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Old 07-02-05, 12:47 AM   #1
taylor8
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What was your first bike? And when?

My first bike was a 26 inch Columbia that dad had to take back and trade for a 24 inch Columbia bike, that fit. Christmas 1958.
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Old 07-02-05, 08:36 AM   #2
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My first bike was a Rollfast with a tank and a built-in horn and balloon tires (sort of like a classic Schwinn). I won it in an essay contest when I was eleven. It was so heavy it took me a year to learn to ride it. This was around 1950.
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Old 07-02-05, 11:11 AM   #3
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Black Schwinn "Deluxe American" with two speed hub, coaster brakes, wire saddle baskets, combination light and horn, two tone black & white seat with big S on top, and some kind of weird spring loaded front rack. Wire baskets were great for hauling dogs around. Christmas 1961 I think. I was about 9.
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Old 07-02-05, 11:54 AM   #4
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1st bike was in 52 when I was 4, lasted till I was 9 when a phillips 20" bike was bought. Then around 1960 Raleigh Trent Tourist which I had till I went into the forces 5 years later. No more bikes till 1990 when I went out and bought a 12 speed Apollo- mountain style bike. This started me off on my current hobby of retaining the fitness I had lost over the previous 20 years. I can still remember that 1st bike- 12" solid wheels, handle bars that kept coming loose, no cars on the roads in the London Suburbs where I lived so no danger when the brakes stopped working. Happy days that I did not get back till I started to go Offroad with the Apollo.
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Old 07-02-05, 02:57 PM   #5
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A '55 Wards Hawthorne tanker - sealed beam headlight with a lantern battery in the tank. Weighed more than me, but what a great sidekick for many years. My first taste of exhilarating wind-in-the-face downhill blasts.............those sensations are as intense today as they were then.
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Old 07-02-05, 03:12 PM   #6
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My dad always bought used bikes - single speeds, which we all sort of shared and, I guess, is why I am not a fan of the "single speed" forum. Hey, I learned on single speeds.

My first "real" bike was a Hercules 3 speed Sturmey Archer shifter with both hand brakes and in-hub brakes. This was probably in about 1948-9, when I was about 10.

I went on to a Schwinn paper boys bike which I pedaled up and down steep hills with a full load of to-be-delivered papers loaded in saddle bags on the back rack. That thing was HEAVY! A tire pressure of about 40 was recommended.
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Old 07-02-05, 09:33 PM   #7
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Mine was a Colson with 20" tires, 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.
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Old 07-03-05, 05:23 AM   #8
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A twenty inch Green Royce Union in 1958. I was 6 years old. It was really neat. For some reason, I recollect that there was an elaborate badge on the head tube. It probably came from Montgomery Wards...
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Old 07-03-05, 02:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DnvrFox

My first "real" bike was a Hercules 3 speed Sturmey Archer shifter with both hand brakes and in-hub brakes. This was probably in about 1948-9, when I was about 10.

I went on to a Schwinn paper boys bike which I pedaled up and down steep hills with a full load of to-be-delivered papers loaded in saddle bags on the back rack. That thing was HEAVY! A tire pressure of about 40 was recommended.
Wasn't 10 then But I always admired a lad that had a "Hercules" with the old style rod/Rim brakes and the Sturmey Archer. I now admire you aswell, because I thought the Hercules was heavy when I eventually rode one in 1960, so if that Schwinn was heavier than that, then I take my hat off to you.
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Old 07-03-05, 03:48 PM   #10
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so if that Schwinn was heavier than that, then I take my hat off to you.
That Schwinn had 100+ papers for delivery in the saddlebags. It must have weighed 60-70 lbs or more, and I rode it up and down hills, carefully throwing the papers on to peoples' porches - we called it "porching" the paper, or "the paper was porched."

For "porching" a paper, we hoped to earn a tip of 25 cents each month!

