Cullen and his Basso Ascot steel road bike.

Rides a 1986 Basso Ascot steel road bicycle.
Shot on State Street in Downtown Santa Barbara, CA.
Getting air.

For bicycles and bicycle culture, Santa Barbara is an interesting place. There is a dichotomy of cyclists here when it comes to vintage bikes. I’m sure that this situation exists amongst riders all over the world. The split is this: there are those who ride vintage bicycles knowing exactly what they are, their provenance, etc.; and there are those who just happen upon a really nice specimen, not knowing what it is or anything else about it. Most of the people in this berg are of the former. A lot of them buy these classic Columbus-tubed beauties for a song or in Cullen’s case, get one for free from a friend.

I’m not saying that these two factions, the all-knowing euro-bike aficionados and the people who fall ass-backwards into greatness are fighting each other. Far from it. Being a steel bicycle snob myself, I usually brush aside my criticisms of the random paint scratch and mismatched brake calipers to show the owner how excited they should be that they own such a fine piece of cycledom. The befuddled cyclist finds out what a cool ride they have all the while I am happily snapping away with my Fuji. And seriously, Mavic components? That’s a new one on me (don’t try to adjust the tracking on your VCR when you view the video). I feel educated. See gallery below for more pics.


4 thoughts on “Cullen

  1. The Mavic I can live with, it has pedigree. Actually since this came out of the factory sporting full Dura-Ace I wouldn’t see it as heresy to put components on it which didn’t start with the letter ‘C’. I’d go full Santé myself, purely on aesthetics.

    But for the love of baby Jesus Cullen remove that godawful tape and torch it, just to be absolutely sure it never comes back.

  2. Mavic? Really? I guess you learn something new every day. Now I have to research that as my curiosity won’t let me rest. Thanks for your thoughts!

  3. Interesting words, Tyson on the “split.” I constantly experience, and think about, this divide as well. I do all types of riding, on all sorts of bikes, and for various reasons. This brings me in touch with all sorts of other people on bikes. Guys on classic steel who are deeply versed, folks on classic steel who don’t realize their front wheel is on backwards. I guess I’m a little of both. I love cycling history and the evolution of technology and components, but I also ride a lowly commuter. The high end rarely meets the low end, at least from my experience. I can also cringe at both – the person who is riding the modern bike who only wants to tell you how much everything cost them, or the person who is riding the classic bike and drops it on the ground, DS side down. Oh wow.

    Never ridden in CA but I’ve got a brother out there. Will have to visit him and get a bike to ride when I’m there. He only uses a bike to get his board to the beach.

    As a cycling advocate, the only frustration with the split is how some of these folks perceive themselves at set against other folks, who are still on bikes. Roadies hate fixsters, fixsters think anyone with gears is a jerk, racers would never, ever think of using a bike for transportation. Or, fun!

    It would be great if all of these factions could bond together and see that our best shot at better cycling infrastructure and acceptance in the U.S. is through a unified pedal movement.

    Anyway, your words on the “split” sparked me, since I’m constantly feeling as if I’m half in one world, half in another. I’m a do-it-aller with a bike, but I tend to always feel a bit of tension from other folks I might bond with via bikes. I’m either too into bikes, or I’m not enough into bikes (when I’m commuting in dork-viz).

    Have fun out there in CA!


    Oh yeah, ps. You do know Mavic pioneered the electronic drivetrain, right?

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