It’s great to feel a sense of self achievement and satisfaction whilst also recognising that it couldn’t have been done without the help of others. It is also amazing that the help has been based on good faith, a willingness to support, and all based on a photograph and short text in a plea for help. The fact that this help has come from people from all around the globe makes it more incredible.
I am referring to a recently finished restoration of a 1991 Cannondale Delta SV 2000, which was Cannondale’s first full suspension bike, in case you’re mildly interested. I bought it from a seller on eBay who was selling it as a ‘project’, which he had started and then never got anywhere near finishing. There’s always a reason why someone doesn’t finish a project, whether it be fitting a kitchen, building a shed in the garden or in this case, a mountain bike. Unfinished projects can mean there’s something that’s prevented completion and usually it’s a part or something that is either expensive or unobtainable, so it’s always a bit of a gamble, or Pandora’s Box when the package is first unwrapped and assessed.
The bike arrived as a frame that was in pieces and with some random parts. I set about assessing the scale of the project, which was within my own technical abilities and budget. The project commenced with parts sourcing, but every now and again, I needed help, which Google or my bodging capabilities couldn’t provide. The answer was always found in social media communities, specifically Facebook.
Like a lot of people, I’m part of several Facebook groups. You might even be reading this from a post in one of these groups. The Facebook groups I’m in vary in members from 2,000 to 20,000. Apparently, the largest Facebook group ever has just short of 6 million members, and it was set up to break the group membership record so that it could be recognised in the Guinness Book of Records. Interesting huh? Maybe.
It is funny how online communities work. The ‘social media group’ is centered around a special interest, product, brand etc etc and is made up of a diverse group of people who have one, very specific interest or passion. This means that they have one main thing in common and everything else in their collective lives could be far, far apart, and even almost counter-culture different. These differences range from politics, to music, religion and even income can separate people big time, but that single passionate thread of interest creates a bond like no other.
Another community social media platform I use is Instagram. Groups become #’s and ‘likes’ and ‘followers’ become key currency, and however shallow you believe these to be, they can become powerful and realise big commercial income. As of March 2020, the most-followed person on Instagram is footballer Cristiano Ronaldo with over 209 million followers, and the most-followed female singer is Ariana Grande with over 178 million followers. I’ve got 267 followers on my Instagram profile……
On the down side, social media groups can be pretty bloody ruthless if a person steps outside of the boundaries of the group passion, which is why groups rely heavily on rules and governance. Anyway, this post is about engaging the power of the group passion to move knowledge, interest and support a step further when it’s needed.
Here’s the Cannondale project point; Every time I hit the wall from a knowledge or parts perspective, all I had to do was throw out the challenge or plea for help into my social media network, and guess what? People stepped up to help. These helpers aren’t interested in me or my life, but they are interested in helping me with that common connection that we share. Powerful isn’t it. When I look back at the restoration of this bike, there were 7 areas that I needed help with, and the answers came from all over the world as you’ll see from the picture below. I pass on my thanks to those that went out of their way to help me, and in anticipation of the future help I’ll need.
If you’re really interested……
1. The two sizes of headset bearings came via some conversations on the vintage Cannondale site https://vintagecannondale.com/ and with a bit of my research. Top site!
2. The rear shock was found on eBay USA for me by a social-media-colleague and who sent me the link. Top man!
3. The rubber HeadShok adjuster part came from a Facebook group connection and from Germany, for free as well! Top man!
4. The new XTR Chainrings are (currently) in the post from Hungary and from another Facebook group member who sold me the gold I needed. Top man!
5. The tyres came from someone I’d met via my own blog and based in Switzerland, so check out Terra One tyres man, Terrance Malone in the T1 link in the sidebar. Top man!
6. The Pepperoni Fork Stickers came from vintage Cannondale https://vintagecannondale.com/ ‘Top site’.
7. The handlebar Stem came from Italy and bought via another Facebook group friend. Top man!
Many thanks again to all of you that helped me get the bike to rideable and enjoyable completion, and to those that ‘liked’ the pictures of the final result.
If you’re really, really interested……
There was an album made in 1970 called Witchwood, and by a band called The Strawbs. On it is a track called Cannondale. It is classic ‘70s experimental stuff. What I mean is, you need to be experimenting with some ‘substance’ for it to not sound boring and morose. Alcohol isn’t enough either. I tried it and the track didn’t improve, but don’t take my word for it.
Feature photo by the Author’s wife. Top wife!
All other photos by the Author