Going Retro

People who glance at my blog may have noticed that I’ve gone full on retro with my bikes. The oldest bike I own is from 2004, and that’s been dismantled for storage because I consider it too modern. 😛

To be honest, I’m a bit of a retro nut generally.. I’d much rather have a car from the 70s than my Honda Jazz (the wife’s not averse to this plan – we just can’t afford it). I have a small collection of VFD (vacuum fluorescent display) calculators from the late 70s/early 80s. I’ve still got an old Sinclair ZX Spectrum and a Commodore 64 in the loft. My main buying criteria for my phone was how well it’d adapt to playing emulated 80s computer games (slide out keyboard – pretty good!). My music taste is currently EBM, which is a genre that never really progressed since the 80s..

Other than just being old and funky, retro stuff also carries vague memories of the year of their construction. A 2010 bike is just a bike. A 1981 bike is a bike which carries 1981 with it!

So, today I’ve been looking up exactly what was going on in film and music when my bikes were constructed. I’m not going to list everything – I’m just going to list what’s interesting to me, because it’s my blog and I can do what I like! 🙂

1977 (Carlton Cobra)
I was 3 years old in 1977, so you might be able to forgive me for not remembering this year from my own memory. Presumably some of it must’ve filtered into my brain, affecting my tastes in later life.

Punk and disco were just starting to become popular in 77. I’ve never been a huge fan of punk, so I’ve chosen I Feel Love by Donna Summer, which was released that year. Bob Marley also released Exodus, and Kraftwerk released Trans-Europe Express.

1977 was the year of Star Wars, and I don’t think you can beat that. 🙂

1981 (Raleigh Twenty)
I was 7 in 1981. I had a vague taste in music, but not very well developed. My mum liked the new romantic stuff, however, and it definitely filtered in.  I think I was probably riding a Raleigh Striker at this point!

The New Romantic stuff was just starting to take off in 1981, with Vienna and Fade to Grey both being released that year. Depeche Mode released their first album, Speak & Spell (the only one with Vince Clarke), and Kraftwerk released one of the best albums of all time; Computer World! This was also the year that DAF released Der Musollini.

A really good year for films! Raiders of the Lost Ark, Superman II, Escape from New York, Evil Dead, Mad Max 2..

1988 (Reflex ALX89)
I was 14 in 1988, and my musical taste was just starting to form properly, thanks to Cold Cut and Bomb the Bass. I remember one of my friends from school being heavily into hip hop, taking pride in owning lots of albums that were imported or having the ‘Parental Advisory’ stickers on them.

I wasn’t much into hip hop at this point, preferring the slightly more genteel sounds of Bomb the Bass, Stakker, and MARRS/Cold Cut. A super-special mention has to go to The Timelords (aka The KLF), who ripped off Cold Cut to make Doctorin’ The Tardis. This was also the year that the Pixies released Surfer Rosa, which is a phenomenal album.  Despite all that, I’m going to stick up a video of Eighty Eight by Public Relation, which was released that year, but has only recently come to my attention.  It is awesome.


1995 (Saracen Tufftrax)
Poor old Tufftrax.. it’s not been liking all the wet weather, and has been leaking orange water from the dropouts and headset. I really need to do something about that. Anyway, I was 21 in 1995, and I’d just started university. It was a year of heavy drinking and heavy partying, so I don’t really remember much about it. 😛 I do remember lots of nights of watching Chill Out Zone on MTV when I came home.

I was heavily into IDM at this point, and I was buying albums and singles by the shedload. Autechre, Aphex Twin, Seefeel, Black Dog, Spooky, Scanner, Panasonic.. the list goes on and on! I reckon the best album was Vakio by Panasonic.

Some good ones this year.. Twelve Monkeys, Strange Days, The City of Lost Children, and.. er.. Judge Dredd! If you try to blot out the main characters, and concentrate on the scenery, it’s a pretty good film!


All change, again!

The Peugeot’s sold.  The Kona’s sold.  The Rusthopper’s been given away.  The bike I was going to bid on was ended early (bah!).

Things have changed again!

Hopefully, this is the last change.  After the silliness of a few weeks ago, I realised that I needed to be more focussed than just buying every bargain-tastic, vaguely decent bike I see on ebay, or else things would always be changing, and my wife would leave me!

I decided to sell the Kona, and wait for a mid-nineties Saracen Protrax or Tufftrax to turn up.  I didn’t have to wait long!  The following week, a 1995 Saracen Tufftrax appeared on ebay, located in Chester.  I was worried that it’d get ended early, so I did what I’ve always hated..  I made an offer outside of the bidding system.  😮

The seller accepted my offer, and after a bit of fannying about, the bike was mine!  😀  I couldn’t pick it up until the following weekend, so I spent the week selling the junk that I’d acquired on ebay.  Then, on the Wednesday, something else popped up on ebay…

Remember I mentioned a bike that I wanted to bid on? It was an old Carrera elevated chainstay bike, built by Saracen.  Apparently Halfords asked them to build some e-stay frames for them, when e-stays were being seen as the next big thing.  I’ve always been intrigued by e-stays, and wanted one for myself.  Well, the thing that was on ebay was a 1992 Saracen Kili Racer; a proper Saracen e-stay.  And it was cheap, and on a buy-it-now!  After a few minutes of hesitation (mostly wondering how I was going to break it to the wife), it was mine!  😀

Both bikes have now been collected, so here they are:

1992 Saracen Kili Racer
Saracen Kili Racer

This bike was in pretty rough condition when I picked it up. It was covered in grime and filth, it’s seatpost was stuck, one side of it was covered in scratches, and it just didn’t look very well looked after.  It needs almost everything doing to it, but that’s half the fun.  This one is going to be quite a project!

1995 Saracen Tufftrax
1995 Saracen Tufftrax

This bike, however, was almost immaculate!  It was covered in stickers at first, which I pulled off as soon as I got home.  One of them took the Tange sticker with it, but I’m not too bothered by that.  It needs new wheels, new chainrings, and new pedals, but that’s about it.  I’ll be riding it to work tomorrow!  😀

No more new bikes now – honest!