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In Praise of the OTS

True blue OTS

A tale of two bikes in one day.  Laying aside that I was dallying around the house waiting for the bike shop to call with the good news that the recently acquired recumbent was ready to pick up, when I should have been at the office picking up some loose ends and working on a paper that is due shortly, I’ll simply say that there is less room in the garage because I was gifted a ROTS.

Let me define a couple of terms.  ROTS is short for Rusty Old Ten Speed.  Specifically it is a Concord Pacer S/S, which is the result of the bike boom of the 1970’s that didn’t completely smolder out until the early nineties, when it became more cost prohibitive to produce these “cheap” steel frame bikes.  When I say “cheap” I’m talking for the period when they were produced.  If produced today, they would be solidly mid-level bikes.  One poster on a forum dedicated to OTS has claimed that after Armageddon, the only things still around will be cockroaches and these old ten speeds.

After a few minor adjustments and an appointment with the tire pump, it was ready to roll. And yes, I did swap out the stock brakes and safety levers with a pair of cheap mountain bike shorties.  The cables on the originals were frayed.  The hardware has been laid aside in case I decide to keep it original, which is a long shot.  The shorties are temporary though.  Even though it needs to be taken to the shop for a tune up, new cables, wheel truing and perhaps repacked bearings, it still blows my Diamondback mountain bike off the road.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my MTB, and it will remain in my ride rotation, but the OTS?  This little booger can scoot.  It has the original Sungear suicide shifters, too.  They don’t lock in, you adjust them to your liking., which means you can throw the chain if you damn well please or you just aren’t careful.  I’m thinking of riding this in the Hilly Hundred.  Yes in fact I am thinking of riding in the Hilly Hundred since you asked.  I’m not planning on racing in it, just finishing.

Mark the middle of October on your calendar and meet me there.

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