Admittedly, I’m not the best at dating bikes. I can usually come close, but tend to forget individual bikes’ specific ages. If I’m within a couple years either way that’s usually good enough for me.
I love this old Crawford-badged Columbia, not only because it’s pretty as heck, but also because it has its date right on it. I haul it out for local rides or bike events just because of this. A couple of cocktails might try to wipe my memory clean, but that Anniversary decal is always there to help me out.
Which brings me to the topic of the anniversary itself. It’s hard to fathom that Columbia bicycles celebrated their 60th anniversary in 1937. That’s 80 years ago by my math, which (also by my math) was a long time ago, and 60 years before that was a really long time ago. Collecting bikes from 1930’s forward like I do, I forget just how far the industry goes back.
A final note: Modern bike computers might be able to tell you a hundred different things, but can they measure your effective wind speed like that old anemometer mounted on the handlebar? I think not.
This Rollfast, which until recently lived in Pennsylvania is fresh of the Buzz Bomb workstand. Apart from crusty tires and a little rust, the bike was in wonderful condition. After some buffing and shining the paint is as good as we’ve run across and the Troxel saddle looks virtually new.
Our favorite part of this streamlined beauty is the transition between the tank and the rear carrier. It’s about as seamless and slippery as any bike we’ve ever seen. We’re also quite fond of the twin headlights. …And the Persons reflectors. …And the tank itself. Lots of shiny metal to look at here.
The bike runs like a champ, which isn’t always the case with these old balloon-tire bikes. With all the mass and extra sheet metal they often creak, groan and rattle. Not this one, though; it’s quiet as a mouse.
A couple of acknowledgements: Thanks to Mark from Bike Line of Lancaster for such an amazing packing job. Also a thank you to Addison, Casey, Dan and Greg of the Reno Ramblers for escorting the Rollfast on its maiden voyage. Only, next time can we avoid the hills? 60+ pounds of bike climbs under much protest.