Colorful Frames of Mind

Awesome track frames at Cranky's bikes in Santa Barbara, CA.

Awesome track frames at Cranky’s bikes in Santa Barbara, CA

Even though I work in a bike shop, I still love other bike shops. Cranky’s Bikes is no exception. Jim always has some beautiful frames hanging over the counter. His shop is a very colorful place. All the folks that work there are awesome.

I have pretty much given up on fixies. My knees are getting a little too old to handle them. I still love  riding track bikes, tho. In fact, I wish Santa Barbara had a velodrome as I would be all over it ‘ERRYDAY. Cranky’s mainstays are track bikes, cyclocross, road, touring, cruisers and BMX. I hope if you ever get a chance to stop by, click through here and check out the directions to the shop.

Dean and the Celeste Blue Acquisition

Dean and his beautifully-restored 1964 Bianchi road frame.

Going to ride a beautifully-restored 1964 Bianchi road frame.
Shot in Downtown Santa Barbara, CA

So my friend Daniel Quinones has a buddy named Dean who just acquired possible the most beautifully-restored Bianchi road frame I have ever seen. It’s amazing what you can find with just a little perseverance and patience. Dean found this frame on Craigslist. He got it from a guy who repaints and restores frames and was offering the frame for an almost-unheard-of price. “So what?” you say. Big deal, it’s just another celeste blue frame with a Bianchi sticker on it. If any of you out there are saying that silently to yourselves, well, reevaluate your priorities. Either that, or just open your mind a little bit. In case you forgot, it’s that squishy thing behind your eye holes and above your neck.


Quality steel is hard to come by these days. Sure, you can get a bitchin’ steel frameset from Surly and ride around screaming “Surly double-butted 4130 ChroMo – NATCH!” until your vocal cords resemble loose guitar strings. Maybe a few people will listen to you. Nothing against Surly, I love those bikes. I have two of them. But when your rolling on Italian steel (coincidentally, my old nickname from high school…better not to ask), you can just scream “Andiamo!” and have something worth talking about in a conversation. This bike comes from the same legendary line that produced the Paris-Roubaix-winning bike for Fausto Coppi in 1950. They are the oldest bicycle company in the world producing 45,000 frames a year by 1900. That’s the turn of the last century…Let that marinate in your brain case next time you are riding dirty on your Taiwanese whip. Dean plans to throw an internally-geared drivetrain on this bad boy and ride the F out of it. We’re going to keep tabs on Dean and his bike as the project progresses. So don’t touch that dial. Hey, check some more images of his frame below!

– Italian Steel


Sarah and her 1987 Bianchi road bike.

Rides a 1987 Bianchi road bike.
Shot on Ortega Street in Santa Barbara, CA.
Shopping for rompers. (Yeah, you read it right)

Bicycling is exercise. “Exercise creates endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.” I don’t often paraphrase Elle Woods, but she had a point: people who exercise are usually happier than your average couch potato. Sometimes we get super growly people coming into the shop. But most of them are either just in a hurry or they just witnessed a homeless guy take a dump in the planter just outside. Most of the people that are on their bikes consistently who come in for service or whatever are generally happy. Sarah is no exception. She blew me away with her confidence and awesome attitude. She was riding a very well-preserved and cared-for Bianchi from when I was like a junior in high school. She was emitting the type of awesomeness that makes you think she would mash this thing down Anacapa at top speed during rush hour. What else do I have to say? She’s legit. So’s the bike.

Usually you only see bikes like this in images on the Google Image Search…or eBay (for lots of cabbage)…or on some random forum somewhere. This bike certainly wasn’t top of the line back in ’87, but it sure was representative of its time. These bikes were heavy, durable and faster than your average mountain bike. Most of my peers opted for a Specialized Stumpjumper or a Cannondale SM. But I was in love with thin steel tubes, down tube shifters and drop bars.

I am going to sound old now. Prepare yourself.

<rant> I know that I am in the business of selling new bikes. But sometimes it surprises me how all these young kids end up with these incredible steel bikes. Most of them, Sarah included, have no idea they are riding something that induces a sense of nostalgia in others. These machines, even the lower end ones that weren’t made from Tange/Reynolds/Columbus steel were extremely liberating. If they could only get on whatever P2P file sharing mess they are entertaining themselves with and download Breaking Away, they would know what I was talking about. Sometimes I just want to grab these kids by the pancreas and shake them and scream: “Take care of this bike!”</rant>

Honestly, you never know who may have rode it before you. That is all.