... I finally own a bike built by Proteus Design, of College Park, Maryland!
So what's so special about that?
Well, for one thing, Proteus, while still open for business as a bike shop, stopped being a framebuilding concern a number of years ago. As near as I can tell, their heyday was the late 70s to mid 80s, framebuilding-wise. I grew up not far from College Park, and in high school and college, I'd often visit and gaze longingly at the lovely hand built frames and fully assembled bikes. These were the first truly hand built frames I ever saw, and they were amazing to me. I hoped one day to be able to own one, but the prices seemed completely out of my reach back then. And honestly, they were.
So in 1980, I did buy a bike built around a hand built frame, but it was a production model from a new, relatively unknown company in Wisconsin called "Trek". It was and is a wonderful bike, but I still always held out hope of one day owning a Proteus. Who knew it would take so long?
So how did it come about? Well, a friend and customer, Marty, emails me a lot of links to bikes on Craig's List. A while back he sent me a link to a Proteus bike for sale in Baltimore. At the time I thought I should let it go, as I really wasn't in a position to buy another bike, and the price was more than I could afford. Imagine my surprise when Marty sent me a link a few weeks ago, with a new ad with a lower price for the same bike! This time I couldn't resist going to take a look. So off to Baltimore I went after work one evening. I was a little put out at first when I arrived and nobody answered the door, but after repeated knocking, just as I was about to give up, the owner appeared.
The bike was even better than I expected. It looks like it's had very little real use in the 30+ years since it was sold to the original owner. I'm now the fourth person to own this bike, and I'm a very happy fella to have it. It's beautifully made, and a very nice riding bike. The parts are almost all Campagnolo Nuovo Record, which were seen as the creme de la creme back in the day. The brakes are not Campy, but are from the French CLB company, which were known for their light weight. They seem very well made, and very pretty. All in all, a wonderful bike. About the only downside is that it was built with 27" wheels in mind, and can't easily take the now-standard 700c size more common today. I can live with that though, as the wheels are in great shape and there are still good 27" tires and rims made.
So there you have it... a dream deferred, but achieved!