Fifty Plus (50+) - What was your first bike?
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10-31-09, 07:17 AM
My dad bought me an old Schwinn 26" bike when I was 6. My legs wouldn't reach the ground, but I learned to ride it anyway. I painted it with some old maroon house paint. The Christmas I was 13 I received a new Schwinn Corvette 3-speed and thought I was really uptown. I rode that bike many miles on my paper route.
cranky old dude
10-31-09, 07:40 AM
I had a 20" Maroon Schwinn, then when I was 10 or 11 ( around 1961 or '62) my folks gave me a Columbia Thunderbolt. I rode that bike all over the county and there wasn't a part on it that I didn't personally handle at one time or another. I had at one time or another replaced all the bearing rings, the front fork, and a broken brake shoe in the Coaster Brake hub (I'm still amazed that it actually worked after that one)before finally it got tossed. It seemed like I always had that bike upside down on the garage floor for one reason or another. The tubes probably had more patch material than tube by the time I was done with it.
I consider this as my first bike.
I really miss that old bike. I found some pics on the internet of one that someone has restored.
10-31-09, 08:27 AM
Well, I taught myself to ride at age 5 1/2 by borrowing a friend's Schwinn Pixie. But my first bike was a 24" Fleetwing that I got for my sixth birthday. And like the OP, it was much too big for me, as the pedal blocks attest.
The bike was made in England and distributed by Jordan Marsh and associated stores. Unlike the Schwinns that everyone else had, it had narrow tires. I was the only kid in the neighborhood with one. The gearing was just slightly lower than the schwinns. So when all the neighborhood kids would ride together, everyone would be pedaling in sync, except for me, and I was spinning.
It suffered at my hands of course. After a couple of years, it's green paint became rusty from Florida weather, so it got a coat of yellow house paint. The handle bars became apehanger handle bars, and the seat got chopped up in a poor attempt to make a banana seat out of it. And as trashed as it became, it got stolen out of a bike rack with well over 100 other unlocked bikes.
Interesting though, is that except for the wald basket and pedal blocks, it's set up much like my current utility bike.
First ride was a mid 60's Mattel Stallion; a heavy chrome bike with rear shocks. I actually learned to ride in a Florida orange grove on that beast. Every tree was a magnet!
10-31-09, 09:31 AM
The first one I remember was a Western Auto bike with what I guess was 20" wheels and a coaster brake. Just a standard bike. No "gas tank" or anything stylish. The handlebars were similar to modern MTB riser bars but with more sweep. One of the main things I remember about that bike was my dad having to frequently have the handlebars re-welded after I would wreck the bike and break them.
10-31-09, 09:36 AM
How could I ever forget my first? 9 years old in 1946 and for Christmas received a brand new Schwinn Deluxe 26" bicycle! WOW! Had a horn built right in the cross bar and all you had to do was push a button. Sure didn't take long to run the batteries down the first time around the block. :) Two tone maroon/creme, "V" handlebars, whiteside wall tires, and it was the prettiest bike in the neighborhood! My first job later was running a paper route and did that for a couple of years. Wish I knew how many miles were put on that bike!
Mine was a Colson with 20" wheels, full fenders, and a rear kickstand that flipped up to clip onto a fitting on the back of the rear fender.
I was five years old, so I guess it was in 1947. We lived in the country so there were no paved roads, only gravel and dirt. That bike took a hell of a beating but lasted a long time.
It was a 1955 Columbia 26 inch, much too big for me, and nobody had heard of pedal blocks. It was several years before I could actually pedal it, and even that required the use of a step to climb on the thing. It was a beast, but much more convenient for routine transportation than most bikes sold today in the US. Not nearly as good as the British 3 speed I encountered a few years later, though.
That leads to a question for Stepfam -- why do the Brits make the best stuff in the world and then suddenly stop making it? This applies to bikes, cars, airplanes, and castles. Castles I can understand.
10-31-09, 10:08 AM
Into the "way back machine".....in the 1950's my first bike was a JC Higgins...with a headlight, tank, horn with a "button", and the red/white/blue plastic streamers coming out of the grips.....it was black and gold.......I remember the christmas that I got it....learned to ride in around october, borrowed a friend's bike to ride and then asked "santa".....looked like the photo.....
