25 January 2008

Surprised by purple steel: The story of a Bridgestone XO-1, Part 1

Posted by todd under: Bridgestone XO-1; My bikes .

For a certain set of bicycle enthusiasts, the Bridgestone XO-1 is a Holy Grail with tires — mythical, the possession of which might grant eternal bliss — on- or off-road, commuting or racing, touring or coffee-shopping — for this certain set of bicycle enthusiasts, the XO-1 stands alone as an ultimate all-rounder.

I learned the lore online, by reading e-mails and links from the Internet Bridgestone Owners’ Bunch.

Sure, I would’ve loved to have one. Who wouldn’t?

The thing is, the XO-1 came out for only two years, 1992 and 1993, and there were just 1,000 made each year.

Its rarity is part of its appeal.

*********

So one day in a local bike shop, I noticed this clerk looking at me funny. I didn’t recognize him at all, but it turned out to be an old acquaintance named Bush, who had worked at the shop years before.

Bush shared my affinity for old steel frames and friction-shifting. We had talked bikes and quoted Grant Peterson to each other, and I’d admired the Bridgestone RB-1 frame he bought off E-bay.

*********

Now Bush was back — much lighter, and clean-shaven. He looked like a completely different guy. We caught up a little. In the course of conversation, either then or later, he happened to mention that he had an XO-1 that he never rode.

He casually related that he had been thinking about putting it on EBay … but, well, he would rather sell it to someone who would appreciate it.

It was the largest size (which would fit me perfectly).

Would I be interested?

Hmm … let me think about it …

Well … YES

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About the picture atop the page

Yes, that's me, Todd Van Campen. No, I'm not wearing a helmet. Yes, I usually wear one, so please don't scold! Seriously, I endorse wearing a helmet! Pinky swear! In fact, I almost ALWAYS wear one (while riding a bike anyway). (On the other hand, if YOU don't want to wear a helmet, I have no problem with it.) I don't remember what happened on this particular day. Fortunately for all of us it makes for a less-nerdly picture. My exceptionally talented professional photographer friend Charles Bertram took this photo.

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Art for art’s sake

I asked my 6-year-old son, Caleb, an avid bicyclist and artist, to draw a bike for me. I think he did a great job!

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