Tuesday, May 12, 2009

To spray or not to spray

There's a huge debate going on in the Retrobike world. Not a very passionate debate, really, but definitely an active debate. Sort of an undercurrent debate. A subconscious debate. Like a plate tectonics kind of thing, drifting around below the surface. The issue is, if you've got a vintage frame, and it's been through the proverbial ringer, do you strip it and send it on out for a respray?
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Some folks feel that vintage bikes need to be preserved in or returned to some sort of showroom condition and then coddled and polished with a cotton diaper like a fine Italian sports car. Hell, some vintage bikes cost as much as Italian sports cars, so I see the logic! On the other hand some folks feel like, especially in the case of bikes which share a long history with their owners, that the scratches and chips of wear are a nice road map reminder of the excitement that a bike and rider share. Opinions vary here, and I'm not out to crusade for one side or the other, but I think for some bikes, especially bikes which symbolize sort of a rough house demeanor, and not a glitzy NORBA racer image, that paint should really be considered the protective layer only, and the chips and dings of use are like wrinkle lines on the face of a wise old man. The wear visible in the aged human face is a reflection of witnessing the start and close of many days. Why strip that away? Would Hemingway get a face lift?

My white EWR falls into the rough house category. It isn't light, no NORBA racer worth his salt would want to hang a number plate on the old bulletproof heavy pig, but the thing is a ball to ride, and its peppered with scratches, touch up paint, and even a few dents. I dig it, and I am doing everything I can to not respray my white EWR. Besides, I don't want to lose this little guy...
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Look at those character lines! And that bad-a$$ comb-over! Yeah!
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Ready for action! I dream of the day that I've achieved station in life where I feel confident enough in my own skin that I can strut with a side-by-side in my boxers. Papa almost begs you to try to repaint a fine, battle-worn machine like the EWR...
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One step toward that spray both and it's a roundhouse to oblivion for you, pal! Truth be told, when alone in the house, I DO strike this pose in my boxers...
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So, on bikes which symbolize speed and efficiency, like a steel Serotta or Fat or IF or what have you, then I'd spray it. But if you have a bike that's built for pure business, then the 'wrinkles' tell others, and remind you, what bikes are really for... As I'm sure Hemingway would have mused, if given the topic... "Never shellac the deck of the Pilar after the catch is on ice, and the pictures of the battle are on the wall, because you'll just have to do it all over again, and at some point people will think you're too old to do that crap anymore and you'll be left to stand in front of a mirror in your boxers and lace-ups." Or something to that effect, obviously his sentences would be much shorter.

4 comments:

Steve said...

Hemingway: "Do not spray. It's not good."

Of course, he came to a bad end, so a better role model might be in order.

Steve said...

Heminway: "And now that I have not sprayed, I think I will have a drink."

Utahdog! said...

And her breasts were ripe. And the hoppers were green. The breasts and the hoppers were good. The sun shined brightly.

"Shall we kiss", I asked.

"What rot", she replied. "Have some wine."

"Good, then", I said.

"You should really paint that horrid thing, dear", she scoffed.

"hmm."

"Oh, don't pout, dear."

"Yes."

"When do the bull fights begin? In Pamplona?" she asked.

Steve said...

You should do a Hemingway parody blog. You're onto something here. :)