10-31-09, 10:20 AM
Learned on a 24" girls bike. Name had been painted over before dad got it so no idea what brand. The first one I considered mine was a 26" Coast King which was the Coast to Coast Hardware store brand. My brother ended up with a 26" Murray. They are both now at my brother's lake cabin with 2 speed rear ends.
First bike was way to big for me.All i remember was it was repainted blue with white fenders.Country boy so all dirt and gravel riding only.Taught myself to ride it.I remember first ride where i stayed upright, i tried riding it through the gate and hit gate post head on.I can still feel the pain Lol.Its a wonder that i ever was able to have kids.Like i said i still remember the pain.Funny now,not then.
Incidently it was fixed gear.Lotsa bruised shins to prove it.
Cant remember to be honest I can hardly remember what I did a year ago and in fact what are we talking about here?
It gets worse everyday.
I am sure it was a handmedown from one of my brothers but as I said....
I do remember a three speed I had, it had a little finger trigger shifter and it was a black bike.
Sorry for being so uninformed
10-31-09, 02:19 PM
I don't even know what my first bike was, even though I remember it vividly. It was a 20" red standard bike from the mid-'50s. My dad bought it used (or traded it for services, as was customary at the time) polished it up, painted it, and hand pinstriped it with a neat pinstriping tool he had. My grandmother always reminded me that it was her that taught me to ride, since she happened to be the person holding the back of my seat as I took off for my first ride of more than 5-6 feet across the front yard. I probably went 20. :) The bike had no distinguishing features that I can recall. I know it wouldn't be a Schwinn or other expensive bike. It would be a second or third had mass market bike like sold in hardware stores in our town. Department stores did not have bikes.
Second was a also used non-descript 24" bike that Dad got used and repainted/pinstriped. This one had had more repairs than the first, and I discovered one during a ride across a dip in the field. You know the trick,; get going as fast as possible downhill to make the uphill side easier. Except on the rough dirt track at the bottom, the weld in the steering tube parted. I momentarily was riding with handlebars and a couple inches of tube in hand, while the frame bounced off of the fork, and the broken portion of the steering tube headed my way. It hit me on the bone of my lowest right rib, punctured the skin, and then glanced off. Neighbor lady found me there bleeding in my t-shirt that I was using as a bandage and called my Dad. No serious damage, but it sure could have been. I got a tetinous [sp] shot, a scar, and a new bike out of the short ride.
The new bike was some sort of 26" S/A 3-speed twist grip purchased with S&H Green Stamps from the filling station. My brother got one just like it a few years later. I don't know what it was, but I recall that mine was English with 3-piece cottered crank, while his was American made with a one-piece crank. Otherwise they were nearly identical, down to the 2-tone green/white sprung vinyl saddle. Like an idiot, in the '70s, I decided that it would look better with an automotive candy apple gold metal flake paint job rather than the original green.
This was followed by a 5-speed knock-off of the stingray, with a sissy bar, and springer fork. I ordered it from Speigal in Chicago, and it was delivered to the house by REA freight. Silly, really, as I started driving just a few months later in 1969, and never really rode that one again.
In college in the '70s I bought a Corso for $80. This was the most bizarre collection of parts ever, having a mix of garbage and semi high end parts. Brooks leather saddle (I stupidly let go later), white Pirelli tires on heavy steel wheels, Simplex drive, Weinemann brakes etc. weighted over 30#. I kept this until I was almost 40, and sold it to a friend when I bought the Bridgestone RB-T in 1992.
So even with the recent addition of the Xtracycle and Dad's old unicycle, I've only had eight bikes in my 56 years.
Oh, wait. You said "first bike." Sorry, I got carried away... ;)
10-31-09, 02:42 PM
Dwight D. Eisenhower was president when my father bought my sister & me (we had to share) a little blue thing--AMF?--with training wheels that i just loved, & especially loved escaping that sister & disappearing for an afternoon of unfettered freedom. Bikes still mean unfettered freedom, and my bikes are still blue.
10-31-09, 02:48 PM
52 Huffy with a kisser on the back rack.
old and new
10-31-09, 02:53 PM
First ? doesn't count, a kiddie bike, fixed gear, hand me down.
First REAL Bike was a late '50 FireStone; front coil spring, 20' wheels. looked like a MotorCycle ... BEYOND PeeWee Herman.............................Still a hand me down.
52 Huffy with a kisser on the back rack.
I'm pretty sure I had a shirt like that; but my girlfriends weren't that cute.:p
10-31-09, 03:26 PM
Schwinn Typhoon, red. New in 1959.5, from Hutch's Bike Shop in Eugene, Oregon.
