Staying on a farm for a winter break, I saw this old racing bike stuffed at the back of one of the farmer’s storage buildings. This unit is just a canopy and open to the elements even though it has a metal roof, so the bike has obviously suffered from many damp and rainy days. I didn’t see the bike at first as this farm has many outbuildings and storage areas, and its set in a few acres of land. Wandering around looking at chickens and goats a couple of days ago, I just happened to notice that unmistakable sight of a 700c wheel poking out from behind a load of storage. Naturally, this piqued my interest and I must confess, I am compelled to save this sad old Peugeot.
Not having seen the owner of this farm and bike for a few days, I haven’t been given the permission to go into the storage area for a proper gander. I intend to ask him to sell it to me for a fair price when I see him. But look at it. It’s got a serious rust problem, the dreaded brown stuff runs all along the top tube as well as the stays, and I’m guessing the forks are the same way ( I haven’t seen them ). Maybe some of it is surface rust and can be partly removed; in my experience, lighter brown rust can be removed, though it nearly always leaves pitting behind. Dark brown rust is a hopeless case. Even if 50% of this rust was cleared away, the gloss and shine of the paint will be gone forever. Yet, I have seen bikes come back from the brink and surprise the hell out of me after a good clean.
So, there’s the Vitus label on the downtube, between the two shifters. The shifters are Simplex Criterium, braze-on, and I’m practically sure the derailleurs are SX 410, but I could be wrong. I think it’s a PFN10, a mid range Peugeot from the early 1980’s with Vitus 181 tubing. I restored one last year, you can read about it here. This bike is much bigger than the bike in that particular blog, it looks like its a 60cm, maybe even a 62cm. Too big for me, alas, but I still fancy saving it. It has a Peugeot crankset and Weinmann brakes. Strangely, I think the wheels look in decent shape, and even the tyres look like they’ve somehow survived the years of open air storage. Strange indeed they haven’t perished. Crap, maybe that seatpost is stuck.
I bought it. The bike wasn’t actually owned by the farm owner; it was the ride of someone who left it where I found it, a person who had died five years ago. This old Peugeot, therefore, actually had no owner and was destined for many more years of slow deterioration. Quite a lot of paint corrosion has set in, however, right across the bike. Whether or not it can be really be cleaned up remains to be seen.
More to follow…..