Without doubt, if there’s anything that I am…its a project guy. I think we have some old family films of me banging nails in Dad’s workshop when I was about three. It’s never ended for a second. I think its actually getting worse too.
The first thing I ever ‘hot-rodded’ was my first CCM single speed. At eight years old, I took a perfectly good factory paint and painted it a gold sparkle, added dropped bars, sidepull brakes, took off the fenders, chainguard and put a bunch of electrical tape on the bars. I also blew the tyres off the rims a couple of times from putting too much air in them……the need for speed. Whatever I got into, I would muck with it.
I got into the slotcar craze off the late Sixties and thought I’d rewind the motor with less windings on the armature so as to make it spin faster. Did the full epoxy coating and balanced it but when I took it to the big pro type track in Vancouver, it did one quick lap and then sort of sputtered down the front straight and it just smoked up. ….poof! Being such an introverted kid I felt like a complete muppet and scurried to the bus stop to get home and hide.
To me, life has been about getting into things and trying to improve them. When I think about it, it holds true for all I’ve been around. For the most part, its worked pretty well too. The only sketchy area would be that of women. Somehow I’ve ended up with a bucket o’ project girls over the years and that never worked out. As soon as I adopted John Lennon’s words of “I can’t cure you, you cure you”, things improved rapidly. I’m lucky enough to have one fabulous gal now.
As regular readers here will know, the racing bicycle has occupied more of my years than most other stuff and likely, it’ll never subside. It remains the best of all feelings. While I’ve maintained that I live by the four B’s of life, “Boats, beer, bikes and broads”, the automobile has also devoured a lot of time and dough.
Having mucked about with dozens of cars over the years, from total beaters to Euro exotics, I’ve been trying to find something that would be suitable as a ‘Cunningham Promo/Team’ car. Had to be classic, French, Italian but probably English and it had to be diffrunt. Well after a couple of years of pondering, the Lord has provided. Check it out……
Perrrfect! Not only is it in Cunningham colours of red/black/white……but it was made in Scotland. For the unaware, it is a ‘64 Sunbeam (Hillman in most of the world) Imp. These things book around corners like they got sticky glue on the tyres, and will pull 9500rpm when sorted. The cool thing is, one of these tiny sleds was my second auto ever, a billion moons ago. I used to slide my bike through the lifting rear glass and head to races. We were at an apres cyclo-cross party at one point and I left the party house to find Mr Hayman & Co had picked up the little devil and put it at right angles to the road AND up on the sidewalk.
I’m now in the process of converting this little 875cc/1100 pound screamer back into something approaching road legal. I’ll be adding some Cunningham graphics and maybe some side windows and having her on the street by Christmas. Stand by for completed images.
This vehicle being outside my 4B thing philosophy, I should point out that the second biggest project in my life (bikes being first) does fall into that category….big time…and that would be the boat classification. Actually being a boat it is female, so it sort of covers two in one.
Truly…a psycho project. Check out what I started with…wudda roach.
Maybe I saw too much McHale’s Navy as I kid but this ex-USN/AAF vessel simply represents so much of what I’m into. I love boats, beautiful things, working with wood and war history, particularly WW II. Also, I very much appreciate the sacrifices made by untold thousands that did what they could to allow us the freedom to do things as simple as ride our bikes in (relative) freedom. This vessel being the last of its type in the world in original military form, is a monument of that appreciation.
I chose cycle racing as a sport from an early age because to me it was a game of hard men giving it all…..far beyond what any other sport can do. When you are truly giving it your all on a hot hillside trying to hold the next wheel ahead, its hard… really hard. Yet that suffering is nothing compared to those that have served in battle with the ultimate price just waiting to be paid. So I can tell you it REALLY makes me nuts when I hear any of those highly paid pro-bikes whining about something like the cobbles or wet descents in the TdF. Fer cryin’ out loud, build a bridge and get over it and think about what happened in two hideous wars in that same neighbourhood. Maybe the race won’t feel so bad anymore.
Anyway, I can tell I’m getting into rambling mode so I’d better close the office.
In closing let me say that if cycling is your big project at the moment, don’t hold back. Do what you need to do because heaven knows….when the time comes, you’ll be dead along time, so go flat out now!
Check back for my next natter when I’ll admit I need to harden up and what the plan is.