Palo Alto

Yesterday’s Palo Alto Catalog, Today’s Money

Does anyone else remember the Palo Alto Bicycles Catalog? When Ted Hero nonchalantly tossed this in the lap of one of the Heroes – not sure which one, only that he was particularly handsome and fit – flashes of being 14 years old and staring at this Palo Alto catalogue swam through the Hero’s head. And the surprised Hero is not talking about a Palo Alto catalogue. It was this very issue.

1981: Ronald Reagan was president. Naked Raygun was a band from Chicago. Devo had a song in the top 100 (#94). M*A*S*H was still on TV. So was Diff’rent Strokes. Bernard Hinault won the Tour De France. Joop Zoetemelk was 4th. Cars looked like this. Bikes looked like this. And Demi Moore was on the cover of a french magazine. Ok. Enough about 1981.

Back then there were two cycling catalogs for those of us living on the West Coast and old enough to be swayed by the power of fancy bike parts: Bike Nashbar and Palo Alto. Palo Alto was better for pure browsing. In those days a teenager dreaming of building the lightest bike possible would underline, circle or otherwise mark the Avocet Racing III Saddle (270 g. $33.98), Campy Super Record Seat Post (205 g. $49.98) Avocet Racing Cranks w/BB (870 g. $113.96) Campy Super Record Pedals (259 g. $159.98). The one weight sacrifice we were all willing to make in favor of pure beauty was Phil Wood Hubs. The heaviest option but clearly the best.

Please return for part II of Yesterday’s Palo Alto Catalog, Today’s Money