This morning I got woken up by a phone call from Greyhound courier services. My old Tour du Quebec bicycle had arrived. During my last visit to my family in Quebec my mother had asked me to see if I could fix her old 10 speeds bicycle. I was happy to help her. I took the opportunity to assess my old friend that had been hung in the rafters in my mother’s garage for over a decade. This was my chance to ride it again and even pack it up and get it home with the rest of my crew.
My tour du Quebec was made in the ,early 70’s where the 10 speeds were the trend. My grand mother bought it new but didn’t used it much. In the 90’s, when my 24″ wheeled ATB bike got too small for me my grand mother gave it to me so I could get around and my bull nose bar Mountain Tour would be passed to my younger sister. I have to admit, as a 11 years old, I was less than thrilled about giving away my mountain bike to get an old clunk that couldn’t do trail riding with those skinny tires. Being already 5’8″ or so at the time, the 24″ wheels made the Mountain Tour was way to small for me. A bigger bike was in order. Perhaps one with 27″ wheels would do. I admit it I was not the kind of kid to love changes and I must have thrown the fit of the century about it. My poor parents! But eventually I grew attached to this bike. Red was not my favorite color (blue was) but there was a notion of speed the drop bars were giving me that couldn’t be experienced with the bull nose ones. I often played race in the neighborhood streets. There wasn’t many opponents besides my shadow but I still enjoyed the feeling this 10 speeds clunker bike gave me. This lasted until I got pulled over by a cop. He escorted me to my home where my grand mother was sitting my sisters and I during the summer break. He went to talk to her. I was petrified. My grand mother was less than proud. I’ve never raced that bike again.
Another good side of riding this clunker was that no one wanted it. The craze of the ATB or no suspension mountain bikes left those old 10 speeds to slowly die in peoples garages or even forgotten behind peoples sheds under the elements. One day I went to school and I to stay late for some sport practice. When I left I noticed that my bike was the only one in all the bike racks. As I approached it I noticed that had not locked it. Yet it had not moved from the spot I had left it in. Those step through 10 speeds were definitely not desirable. This gave me a sense of security because you could hear about a stolen bike from those racks on a regular basis. I was also proud to have something I like that no one else liked because like me this bike was different and a left over in a way. My bike understood me!
Many years after I kept getting new to me bicycles but I never forgot about the Tour du Quebec. I kept begging my mother to keep this bike until it could make its way to me. This fall I was able make it happen. It got cleaned and then packaged in a box with other of my belongings. Then made it to my father’s house and last week was shipped. It arrived today and is now sitting in my car at my house. I had to take it out of its box to bring it home. when I opened the box it felt like a time capsule. My mind filled with many memories. I was rediscovering it once again. I’m real happy to have this piece of my bicycle love history join my cycles family.
In the following pictures there’s my mother’s 10 speeds (blue) and my older 10 speeds (red). Both my father and my mother purchased a Tour du Quebec at the same time. They were identical except for the size. They were more recent than my red one. My mother’s bike received a complete tune up, a new saddle and new bar tape at my last visit. She’s happy to be able to ride it again.