Also the first bike that I crashed on; overlapped another kid while coasting downhill, and training wheel brace hit his rear wheel, sending me onto the pavement and skinning up elbows and knees.
Later rode my sister's 3-speed (more gears triumphed over riding a "girl's bike") for a while, then had a Schwinn 3-speed - blue, also from Hutch's.
Summer '68, a Raleigh Grand Prix, grey and blue, from Collin's Cycle in Eugene.
Fall of '69, bought an upgraded Raleigh Super Course, green, from one of the Collin's Mechanics.
Spring '70, older brother shipped me his PX-10 (white); he was not able to ride the bike at the time, and shared it with me. It was stolen from my girlfriend's back yard in the fall of '71. I borrowed the Grand Prix from the fellow high-school student that I'd sold it to, since I rode my bike to school all the time.
February, '72, Stella Tour de France, orange, full Campagnolo including brakes.
Fall, '72 - Schwinn coaster brake/clunker with 2-speed hub, from a fellow college student for $25 or so, to ride on campus; "Stella" hung in dorm room window and was reserved for training rides.
Fall 2007, Miyata 512, yellow/black, eBay.
Summer 2008 - LeMond tandem, red, via a message board connection.
Fall 2008 - Univega Gran Turismo, light bronze-ish, eBay.
10-31-09, 03:40 PM
I'm amazed you guys can remember the exact models of your first bikes. I had a red bike for a while, and finally was given a blue English racer with three speeds Man that thing was fast.
I do remember doing stuff to the red bike. Rode it everywhere, even into the woods. Things were always coming off, or the handlebar would work its way loose, or whatever. Baseball cards in the spokes, streamers, baskets, you name it.
I wish I could remember what bike I used for my paper route. I had that bike for a long time.
Since I have always been coordination-challenged, I was not able to balance a bicycle until the summer I turned 12, when I bought a friend's Schwinn middleweight, with 26x1.75" tires, paperboy handlebars, and a 2-speed Bendix coaster hub with a gearshift which looked like a brake lever. I soon was hooked on bicycling, the only sport I have ever truly loved, and I managed to talk my father into buying me a low-end Bianchi 10-speed that Christmas.
For me, bicycling has been life-transforming and probaby lifesaving, and I owe my current level of cardiovascular fitness to 100,000 miles in the saddle.
10-31-09, 05:27 PM
First was a Trike- Secondhand when I was about 3 and it was Purple. No idea what happened to that one but the next was based on the Corgi bikes used by the Paratroopers in WWll. First real bike though was a Phillips 20" single speed in red. Had that for about 4 years before the Raleigh Trent tourist came along one summer. 3 speed and it got well used. Had it for about 8 years but when I went into the Marines- My dad sold it.
10-31-09, 05:38 PM
I can't remember my first bike, probably a 1951 or 1952, and I am pretty sure that it was 24". I could not reach the pedals so Dad, bolted on wood blocks to the pedals. Later in the 50's I got a 26" Columbia.
My first bicycle was a 20 inch with a coaster brake. I was about 6 years old. Before that, I had a tricycle. The first bike that I purchased was a 10 speed Schwinn Varsity.
10-31-09, 08:17 PM
A nice RollFast received for Christmas 1953. I think the original color was red. After a few years I painted it with Cream house paint...not a good job. Father had me sand that off and painted red again. Later sanded that and gave it a nice can spray of 1962 Ford Chestnut Brown. Went thru about 3 chain guards and three sets of fenders. Apparently didn't ride as much as I thought, as I never needed any new tires. Bike was stumped on in 1966 by some wasted Marines. While another later rebuilt. I left it at the base when I checked out..bikeless the next 15 years; although didn't really ride the 10 speed I bought next. Those skinny tires scared me at the time.
I got a Schwinn Streamliner for my 10th birthday in 1955. It was used, so I supposed it was a '54 model. It was red. I put a wald basket on the front and delivered papers. This isn't my bike, it's a shamelessly stolen image from the web.
10-31-09, 08:25 PM
17inch Schwinn, probably 1949....Red, single speed,,( OOOHHH!) ,, coaster brake...
