She hasn't always been Bonnie Parker. She was once my big brother Jason's race bike. Dad was a commercial traveller for a bicycle parts company and had found the bike somewhere on his travels and it came painted gold and with Huffy stickers. I don't remember it. I remember that when it was handed down to me when I started racing Dad let me choose a new colour for it - shiny aquamarine and I was a little embarrassed by it and it's fat tyres.
I rode it in quite a few races, mostly handicap and never at scratch. I was an OK cyclist. There were not many girls racing back then though so didn't find it overly inspiring. Anyway.... time went by and I rode the Claude Butler until I got my first full time job and put a Mizuno red and white bike on layby at Davies Cycles. Richard even let me take the bike while I paid it off. I guess the Claud Butler got stashed in the shed. I didn't hear much about it and I think that Mandy may have owned it after me. Somehow along the way Jason got hold of it and built it up for his wife. They separated and the frame came home to Mum's - burgundy and gold and with Colnago and Shimano decals. It was pretty ugly. And so I rescued it.
I had some discussion with Mel about how to build it up and we rifled through the gear Jason had stashed in the shed. We managed to get a decent crankset, stem and bar from that lot. I took the frame and fork to the powdercoater in Cambridge and got them to strip the manky paint job and cover it in a colour that complemented the saddle I had ordered from Velo Expresso. Torpedo 7 happened to have a mint set of wheels at a bargain basement price so they were duly purchased and stripped of a thousand stickers. Next up was a white chain, a bottom bracket and a Soma cog from Velo Espresso and we were in business. Lucky for me Melanie knows lots more stuff about bikes and bike building than I do and put some impressive effort into getting the bike built up. I may have asked a thousand questions.
I'd rolled her out for quite a few commutes and loved riding her. She was awesome around town but the bar I had on her was not really cut out for comfort so I ordered a Soma Condorina because it looked like a rad bar. I did it without thinking and the bar required a new stem and adaptor which I didn't have. Matt at Velo had a stem adaptor on hand and Mel has loaned me a stem while I wait for my new white Soma stem to arrive.
Some Claud Butler frame transfers were ordered from the UK and I made a complete cock up of trying to apply them. Another set was winging it's way to me in no time but I was too shit scared to put them on. Bonnie looked quite naked without them and so I somehow convinced Mel to have a crack at it. She is much more patient than I and did a wonderful job. It was not without it's woes but the end result is cracking good.
So all up... I am stoked with her. She's got personality and style and is extremely awesome to ride.
Pics are here for a start to finish look.
This is what she looks like today: