Sterling Morrison's Puch Pathfinder Series II Road Bike - Black

Apparently Sterling Morrison was tall

As I carried this ridiculously tall black Puch Pathfinder Series II road bike from a suburban garage to my car, the woman who had just sold it to me said "that bike belonged to my ex-husband, Sterling Morrison of the Velvet Underground."

It wasn't a sales pitch; I'd already paid for the bike. I'd never heard of Sterling Morrison, the Velvet Underground's guitarist, before that, but as long as he was a tall guy, the story would make sense.

With its heavy level of urban wear and a few replaced-as-necessity-dictated non-original parts, this Pathfinder would easily pass for a New York City musician's daily transportation. Riching Schwinn Cyclery of Ft. Myers, Florida first sold it, but I'd like to think it spent most of its life in Manhattan.

Regardless of its history, this Puch Pathfinder is one thing: tall. It's easily one of the five tallest bikes I've ever owned. With an Araya high-tensile steel frame, SunTour shifters and Spirit/Honor derailleurs, Sugino alloy cranks, Dia-Compe alloy center-pull brakes, and possibly alloy rims (currently it has an alloy rear and steel front), this was probably a decent middle-of-the-road road bike when it was new.

But now it's old, and it shows the wear, tear and fantastic patina that come from years of heavy use. Whether Sterling Morrison was the one riding it all those years, I may never know. And I don't really care. But it's a nice story, so I'll believe it.

Scroll down for more photos.

Real tall!

That's a New York City front end

Heavily worn handlebar tape and dry-rotted brake lever hoods

Classic Puch head tube badge

Dia-Compe alloy brake levers

Front Dia-Compe center-pull alloy brake

Taihei Compe alloy seat post

Long alloy stem and front brake routing

SunTour down-tube shifters, head tube lug and fork crown

Araya Hi-Tn tubing, 1984 Lee County Sheriff's Office registration sticker

Seat post clamp and rear brake cable routing

Rear Dia-Compe center-pull alloy brake

How's the weather up there?

Top tube patina and brake cable routing

Normandy high-flange alloy front hub

Rigida Superchromix front rim

Try putting 90psi...

In this IRC high pressure tire!

Down tube detail and shifters

This says "Pathfinder", I think

Riching Schwinn Cyclery of Ft. Myers, Florida

SunTour Spirit front derailleur

I would not want to be clipped in to this gigantic bike

Sugino alloy crank

SunTour Honor rear derailleur

Pie plate and rear derailleur

5-speed freewheel