_MG_8274

The Heroes are Campy Dudes, SRAM Fellows…

The Heroes are Campy Dudes, SRAM Fellows and Shimano Devotees. We ride them all and covet them all. But there is a special place in our hearts for Campagnolo. We remember the days when friction shifting gave way to Index and Synchro and men older than ourselves wondered why anyone would need to click a gear into place. Those particular wars are over but fetishism and Campagnolo run deep and we are witness whenever an untouched Campagnolo Super Record 50th groupset appears on eBay. It is a seven day, auction-style death march staring at our computers at work and looking at our eBay mobile app while we are having dinner with our girlfriends and wives. For the lister there is no need to put a Reserve on the auction. Really, two or three photos will be fine; the serene blue interior says it all. By the last bid, you will have a Paypal account full of cash. With this in mind the Heroes pay homage to this mythic power of Campagnolo.

We start with a story:

Searching for anything bike related, 19 year old Hero, Creed Johnson, was reading the Record-Searchlight classifieds in Redding California. The year was 1987. There were only six or so bikes for sale that day. Below a listing for a Ross Mt. Hood mountain bike he spotted a Campagnolo Super Record 50th anniversary group for sale in the town of Willow Creek, California which was about 100 miles away on the Trinity River. A quick phone call had Creed begging the owner not to sell it to anyone but him and to allow a day or so to pick it up, as he had no car. The real reason of course was to find some cash and quick. In order to marshal the funds, the perennially jobless Creed, took an antique bowie knife, two 100 watt Kenwood speakers, a 200 lb anvil, and a set of minty golf clubs to a pawn shop on Yuba street in downtown Redding. The items were previously found treasures often questionably “abandoned” or as with the Kenwoods and golf clubs, stolen from Creeds brother who was attending college at UC Santa Cruz. The next day, money in hand, Creed and a friend got on the Redwood Empire Bus Line bound for Willow Creek.

After two hours on the bus, nauseous from winding roads, the two young Heroes, walked up to an old house and knocked on the door. An old man who did not appear fit to ride a bike answered and told Creed and his friend to just wait there. Cash exchanged hands and that was it. The old man said nothing except “enjoy” and shut the door. Unfazed by the mystery of the stranger, the Heroes walked back to the bus stop, which was merely a bench outside a convenience store, and tried to kill three hours until the Eureka to Redding bound bus comes to pick them up.

While they waited they did two things. First, every single component was plucked out of its designated spot in the case and turned over and over to capture the reflection of the sun. The crankset, maybe the most loved, was gently wiped clean of fingerprints with the bottom half of the Creed’s sweaty t-shirt before carefully being placed back in its proper place. The second thing Creed did was math. After spending his pawnshop loan for bus tickets and the cost of the group, Creed had 30 remaining dollars. Since Willow Creek lies within Trinity County and is as well regarded a home for marijuana as nearby Humboldt County, Creed and his companion walked around town, hoped their long hair, skinny torsos, and awkward suitcase of Campagnolo attracts some hippie/dealer with a ¼ of weed. They had no luck and if anything their wanton looks attracted bewilderment and uncomfortable eye contact from the locals.

Back on the bus, every single bike-part is re-inspected, and turned over and over. Creed read the information notice mounted in the case in all four languages at least six times until they arrived in Redding. It had been an 8-hour trip and it is late. The two Heroes said goodbye and Creed walked home with his suitcase. It’s new home was to be a grey/silver Ciöcc at the time decked out with Shimano 600. In the mean time, Creed placed the case on a chair and then moved it next to his bed. He fell asleep staring at the parts. His only thought of despair was not scoring any pot, otherwise he was happy. In the morning he would call all his friends and invite them to come over and have a look while it resides in its case.