This well maintained Frejus Professional has joined the collection with my thanks to Craig Smith of Casper, Wyoming. Craig is the original owner of this bike and he told me it was purchased from Oscar Waystyn Cycles in Chicago that remains in operation on Fullerton Avenue after four generations. Oscar Sr. was the son of Emil, a frame builder in Belgium before immigrating to the USA and opening a small shop in 1910 on Hoyne street before moving to Fullerton Avenue. The business is now in the hands of his son Oscar Jr. and his son Scott. So very few of these early shops in America have stayed in operation and let alone ‘in the family’ as this one has. How wonderful is that?
1970-1971 Emilio Bozzi catalog for Legnano, Frejus and Wolsit. With the exception of the paint scheme and decals, the Frejus Professional and the Legnano Roma shared the identical frame construction and components including the unique position of the seat post binder bolt that was always unique to Legnano. This shared construction of the Frejus Professional with the Legnano Roma may well reflect the closure of the massive Legnano factory on the Strada Statale 527 in 1971 with all production moved to the Legnano factory at 1 Piazza Emilio Bozzi.
Craig tells me he purchased the Frejus prior to heading off for a tour of northern Europe. I am looking forward to Craig sharing a little more of the history and hoping he may have kept a few photos of that early bike tour, recalling many of my own treks to Europe about the same time. The bike is still in it’s original condition and well looked after as is typical of a respectful owner. Craig is packing up the bike and we will let Bikeflights handle the transport as I am very pleased over the years with their diligent and careful service. Until the delivery man arrives, here are a few quick pics of the bike that Craig shared with me.
When you have owned a bicycle for many years, perhaps for the majority of your adult life, it is not so easy to part with your old friend. So it has also been important for me to keep some history with the bicycles that have come to me over the years. With some encouragement, I asked Craig if he could sketch out a bit of the past that I would keep with his bike for the future.
October 21, 2020
“I first became interested in riding a bicycle for sport in the spring of 1972 at the age of 16. I purchased a Schwinn Varsity from a friend who was stepping up to a nicer bike. We began riding quite a bit doing 60, 75 and a couple of century rides that summer in the corn fields west of Chicago. Looking at some of the higher end bikes and talking with others, I figured I needed a better bike too. Working a summer job and after school by fall I had saved enough and decided on a Peugeot PX-10. I was able to find a dealer, Oscar Wastyn’s on Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago. I was amazed by the selection of fine bicycles and the knowledge of the staff. I checked out the Peugeot and did a short few block ride. When I returned, they were waiting on other customers and I browsed the store a bit. When I first saw the Frejus it grabbed my attention. The color, quality build and components were superior to the PX-10, it was also more money. I took it for the same ride and purchased the bike. I fell in love with the bike and the quick responsive handling.
That fall I rode with a new passion and commitment. Most weeks I was riding 125 to 175 miles, after school and on weekends. I was always on the bike. My friend had a set of rollers and we took turns riding those through the winter months. By spring I was ready to get back on the road. I got involved with a group who was doing pace lines and time trials for fun. And was it ever fun!
As a reward for graduating high school I took four weeks and took the bike to northern Europe for a tour. We landed in London and rode through the southern portion of the United Kingdom, and parts of France, Belgium Germany, Luxembourg, Denmark, and the Netherlands. We stayed in hostels and people’s private homes. The bike made the trip without incident. That fall I went off to college and took the bike, it lived in the dorm hanging above my bed. I found a few others who liked to ride but they were not as crazy about training as I was.
When I attended graduate school, where I first got involved with serious training, riding and pacelines, I picked back up with those folks. After those two years I moved to South Dakota and took the bike. Riding in mountains and at elevation was new to me and it took a while to gain confidence with descents. I then moved to Houston, TX. Lots of traffic and crazy drivers. But I found county roads and soon found a group riding in the hill country of Texas around Austin. They were serious racers! I helped with races and continued to train with them. Most times after the ride or race we had a BBQ with plenty of Shiner beer, it was cheap and always ice cold.
In early 1980’s I was transferred to Oklahoma for work. I found the Canadian River Racing Club. A great group of people who worked with me, encouraged me, and talked me into racing. We did Tuesday and Thursday evening pacelines riding 30-45 miles each night. Wednesday was time trail practice. Weekends were for traveling and racing. We raced Texas, Kansas, Arkansas and of course Oklahoma. We hosted a three day race each year, a criterium, road race and time trial. This continued for three years until I was again transferred. After that I had a difficult time finding time and others who were devoted to riding. I gradually fell off until moving to NW Florida in the early 1990. I started riding with a couple guys from work and we had a lot of fun. They introduced me to mountain bikes, and I started riding those. When I did the road time got shorter and shorter.
The bike was then carefully mothballed and placed in a safe place. Fast forward 25+ years, I was moving to a smaller home and needed to find a good home for the bike. I searched the web and found Condorino and Mark. Mark was very helpful and honest about the bike and he agreed to purchase the bike from me. I was grateful to see it go to a place where it would be restored and not dismantled for parts.”
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