I can't resist, Learned to ride on Saturdays, the fall of 1949. 25 cents / hour rentals. First bike that Christmas ( I was 10), was reconditioned from the LBS for $12. I remember the price cause i kicked in half, all my savings ! 26", and bright blue with chrome fenders. Had it till I was 16, Finally fixed a flat I'd had for 2 months and it was stolen 4 days later.
10-31-09, 08:54 PM
Here's mine; it's the smaller bike in front. Photo is my brother and I getting ready for a parade in my home town.
10-31-09, 09:11 PM
In our family, we had to ride hand-me-downs until we were 9 and we would get our own bike. I had to ride my sister's old bike while growing up. I had to ride it pretty hard and reckless to make up for all the teasing I had to take. (Sort of the "boy named Sue complex) When I was 9 I got my own Schwinn. I don't remember riding much once I got a car.
10-31-09, 11:27 PM
Into the "way back machine".....in the 1950's my first bike was a JC Higgins...with a headlight, tank, horn with a "button", and the red/white/blue plastic streamers coming out of the grips.....it was black and gold.......I remember the christmas that I got it....learned to ride in around october, borrowed a friend's bike to ride and then asked "santa".....looked like the photo..... IIRC, my J C Higgins was a pink-and-white two-tone. Since it was a "girl's" bike, it didn't have the gastank, but I remember the headlights (which never worked and were covered by the front basket anyway). Must've been '59 or '60. Remember those long-shackled Master locks?
10-31-09, 11:53 PM
I got one of those big-tired cruisers with a spring on the front (suspension?) when I was 8. It was too big for me. About 8 months later (1955?), I got a blue Sturmey-Archer 3 speed "Royal Sabre" for Christmas. It was just right. I may have still been riding it when I went to college.
11-01-09, 05:59 AM
I'll guess mine was a Schwinn - but this is the only photo I have ...
it's 1962 - Check out that groovy front basket ...
anyone know of this brand/model?
11-01-09, 06:51 AM
Schwinn Corvette Ad - Like my second bike
11-01-09, 06:55 AM
My first real bike was a Raleigh Grand Prix that my wife bought for me second hand in about 1969. She paid $85.00 for it. At the time, that was a huge deal because we didn't have $85.00. That was the bike that I learned (from necessity) to fix bikes with. It was my only bike for over 20 years. I don't have the bike anymore but I kept the wife.
11-01-09, 06:58 AM
There is never anything new. Here is a thread from 2005!! :lol:
What was your first bike? And when? (http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=118451)
Schwinn Corvette Ad - Like my second bike
Seems that everyone wanted the Phantom, but I would have gone with the 'Vette! :speedy:
11-01-09, 06:09 PM
Mine was a second hand Royce Union with 20" wheels. Not sure when I got it, but I loved it. After about two years, I "upgraded" it, (with help from grandpa, who just knew all about this stuff..) with a banana seat and hi-riser handlebars, all the rage at the time.
Man, I remember riding around all day with neighborhood guys, all on hi-riser bikes of one type or another. Ride to someone's house, ride to the school yard and play some ball, the usual stuff. During summer time, we'd do this most of the day, and well into the evening. Do kids do any of this anymore?
11-01-09, 06:24 PM
My parents wouldn't buy us bikes until we were 11 years old. They thought we'd be big enough to ride a "full-size" bike by then, and perhaps we'd still be alive if we didn't have bikes until we were 11. Of course, we all rode neighbors' bikes as soon as we could.
My first bike was a Raleigh English Racer with a three speed Sturmey-Archer rear hub. I don't know what model it was. We just called it an "English Racer". It was British racing green. It was stolen when I was in 7th grade from behind the junior high. I was too lazy to lock it up. Idiot! I sure wish I still had it - or a picture.
A maroon-and-cream coaster brake 1954 Schwinn with immensely fat tires....which I don't recall ever puncturing and which only occasionally got a squirt of air from the regular car compressor at the gas station. It was bought a few sizes up, to-grow-into, and had wooden blocks screwed to the pedals for contact with my short 8 year old legs. It was indestructible, weighed more than I, and ran forever with a rare squirt of 3-In-1 oil.
I love my current handmade steel with relatively sophisticated, finicky componentry.....that old Schwinn was more like a brother and taken for granted best friend to me growing up. I rode it through junior high before getting an English 3-speed.........another sweet bike which I callously discarded when I got my license. Foolish youth.
11-01-09, 09:02 PM
How the #$@#$#$# did Schwinn go bankrupt? Seems like every kid in the USA had one.
