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Old 12-30-06, 08:23 PM   #1
tarmusic
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Riding vintage bikes on group rides

I'm just getting back into road bikes after a long hiatus (during which I've been riding a hybrid),

I own two vintage Schwinns- a Continental that I bought new in 1974, and a '71 Super Sport that I recently bought off eBay. They both ride like Cadillacs, but I'm really enjoying the Super Sport. I like the idea of riding a vintage American-made bike! It's got soul.

I'm planning to do some long rides with groups this Spring. I have two questions:

(1) What kind of responses (compliments/heckling/etc.) do you guys/gals get when you show up with your vintage Raleighs, Schwinns, etc.?

(2) Does having "only" ten speeds put you at any kind of disadvantage?

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Old 12-30-06, 08:28 PM   #2
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Most folks appreciate the vintage metal. The older riders will sometimes even wax poetically about their old bikes. Gerry
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Old 12-30-06, 08:34 PM   #3
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I did the Hotter'N Hell Hundred this year with another 11,000 cyclists and got a lot of good comments about my early 80's steel. At local rides too, club rides, doesn't matter. If you got the legs to hang with the group, doesn't matter what you're riding.
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Old 12-30-06, 10:03 PM   #4
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Last ride I took on my Carlton, I got plenty of compliments, and only one curmudgeonly response ("Lose your derailleur?" Har dee har har). But now, all I have is vintage, so I really have no choice. I find that the vintage bikes stand out, and get more attention.
Here's the Carlton Crit

Edit: tried to link image directly, didn't work. Never does for me.
Oh, and I ride with usually only one speed, so I can't say that 10 would be a problem at all.
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Old 12-30-06, 11:08 PM   #5
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The Super Sport ought to provide the most entertaining responses. The cognoscenti will recognize it; the clueless whippersnappers will think it's a Varsity.
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Old 12-31-06, 12:04 AM   #6
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Last year, I did a group credit card tour with a local club on my Mondia. 54 miles out, overnight at a hotel in Oldtown Sacramento, and 52 miles back. No one seemed to notice the bike on the way in, until we got to the hotel. I leaned my Mondia up against a wall in the shade and went to check in (wife and kid were standing guard). When I came out, there was a small crowd standing in a semi-circle around it. As I walked over to talk with my girls, a couple of fellows turned to me and asked, "Izzat your bike?".

When I nodded in the affirmative, I was hit with a flood of questions and declarations of admiration...... they were fascinated by it. Made all the work and expense worthwhile, right there.

WARNING - gratuitous bike porn ahead:





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Old 12-31-06, 12:10 AM   #7
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Always fun to answer the question "how old is that bike?"

"Older than you"
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Old 12-31-06, 02:20 AM   #8
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A few weeks ago, I did a short group ride (~20 miles) on an old low-end Fuji. No one heckled or complimented. There was also a sweet, grandmotherly woman in great shape who rode an ancient little Bianchi. As cuda2k said, as long as you can keep up--which is more about being in shape than about the bike--you should be perfectly fine. If you're going to do a longer ride, just be sure you're up to it.

As for # of speeds: I say learn to use your 10 speeds efficiently, slowly build up your endurance and skill over time, and you should be fine. In any case, range of gears is more important than # of combinations. I have a 40-52 double, and a 14-28 freewheel, and that range works okay for me even with the hills here.

I think more people should do group rides with their older bikes to make a statement. Unless you're racing, vintage steel, even the lower-end stuff, is just as good as the latest and greatest.
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Old 12-31-06, 02:41 AM   #9
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That mondia is amazing.

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Old 12-31-06, 08:40 AM   #10
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I've only gotten positive comments, especially when riding my Jack Taylor. But tomorrow I may put this to the ultimate test. I'll be doing a New Years Day ride with a group I've never ridden with. Some wet snow is predicted overnight. If it's still sloppy at the 1PM start I'll be riding my "shopper", a woman's frame Raleigh Sport 3 speed (upgraded to a 5 speed hub) with Walds biggest steel "Newsboy" backets.
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Old 12-31-06, 08:50 AM   #11
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That mondia is amazing.
+1. That is some serious bike porn.
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Old 12-31-06, 08:53 AM   #12
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That would make bossman the fluffer, right?
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Old 12-31-06, 09:33 AM   #13
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It might have to do with getting older, but I'm becoming more and more inclined to do the exact opposite of what everybody else is doing!

