Meet my first road bike, a pink vintage Fuji Tiara from the 80’s. The bike is a humble one, with standard rear and front derailleurs and gear shifters on the body (you have to reach down–literally–before climbing uphill). But, my friends, the more interesting story is anything that happened around this bike.
I had seen the bike sitting under some wooden stairs for around a year in my apartment complex. The tires were flat, the gears were rusty. One summer evening, I saw a Mexican neighbor sitting at the door of his apartment, drinking beer while watching his sons play in the park. He said hi while I was passing by on my Walmart 26″ Mongoose. He offered a beer and a conversation. We got to know each other. His name was Francesco, working for a construction company.
After talking for a while, we got to the topic of biking. That’s when I knew that the pink vintage bike was his. It had been sitting cold for years because he had gained weight and the bike didn’t feel right for him. After a cordial bargain episode in line with my Javanese upbringing of respecting sellers by bargaining the price 🙃, we settled on 60 bucks. That’s when I started shifting gears by reaching down, and also a shift in my biking paradigm, from enjoying the roughness of terrains to the smoothness and swiftness of paved roads.
I let go of the bike in its best shape when I was gifted a vintage Raleigh road bike by a friend who had to move to Canada over a year after I purchased this Fuji Tiara. The Raleigh road bike was then stolen from under the wooden stairs of my apartment complex, another set of stairs.