A story from the Luton & Dunstable Cycling Forum's Bicycle Recycle program...
Here is one of the bikes from a van-load of about 20 that came to us from a Sustrans project in Luton when it wound down. This was the only road bike in the lot: a Marlboro Medallion which had a mid-1980s lugged steel frame, steel-rimmed 27 inch wheels, 5-speed with downtube shifter, unbranded brakes. Completely unremarkable in every way.
Tom is my boss. He lives about 10 miles away from us and is often on the same train as me each morning into London. He has a young active family. They live just off a shared use path built on a disused railway line. The family has one car. Tom has for a number of years commuted between his house and the train station using an "old beater" chosen deliberately for its calculated lack of appeal to bike thieves. Or so Tom thought. Until two weeks ago when, just before he and his family went away for their summer holiday, he left it unsecured at the train station and came back that evening to find it gone.
After the chorus of "Oh, Tom!" had died down at the office, I said "you know, we might have something in the Recycle program that might suit you. It's quite ugly but that's probably what you want?" "Is it pink?" asked Tom hopefully. "Hmm, I can't remember exactly. I don't think so but it's on the lurid side." "Oh, good." Tom left the office early that day to set off on their holiday but I emailed him a photo (the one above) that afternoon and he thought it might fit the bill. Within minutes, he had made an appointment with Adam to come have a look.
After a good service... and replacing the old worn out tyres with good quality nearly new tyres (albeit deliberately mismatched)... and replacing the bent aluminium stem with a rather nice GB branded steel one... which necessitated finding another handlebar (with grubby but better quality bar tape still intact)... the bicycle may now be rather better looking than Tom wants!
The Recycle project has put 30 bikes back on the road this year.