Or not to renovate? That is the question.
You see, my bicycle, lovely as it is, just doesn’t have the lustre it had 34 years ago when it was wheeled out of the Ilkeston cycle works. The blemishes it has dotted all over it mar it’s appeal to some degree and it is for that very reason I have this mental tussle.
But why would you want to paint out all of that history? Sure it has a few scratches here and there but those scratches allude to it’s racing career and it’s time before me and to paint it would seem like I would be erasing it all. Like the hypnotist in the 2003 film Oldboy removing Dae-Su’s memory for the better. Or is it actually for the better? A friend recently said it would be “like buying the Mona Lisa and having her smile adjusted because you liked it better that way”.
That said, the owner of the previously mentioned Mona Lisa painting would be the owner so that individual could do with that paining as they saw fit. Right?
Wrong. A part of me believes that something of history, a classic item ( so long as it is not completely and utterly in need of renovation with blemishes that are of detriment to itself ) should not be tampered with and the possessor of such an item has somewhat of a responsibility of ensuring this. If not for the sake of him/herself then for the sake of the future because once that original paint and original decals are removed, they are gone, for eternity.
But then would a renovation not become part of the frame’s history in itself or would it devalue the item in another 34 years when it is discovered that the frame’s enamel jacket is less like a tube television and more like 30″ plasma screen? In viewing terms the tube worked just fine, showed TV programs, videos no problem but now we need plasma because it ‘looks’ better.
I think if I were to paint my 1976 Raleigh track frame ( SB numbered 969 ) I would completely regret it. It would ‘look’ better, I know it would but I would feel like I have wronged the earth in some way, like I had just removed a facet of it’s workings. I would also ( knowing my love for tradition ) grow to dislike the bicycle and end up selling it. This because in my eyes without it’s o.g jacket it would just be like most other resprayed professional racing frames out there: Void of any sort of credibilty of racing history or heritage.
And is racing history and heritage not the very reason we all love these classic, vintage bicycles in the first place?
Indeed it is and for that reason my bicycle, as it stands gets to live another day in it’s original condition. So like the very 19th century wooden framed windows that I peer out of on this cloudy day, history remains.