Fat Guy on a Little Bike
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Bikes: Two wheeled ones
Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
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I'll just reprint it - I didn't think many would be interested in the back story:
When I was 12, my family was out driving to breakfast and we passed a tandem that was out with the trash in our neighborhood. I said I counted three seats and my dad said I was imagining it. We argued briefly, and much to my mom's annoyance, we backed up to settle the dispute. I was right...it was a Schwinn Triplet being thrown out in the trash. My dad and I looked at each other smiling, while my mom groaned, knowing the garage just got messier. We knocked on the door to make sure it was being thrown out, and the owner told us it was our's if we wanted it, but that it had a lot of problems. We walked it home while my mom and sis sighed and rolled their eyes. Women!
We found that it was difficult...the bike was rough and had a dented rim. This happened in 1986'ish, so there was no internet for used parts. We weren't bike people...we just thought it was a cool bike and worth fixing up. The rims are 650b, almost unheard of in most bike shops circa 1986 and we're pretty sure that's why the previous owner tossed it out. We took it to a local shop, who insisted we couldn't get tires for it and he changed out the bad rim with a 26 inch MTB rim...it BARELY fit. Again, we weren't bike people and didn't know any better. We had the misfortune of going to a lousy (and dishonest) shop which, for some reason, had a good rep then. Keswick CYcles in Glenside. My dad decided to check other sources for the tire before we replaced the other rim.
The next month involved about $100 (1980s dollars!!!) worth of long distance phone calls looking for parts and information. This is pre-wireless, when you had to pay for calls. We even ended up on the phone with Richard Schwinn. Finally we learned about a new shop called Via in center city that sold old parts. That was the beginning of a beautiful relationship. Curtis, Via's owner, had recently sold a triplet to a gentleman some of you might know from the CR list...he was updating his to Phill Woods hubs, Dura Ace parts, he had Bilenky weld on an extra top tube...and he generously gave us many of his old parts for use on our bike's restoration. We found we could get the tires from Via and that they weren't nearly as difficult to source as Keswick had led us to believe. My family had a lot of fun with this bike and it was the gateway drug to my current addiction.
I left for college and the bike sat in their garage for 20 years. I finally got it down to philly and the Via gang did a fantastic job on it...far better than we had it running back then. All the bearings overhauled, chain guards, new chains, new tires, restored rim...it rides like a dream. Which brings us to today...
A dream fulfilled. My wife now actively enjoys riding it and we took it all through town today. It almost felt like we were spreading joy - everyone who saw us just smiled and many commented how fun it looked. It was amazing, and I hope you folks appreciate some of the photos!