So I've got the bicycling itch...

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So I've got the bicycling itch...

Post  Harvey on Sat Mar 21, 2015 12:48 pm

When you have the itch to ride, you think about the places you want to ride.  You think about the bike you own.  The next thought questions whether the bike you have is the right one for the rides you want to take or build up to.  

I often wonder if this is a natural spring time... nesting thing, as my wife would call it.  The idea being that in the spring you reevaluate your priorities.  Out with the old, in with the new.  That sort of thing.

I've always liked the classic three speed fendered utility bike.  The good ones came with a rear rack. The highest models had in-hub generators for front and rear lighting.  Not so much to see, as to be seen.  Trust me when I say the original headlight on a 1972 Raleigh Superbe is a mere several candle power glow rather than something useful the rider can use to see the road ahead.  A quaint yellowish glow a pedestrian must squint to recognize as a cyclist from greater distances.  But the human/bike silhouette against almost any backdrop is usually enough to call attention to your slow but imminent passing.

Sturmey Archer.  Three internal gears.  A Brooks saddle which only gets better with use and time.  All on a bike which is a bit larger than I should be riding.  I'm short.  This is Raleigh's smallest frame of that era.  My inseam and the top tube don't quite agree, if you get my meaning.

There's the Giant OCR.  Pretty adjustable, but a dedicated road machine.  You can't add fenders to a bike with composite bits in all the right/wrong places.  Surprisingly fast machine but the top tube reach draws me into a lower pitched riding position than I'd prefer anymore.   Keep it?  Sell it?

There's an IGH 8 speed Bianchi Turano I think it's called?  Tuscano?  Milano?  It sort of looks like a beach cruiser but it's got too much of Bianchi's DNA to make it a slow machine.  It's also Bianchi blue.  Think seafoam green and you're probably about three shades darker than this almost glow-in-the-dark park bike is painted.  With stark bold red lettering.  

Which brings me to the amalgamation of all of the above.  I've been smitten by the Jamis Aurora.

Drop bars like the Giant.  In a more upright riding position which allows one to look up while riding.  Not just ahead for utilitarian safety (read self preservation).  A properly fit top tube.  Shorter distance to the bars.

Road compliant characteristics like the Raleigh.  And all the gears necessary for long rides involving hills (someday)

Proper fit like the Bianchi.  Without announcing yourself several blocks in advance.  No bike of this kind should glow.  On its own.  Without regard to the type of light upon it.  Or absence thereof.  

The Jamis Aurora comes with legitimate fenders.  Utility length.    It has a size option which fits this particular rider's inseam.  It's distance to the bars matches.  In other words, the Aurora is built correctly for the size of various riders.  It even has bar end shifters which allow old school guys like me the opportunity to choose friction shift if we want to.  It's a steel frame which invites longer rides where aluminum framed bikes like the Bianchi and Giant jar you after a short while.

We have a thing here in central Minnesota which is called the Lake Wobegon Trail.  Well over a hundred miles of bike intended former railway.  Paved and with all the amenities a rider could ask for.  Branches put the path probably over the 150 mile mark.  One is within walking distance of my farm.  

While the other bikes in my stable would be passable for shorter rides, I want one made for that kind of long distance ride.



Harv

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nice read Harv

Post  airgunbuff1 on Sun Mar 22, 2015 1:07 pm

back n the day I was a bike nut. I had a schwinn stringray with that huge 3 speed stick shift. Talk about a ball buster... ThenI moved up to a schwinn super sport... that was one great bike. I averaged about 35 miles a day delivering papers and what not, getting to part time jobs. Then the bug really bit. I wanted a Schwinn Paramount... That was their top of the line bike... back then they were 950.00 bucks. I saved for 2 years to obtain a brand new one. I was the man. Then I started a family and got a real job. I sold the Paramount and made money on the deal.... I gave up bikes for a number of years then the mountain bike thing took hold... over the years I spent countless thousands of dollars on high end mountain bikes.... I loved motorcycles too.
Today I am an old disabled fart.. in a chair, but if I go thru the ordeal f putting on my leg braces I can ride a motorcycle short distances. While I have no pedal bikes, I do have a 2006 Harley softail deluxe and a 2000 Kawasaki ZRX. I can't ride much, but when I do, I am in heaven... nothing like being in the wind....

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Re: So I've got the bicycling itch...

