I currently have two bikes, but this is the one I ride almost all the time. I started with a lugged steel 1985 Trek 560 frame and fork, made in Wisconsin (bought used in the early 2000’s). I outfitted that frame with a mix of parts bought used or that I had lying around my workshop, or on rare occasions bought new. Most important are a narrow rack for carrying panniers, fenders for avoiding the dreaded skunk stripe, and a comfortable saddle. I’ve had it in one form or another for about 7 years, though it reached its present form a little over two years ago.
What makes it perfect? I’m not certain I can say. Trek was doing all sorts of interesting things in the mid-’80s, and I’ve owned a lot of bikes, including a couple of other Trek frames from the same period, but this one is just right somehow. I also have to blame nostalgia; the mid-1980s were a great time in my life, and the fact that this is an ’85 probably evokes memories all by itself.
I think I like it because it’s not a fussy bike. The frame is more than 25 years old, the (purple!) paint is scraped (I sometimes think about repainting it, but that would rob the bike of some of its magic), it gets dirty. It doesn’t require coddling like a carbon-fiber or aluminum bike might. There are no fine adjustments to be made to the shifters.
It’s the bike I reach for when I need to go somewhere. Or when I just need to go nowhere.