That flood of memories as you hold a vintage bike part

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Men staring at an Oleos bicycle at the Stalen Ros vintage market.

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – Staring at the memory.

Stalen Ros is a geek fest. Middle-aged men in their ancient, worn, pure wool cycling jackets, with their favourite teams or components stitched into the fabric. They will spend hours staring at bikes, handlebars, seats, the smallest components and be spurred to remember another day on the bike, a ride, a race, a year, a friend. I can go to Stalen Ros and buy nothing,  yet come home with floods of memories of my era, my decade on the bike as a racer, when five speeds were the pinnacle cassette, riders debated large and small flange hubs and the world was dominated by only two manufacturers, the classic Campagnolo and the upstart Shimano.

I can pick up a derailleur and remember buying the same, forty years ago, and being thrilled at the sophistication and beauty of the design. In my day, I was buying cutting edge technology, nobody had better, not even the professional riders. Now it is a vintage relic, stared at in disbelief by the young who laugh at the idea cyclists ever covered substantial distances with such dated goods. And I have a small smile thinking, in a couple of decades, someone will be smiling at their elite technology.

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