I'm enjoying these responses. Thanks!
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Old 12-31-06, 09:35 AM   #14
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Well considering the last two "group" rides I went on were vintage steel rides you would fit right in, in fact one of them was primarily Internal geared hubs, the stand outs were a Raleigh International, a Flying Scot and a Bate Diadrant there was also a Curly Hetchins (don't recall which model but it was a Crit bike...no water bottle bosses)

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Old 12-31-06, 09:36 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mastershake916
That mondia is amazing.
+1 Beautiful!

Love the clean classic lines

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"Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
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Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
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Old 12-31-06, 10:24 AM   #16
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I like to ride 3-speeds on club "C" rides. I don't shift gears much anyway and I can hang with all but the fastest riders but it's fun just to relax and not have to go all out all the time.
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Old 12-31-06, 11:01 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by smurfy
I like to ride 3-speeds on club "C" rides. I don't shift gears much anyway and I can hang with all but the fastest riders but it's fun just to relax and not have to go all out all the time.
I am a "D" rider...I don't normally ride with the crowd...I like to wander off too much, the road less traveled, etc, etc.

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Old 12-31-06, 11:21 AM   #18
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When the weather is warm a group of local riders have vintage ride days. The requirement for being an official participant in the vintage ride is having a bike at least 15 years old with all components of the appropriate age. Anyone may ride any bike of course but the real purpose is to celebrate bikes of the past. Appropriate vintage clothing to match your bike is a plus! The only down side to this is the fact that nice old bikes are harder to obtain in this area as every biker wants a vintage bike to ride on vintage group days. I've been riding an Schwinn World Sport but this year I obtained a 1989 Raleigh SuperCourse with all original components including bar tape with the Raleigh bird emblem and Raleigh printed on the tape.
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Old 12-31-06, 11:27 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tarmusic

(1) What kind of responses (compliments/heckling/etc.) do you guys/gals get when you show up with your vintage Raleighs, Schwinns, etc.?

(2) Does having "only" ten speeds put you at any kind of disadvantage?
Tarmusic,

Welcome and enjoy your ride.

As to 1), the response varies. My riding mates know and love "Mimi", my '68 or '69 Peugeot U08. I ride reasonably fast and long and keep up reasonably well (by sucking a fair amount of wheel! ) They expect to see me on her and don't say much at all.

On the other hand, at a ride like the Hotter N Hell, it's always surprising the number of positve comments I get, even by guys in their twenties who can tell what Mimi is. The people at Oklahoma triathlons are absolutely encouraging when she is racked sporting vintage Scott aero-bars.

As to 2), it is a disadvantage to ride an old 27 pound 10-speed downtube friction-shift Peugeot. It's also a disadvantage to be 56 years old and weigh 200 pounds. So what? We always finish in time for beer!

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Old 12-31-06, 12:03 PM   #20
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I haven't ridden a vintage bike in an organized ride yet, but I have ridden a comfort bike, and received positive response. I think people are impressed when someone on "inferior" equipment is able to complete the distance, even if I can't keep up...

This year, I hope to complete a century, and it will be on an early 70's Sears lugged steel bike with upgraded components everywhere... Alloy wheels, aero levers. 6 speed indexed rear (megarange), cotterless triple crank Shimano Deore LX rear derailleur, Campagnolo front derailleur and a Brooks saddle... I know I shouldn't mix Campy and Shimano, but I need just a little bling.

I know in the last ride I did, a couple of bikes caught my eye... the ones with non-aero brake levers and lugged steel frames. The exposed brake cables caught my eye on a couple as they passed me.