My first true bike(after the 20inch handme down to learn on) was a Schwinn Racer model. I may have been ahead of the curve. It was of course a single speed with coaster brakes but it had drop bars.
About 5 min. after I got it home I started making it lighter. It was about 10 pounds lighter than most of the bikes in the Schwinn line to start with. Chain guard went first.
It stuck with me that the owner of the LBS told me, "Son this is way too much bike for you". Talked my parents into buying it anyway.
Wish I still had that thing.
11-02-09, 08:42 AM
Got my first bike, a J.C. Higgins from Sears, Roebuck, Co., in 1962. A red 24" coaster brake. Got stolen in 1966. My first real road bike was a 1972 Bottecchia Special (white, all Campagnolo Valentino.)
11-02-09, 08:51 AM
The first bike I remember was a Schwinn Stingray. I used the bike on trails and fell in love with cycling. My first road bike was a 1972 Schwinn Paramount. I still own this bike today.
At the age of 15, I graduated from cutting lawns to start my first real job at George Garner Cyclery in Northbrook, IL. George Garner Cyclery was a performance oriented shop with a large volume of racing bikes sold.
Northbrook has a Velodrome. A wide range of competition fixies, road bikes and touring bikes were always available to demo. I worked with frame builders & racers including Ron Roi. It was demanding but fun, I was very lucky to be there.
I spent 80% of my summer & weekend income on a Road Race Paramount bicycle. Fully lugged, top of the line Reynolds tubing, Full Campagnolo Neovo Record group, wood filled tubular rims.
I still have the bike, I'm the original owner. New in 1972, I had the bike rebuild at the Chicago factory in 1983. It has been lightly used since.
Ignore the wheelset, they are a mismatch and not original.
11-02-09, 09:04 AM
What I consider my "first" bike was an Indian three speed, and I put many a mile on that one.
11-02-09, 09:16 AM
How the #$@#$#$# did Schwinn go bankrupt? Seems like every kid in the USA had one.
Not everyone. all my bikes came from Sears, Western Auto or J.C. Penney. I saved lawn mowing money all summer to get a 5 speed Spyder bike from Penney's and it was the nicest bike in my neighborhood and beyond. Only the rich kids on the other side of town had Stingrays.
11-02-09, 09:58 AM
First was a Trike- Secondhand when I was about 3 and it was Purple.
I had a tricycle at that age. It ended up underneath Dad's 1950 Oldsmobile after I left it in the driveway. Ooops.
11-02-09, 11:06 AM
My brother had a red 26" Schwinn that I couldn't stay off of, even though(at 7 years old) I wasn't even close to tall enough to ride! I kept getting skinned up pushing it off from steps and curbs, then falling every time I stopped. I ended up getting a gold stingray for Christmas, and rode that thing in the ground over the next few years. Great times.:thumb:
11-02-09, 12:41 PM
I think my first bike in 1947 or 8 was a Firerstone;The first thing I did was take the fenders and chainguard off to get it lightened for the Saturday race around the housing project of Sagamore village Why someone didnt get killed in that great fun ill never no./Kenneth
11-02-09, 01:24 PM
I am guessing mine was a Western Auto 24" coaster brake bike red in color. I cannot remember the year, but I am guessing late 1950's. I do remember getting a Schwinn 26" with a Sturmey-Archer 3 speed, black and silver for Christmas around 1963. That bike was never left without the kickstand down. You would have thought I just gotten a $$ million dollars.
11-02-09, 01:36 PM
My first bike was a Ross Professional Gran Tour II. I found it one day in the pawn shop.
When I bought it, it had two mirrors, and huge rear baskets. Over time it became a full rigged touring bike and/or car-free bike.
11-02-09, 02:14 PM
I was in Jr. High and my memory is somewhat foggy.
My first bike started as a "name unknown" cantilever frame with 24" wheels. It was definitely not a Schwinn, as the top bar was the doubled bar, and not a single bar like the Schwinns.
I then had a Western Flyer 5 speed...
When I broke the frame on the 5 speed, I played scavenger.
I took the rims off of the wheels, and laced them to the 3 speed hub on the no-name bike. So, I had some 26 x 1-3/8 wheels that I squeezed in (I had to slightly bend the brake bridge to squeeze in the wheels) It evolved to have a banana seat and a set of rams horn bars. I rode that bike through high school and it and I parted ways when I went to boor camp, never to be reunited. I miss that bike.
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