It feels like an eternity ago I got an inside tip on an ebay auction which resulted in me becoming the owner of a Llewellyn.
It was no oil painting when it arrived. The original paint was somewhere between the shade of General Lee and Merckx Molteni. It had blistered through use, abuse and the 9s Dura Ace on it well and truly flogged but somehow still working.
It became my work bike for a time until I was pressed into the curb outside the forum by a white van – the side of the bike having a layer of paint removed in the process. The outcome of the accident was it was sent to Joe Cosgrove for a respray. When deciding upon a colour, a Ferrari blue Lucentezza frame caught my eye and I knew that was the colour for me.
The frame came back months later, and within an hour of me handling it I’d broken it in with its first paint chip. I yelled in the fashion a paper cut hurts, but this would be the first of many.
It had Campagnolo Record 9s on it for years, during which time I rode to Adelaide in 3 days for the Tour Down Under. Then it had mudguards through a wet Melburn winter until I was again hit by a turning car. This was nearly the end and she lay bare as a frame before becoming a ‘fixie’ assembled with parts I had lying around.
This was like having the hand brake welded on to a Ferrari, and it didn’t last long in this vogue. I found a period Campagnolo C-Record groupset and built her back up – just in time to ride to Adelaide again for the TDU.
The idea of modern Campagnolo 11s crossed my mind as it seemed the perfect blend of form, function and access to spares but this came undone when I could not remove the stem from the steerer. Fortunately, Gonz was able to remove it using medieval techniques of which you can witness the process should you have 10 minutes to kill.
I’d lost a little faith during this time and a new lust with 11s had come into my life which I thought would replace ‘Lou Lou’, but the fire returned and thanks to some spankin’ hoops from Velomine I had the majority of components needed to get her back on the road. When all the pieces of the puzzle had arrived, I layed them out, put on Kid A and assembled her in between shots of espresso.
Best thing I ever did.
The frame has carried me to Warrnambool and back in a weekend, from Melburn to Adelaide through the guts AND around the coast, over Kinglake more times than I can remember, through good times and bad.
I don’t get emotionally attached to many bikes – but this is one of them. Like all things on the internet, she is even better in real life.
For the velospotters:
Llewellyn frame and fork / Columbus Max. 59cm top tube, 58cm seat tube.
Campagnolo 11s groupset
Campagnolo Record 1″ headset
Campagnolo C-Record 27.2 seat pillar
Selle Italia Rolls saddle – Titanium rails
Cinelli A1 120mm stem
Cinelli Giro D’Italia 44cm bars
Campagnolo Chorus Pro-fit pedals
H+Son Archetype / White Industries T11 wheels
Challenge Criterium 23mm tyres