Post  Harvey on Sun Mar 22, 2015 9:39 pm

I don't remember the Paramounts ever going for more than five hundred new. But they were Schwinn's best. Waterford still makes their frames in the steel tradition, back where they were originally made, in Waterford Wisconsin. I used to ride by there an awful lot. A cousin still lives in town.

I had a Stingray as a kid. Bought myself a Free Spirit in '76 done in the red/white and blue motif. But by then the Italians had my interest. Bianchis
were rarified machines so we sought Peugots and Merciers and Motobecanes, to name a few. Milwaukee had its share of tour followers. Not just the TdF, but the series. The Journal and Sentinal carried daily results. Dedicated local riding clubs were not unusual. What with the view of Lake Michigan to one side and the bluffs to the other, early mornings on weekends could find single files of skull capped Merx and Pinarello riders, gliding along the wide shoulders of Lake Drive. So many of those mornings, that big water resembled more of a mirror of the early morning skies than the place with rip tides it really is.

I'd only ever had the chance to ride there a handful of times. Most mornings I'd be finishing up a night on a motorcycle. Returning to its shores to watch the sun come up. Riding home with the sun warming my back.

I have to say I prefer a good bicycle to a motorcycle these days. And a Vespa to any motorcycle.

Ron, if you're not one to concern yourself with image, there isn't anything better than a modern Vespa in the real world. Any .45 will fit under the seat. But not in the glove box.

Harv


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LOL....imiage

Post  airgunbuff1 on Mon Mar 23, 2015 8:23 am

I could care less about what people think...... I have priced a few older Vespa's and damn they are expensive. I had one as a kid. I rode that old powder blue Vespa all over the keys. My grand father rebuild the thing twice. So what is a fair price for a used on in good repair???
My Para was kind of special.. I ordered it direct from the factory, this was back when they were all hand built in Chicago.
Mine had all campy parts, brooks saddle,,,,,,,,

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Re: So I've got the bicycling itch...

Post  Harvey on Mon Mar 23, 2015 6:32 pm

Any custom work was done in Waterford. And the Paramounts were made in Wisconsin. Pretty sure the fillet brazed models too. Now if you wanted something desirable, something really special, those were the ones to get. They came with Schwinn's version of the B17. I almost bought one a few years ago for a few hundred. A rare bird coming in at the end of the Chicago Schwinn era, before they started making bits overseas.

Vespa? Why own an old premix two stroke when you can have a four stroke that does a solid eighty mph? Besides, barn finds run from a few hundred to fifteen hundred and restored fetch four to five thousand. My last vintage was a 64 GL. Nice bike, but a two stroke premix. Learned to hate it.

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80 mph

Post  airgunbuff1 on Tue Mar 24, 2015 12:40 pm

on a Vespa ????? I think I might wet my pants..... had a tire blow out at 40 mph on a Vespa..... That was not pretty. I did manage to keep it up right thou.. Grand dad took a picture too. Kind of a before and after... put hair on my chest that's for sure. Laughing

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Love bicycling

Post  oldflathead on Sun Sep 24, 2017 2:27 pm

I am a "Newby" to this forum. Your post caught my interest. I have been a bicycle rider since 1948 at 10 years of age.  After my Marine Corps experience, I ended up in Southern California which was a bicyclist's heaven. I lived in Anaheim and kept my small sailboat in Long Beach, about 20 miles. I delighted in biking to the marina and going sailing. I often bragged the only fuel I used was the Coor's truck bringing beer to California.

As my interest grew, I began road racing, locally and in Mexico. Great sport!

In 1982 my wife and I had a custom made Santana Tandem made, which we loved. May 1985 we pedalled from Long Beach CA to New Haven, CT, 4,082 miles visiting family and friends. We averaged 16.2 MPH, visiting, camping and/or staying in a motel if it looked like rain. I was only 46 years old then and in great shape. We touched the Atlantic July 5.We boxed our tandem and flew back to SoCal, since we did not have time to pedal back. We had intended to pedal back across the USA and Canada, but sailed away in our Cal 46 sailboat in 1988 after retirement.


We discovered Bayou Chico in 1995 and bought a home on the water. In 2007, hip replacement surgery got infected and I was overdosed on the antibiotic Gentamicin, had a NDE, (Near Death Experience) and lost my vestibular system, i.e. No balance, with no cure. With great sadness, we sold our tandem a few years later. I have learned to walk again, but you can't ride a bike with no balance.

We will be happy to share our biking experiences.

Tom & Bobbie

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