* 1972 Schwinn

1972 Schwinn
Thanks to Nana and Papa, Hercules got a new bike this weekend. Or at least, it's new to us. Because it is in fact one year older than I am. And it's the coolest bike!

Somehow we've suddenly become vintage bike collectors. It started when my neighbor offered me a bike that she never used, and I accepted. It turned out to be a 1976 English Raleigh in mint condition. It's beautiful and I've never enjoyed riding a bike as much as I do this one (and I have done a lot of biking). Then, as if that weren't enough, she pulls out another bike that she wants to get rid of - an old Schwinn Stingray, bright green and yellow with a banana seat. We gave that one to V, my middle stepson, because he was the only one without any bike whatsoever.

We had been trying for months to come up with enough bikes so that we could all go riding together as a family. After our neighbor gave us those two bikes, we had enough for all 8 of us and that was amazing! So we planned an afternoon ride on the MKT trail. All I had to do was to run down to the bike shop and get a new seat post for Rio's bike, which had been busted by his stepbrother. We had a seat for it, but the post was too big to fit in the frame and I figured it would be a simple replacement. But I figured wrong.

Two hours and two bikeshops later, I came home with a very sad excuse for a seat post. It turns out that seat posts and frames come in a bazillion sizes, and matching them can be very difficult if the parts are not manufactured by a major brand. Naturally, Rio's bike was a cheap department store variety (we got it from freecycle some time ago) and the parts were non-standard. The first bike shop couldn't help me, but they referred me to a used bike shop that just opened in town, and the kind gentleman there did his best to help me out. He at least found a post small enough to slide into the frame, but it was a loose fit and the seat rotated. I desperately asked him if we could just duct tape it or something so it would be good enough for now. So he shimmied the post with some aluminum from a soda can and then taped the rest. I brought it home to Rio, wondering how long it would last.

Well, the seat came loose about 10 minutes after we started our ride, when Rio attempted to navigate a steep downhill path with a sharp turn. He didn't make the turn and went flying into the underbrush. He emerged tearful but intact, and his seat was all askew. We straightened it out as best we could and he managed pretty well for the rest of the ride. But it was not a long-term solution.

I was getting very enthusiastic about our family bike trips, so I really wanted Rio to have a bike. And the one good thing to come out of my search for a seat post was my discovery of that used bike shop. The owner of the shop collects, sells, and trades vintage bikes, and he had some beauties. While he was messing with Rio's bike that day, I was telling him about our newly acquired classics and he oohed and aaahed appreciatively. And I had a chance to browse his selection, which included some very reasonably priced children's bikes.

Convincing Papa that Hercules should have a bike of his own was easy, but it took a little more persuasion to convince him that a Wal-mart bike was not the way to go. He was agreeable, though, and in the end even more generous than I hoped. Which I should really come to expect from him, since there's nothing he won't do for his Rio. So on Saturday we went back to the used bike shop and sure enough, we found the perfect bike, a 1972 Schwinn. In fact, we ended up buying 2 that day, one for Rio and another one for his next-oldest stepbrother, H, whose bike was much too small for him. So now Rio, H, and V are all sporting new classic bicycles, and they are beaming with pride. Now they want to ride their bikes all the time, which is great and I'm happy to encourage that activity anytime! In fact, this morning Rio was out of the house at 6 am, riding his bike in the empty parking lot across the street before I was even dressed.

Here's a pic of the boys on their bikes. Are they badass or what??
Bike Gang


Anonymous Anonymous said...


9/13/2005 6:02 AM  
Anonymous EcoQuest International said...

Wow, looks like a gang here. Where are the leather jackets and tattos?

9/22/2005 10:22 AM  

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