If I decide to do a short organized ride (under 20 miles or so) I will consider doing it on my 1955 Schwinn Corvette... That ought to get a few looks.
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Old 12-31-06, 01:44 PM   #21
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[QUOTE=bigbossman]
When I nodded in the affirmative, I was hit with a flood of questions and declarations of admiration...... they were fascinated by it. QUOTE]


Very nice Mondia

Yeah something like that happened to me too, and I was'nt prepared for it. My son and I were about to leave the LBS one Saturday morning when the bike shop group riders all came rolling in on their Trek Madones and Lightspeeds. Man these guys were dressed to kill, and in good shape. Son and I just stood there watching them while we were straddling our bikes, me on my Tommasini and my son on my old Fuji. We were kinda impressed because these guys looked like pros, and so did their bikes, and there must've been a dozen of them too.

Next thing I knew all these serious looking dudes are coming over and flocking around me and my son. It was rediculous, but for a minute I thought they were all going to jump me, thats how startled I was. Well these guys start flooding me with questions about my bike, asking me about the frame and the paint, and how old it was, stuff like that. It was crazy. They really seemed interested that it was a 'Columbus SL' frame, and I even heard some of the older riders explaining that to the younger riders, who I guessed never heard of Columbus. They told me how beautiful my bike was, and to take care of it, so with that we rode off with my head swelled up so tight I thought it was going to bust.

Crazy day
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Old 12-31-06, 03:24 PM   #22
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That Mondia IS gorgeous!

Before I had it repainted properly, I rode the 1959 Capo on a few vintage bike rides, where it did get noticed, despite its dull Rustoleum paint job. This year, when I rode it to the start of the RAAM, only a couple of folks commented on it, but the response was at least positive. I rode it to church the day the Bishop ( http://archives.umc.org/interior.asp?ptid=1&mid=9771 ), an avid bicyclist, was giving a guest sermon, and she was duly impressed.
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Old 12-31-06, 05:22 PM   #23
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Two thoughts on riding vintage with modern:

1. If you get heckled, just tell them to f*** off and go find somebody else to ride with. That kind of attitude is completely infantile and inexcusable.

2. Only having a five speed rear is not necessarily a disadvantage. In my collection, I've got one two fives, two sixes, and a nine. The best one of the bunch for riding in my area is the Rossin with the six speed freewheel - I've got it geared to the point that most of my shifting goes from the third cog (slight uphills) to the fourth cog (flats and slight downhills) and back. It works wonderfully. Odds are you've probably got an old standard 14-28 rear, which covers the first eight gears of the usual modern ten speed cassette - the gaps are just bigger. And most modern bikes, IMHO, are way overgeared for my riding style. On my 9-speed Fuji, I'm gathering additional low end cogs to beef up the low and middle, and get rid of three of the fourth top ones. If I gotta have all those gears, I'd rather have ones that I can actually use.
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Old 12-31-06, 05:40 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tarmusic
I'm just getting back into road bikes after a long hiatus (during which I've been riding a hybrid),

I own two vintage Schwinns- a Continental that I bought new in 1974, and a '71 Super Sport that I recently bought off eBay. They both ride like Cadillacs, but I'm really enjoying the Super Sport. I like the idea of riding a vintage American-made bike! It's got soul.

I'm planning to do some long rides with groups this Spring. I have two questions:

(1) What kind of responses (compliments/heckling/etc.) do you guys/gals get when you show up with your vintage Raleighs, Schwinns, etc.?

(2) Does having "only" ten speeds put you at any kind of disadvantage?

1) None whatsoever from the group I ride with, In fact everybody is interested and supportive of my vintage obsession.

2) Sometimes not having STI is a disadvantage. Being able to easily shift up or down in the middle of a hill is extremely handy. Sometimes on longer climbs the gearing gets to me (14-21 freewheel). But all in all it's not a problem keeping up with the fastest in the group as long as you have plenty of miles on your legs. ENJOY!
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Old 12-31-06, 06:42 PM   #25
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That's interesting, Sykerocker, and I agree. My hybrid is a 21-speed, and I have to shift a LOT. Of course, shifting is easier because it's done from the grips (and indexed!), but it's still too much.

My ultimate goal is to get an old Paramount. Don't know why I'm taken with the old Schwinns... unless it's because I had to ride a Western Flyer as a kid!

Last edited by tarmusic; 12-31-06 at 06:54 PM.
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