. It's outside my backdoor as I write this. I'm sentimental and I'm sad that the Olmo is broken. But I will take the components off and put them onto another frame to make a new winter bike and that way part of the Olmo will keep going with me.

RIP Olmo.

Comments on this post (1)

  • Jul 31, 2013

    Steel is real, melt it down and start again.

    Or just get a Moss bike, right up your street !

    — Chris

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