The origins of the packhorse bike. I have had 2 blog entries about the “packhorse” bike so far. Just finished off some further refinements today on it. I haven’t written a blog entry for some time, so I thought I’d share some part of the history of the bike and also the reasoning around it’s second life. This will be a little longer post – sorry for that – I will be trying to slice the whole story into digestible, short reading parts 🙂 Hope you’ll enjoy following through to it’s current and recently refined state.
I have a brother, who is two years older. And a sister who is six years younger than me. The relevance of this fact is as follows: Growing up I would usually inherit the used bikes from my older brother and ride them until I grew out of them. At first that doesn’t matter but turning older, it was rather “not so cool” to always have the old bikes. You know, you want new and shiny things … “I only hear mimimimimimimi” 😀
And this bike was the first time I received a new bike on my own. That’s the reason I have a special connection to it. I got it when I was 14 years old. If it was a car, it would already classify as a Youngtimer and not missing much for the “H Kennzeichen”… which you would receive for a car older than 30 years and in a more or less original state in Germany. Now I really loved this bike and rode it intensely as a teenager. Next to fun rides, I would take it to bring me to work after school finished. As long as I was still too young for a car, it definitely was my sole means of transportation. Thereby also the core base for individual freedom and earning my first own money.
After I finished school and moved town to start studying I left the bike at my parents place. This could have been the sad end. Yet totally the opposite! Here the fact that I have a younger sister falls in place. My dad and her went on a huge bike trip over several hundred kilometers, multi day over the Alps. Impressive as such. And she asked and took the good old Scott Chenango along with her. I was living in UK at that time I think… After this great endeavor the bike rested a long time in the garage of my parents when my sister also moved away from home for her studies.
A long, long time later when I moved to our current house with my own family my parents asked me to take the bike along with me. Hmm – I couldn’t give it away. It was special, right! 🙂 But I also didn’t know quite yet what to do with it. It ended up hanging in my garage for another few years.
2019 I decided to sell my (totally unreasonable yet also beloved car) and change my mode of transportation fully. I mentioned this in my first feature about the “PACKHORSE“. The motivation was rising costs of an aging car and rising duration for the commute. Honestly, the German Autobahns and their speed – at least in densely populated areas like ours – are not more than a myth. It’s 3 – 4 lanes each side with vehicles bumper to bumper and moving slowly. My commuting time increased from 15 minutes when we moved to our current place to 50 minutes plus in 2019… That was just not really reasonable.
Also interesting was the fact that changing to public transportation would get me to town in 25 minutes, yet I would spend another 25 to get to my work place from the main train station. That was not really efficient but also the re-birth of the good old Chenango. The plan was to get it up and running again and leave it at the train station for the last miles from there to work. After all those years and so much stories it didn’t look too bad to be honest. But it was a lot more work than I initially anticipated. Break pads had hardened to be more like stone than rubber, the shifters were clogged up by oil that was worse than glue and wouldn’t change gears in any direction and – to top it off – the steel frame had several rusty marks that needed attention. Yet all of that is NO reason to abandon a beloved bike!!
With all that work needed why not change a few things. I thought a combination of silver & tan walled tires would look good. I also wasn’t able to resist adding the Manitou fork from that epoch to the project when I stumbled across it on a “used-bike-parts-selling” plattform. Showing a before and after below: 2019 in it’s original state from back when I got it. And the first version of the bike, that I took for a ride around the local hills.
I will write more about my experience restoring the bike during that time in Part II of this story. The most tedious and totally underestimated task was sanding down the frame to it’s raw state and then respraying it. Without professional tools or surrounding that is an act of love to an old bike!
Hope to find the time for part II soon 🙂