Eventually, I followed the lead of some older paper boys who slung the saddlebags over their heads onto their shoulders and walked the route. I started at 4:30 am each day.
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Old 07-03-05, 05:50 PM   #11
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Generic fixed-gear 16inch wheel girls bike. 1957
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Old 07-03-05, 06:16 PM   #12
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22'' Columbia, It was an orange red and was the fastest bike on the block..This was around 51..
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Old 07-03-05, 06:52 PM   #13
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What I can't understand is how you can all REMEMBER the names of your first bikes. Whoa! What I remember is a red single speed bike with coaster brakes that flew like the wind and carried 45 newspapers in bags off the back, went everywhere I did, got treated with very little respect, got ridden in the woods as well as on the street, and was even the vehicle with which I thought I could start a neighborhood circus.

For that little adventure, I was riding shirtless, and decided to try standing, yes STANDING, on my saddle and riding no hands from a standing position. I must have lasted about ten feet before crashing, and doing a belly slam on the side of the road, which was loose gravel. I'm told you could hear me screaming for miles around. I can still remember my mother picking cinders out of my skin.

Later I got something called an English racer with three speeds and that was a blast. But my red bike, probably a Schwinn or a Murray but who knows? will always be my favorite memory.

About 1958-65.
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Old 07-03-05, 10:03 PM   #14
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Mine was a Schwinn coaster bike for little guys, and I was about 6 (1951 or so). All I remember is that it was blue, and had metal fenders. I remember the fenders because when we were playing out in the front yard one evening, I tripped over it, fell against the fender, and cut my hand pretty badly. It took six stitches (I just counted them). Amount two weeks later, I fell on the steps going from our garage to the house, and opened that cut again, and got another 4 stitches. But I rode that bike all over the neighborhood.

I recently got this photo of my two sons on my older son's first bicycle. This is from about 1985. I gave Brian a copy of the photo. Here it is.

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Old 07-04-05, 01:00 PM   #15
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I found the details about my first bike's make & model by using Google search. As I was looking through the classic bike descriptions and pictures, more and more recollections came back to me. Finally I found a picture of a bike exactly like the one I had and knew that one was it. So that's how I was able to identify it by make and model.
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Old 07-04-05, 03:22 PM   #16
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Western Auto coaster brake with the "cruiser" style curved top tube/seat stays. Lasted till high school when someone swiped it from behind the A&P where I was a bag boy.
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Old 07-04-05, 03:36 PM   #17
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I also had a Western Auto ,around 61 red with white rims, might have said Western Flyer on it.
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Old 07-04-05, 03:58 PM   #18
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My first bike was a blue Raleigh Super Course. During high school I got my first summer job at the cannery. I worked hard to earn the money to buy this first bike. All my friends bought Schwinns, but I wanted a Raleigh. I really liked this bike, but unfortunately it was stolen within the year.

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Old 07-05-05, 10:36 AM   #19
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J. C. Higgins with a 3-speed Sturmey Archer hub, in about 1951. I think it was English. In Canada we had closer ties then with Britain than the USA, so the Schwinns were rare (we never could figure out why you wanted those heavy bikes). The Canadian bike of prominence was CCM, which we said stood for "crapiest crate made", and of course Raleigh was common.
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Old 07-05-05, 10:42 AM   #20
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I had this little bike (started with training wheels) I don't remember who made it but I got it in about 1965. The top bar was removable so that my sister could ride it when I outgrew it. I remember my father spending hours with me running down the street holding the seat and then just letting me go from the top of a hill. Each time ending in a wonderful crash. Finally one morning while my parents were still asleep I went outside and just went riding down the street. I've been riding ever since.
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Old 07-05-05, 12:43 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Digital Gee
What I can't understand is how you can all REMEMBER the names of your first bikes. Whoa!
How could you not remember your first love and first taste of freedom!
I still remember my first crash I slammed into a parkec car and scratched it real bad. My dad had to pay to have it fixed then I got my tailend lit up. I seemed to get my tial lit up a lot growing up.

My Columbia gave up the ghost after many years of paperboy duties. The frame cracked at the headstock. There was a crippled up light blue English three speed, it only had one gear that worked and you can guess which one that was. It was many years before I got a new bike. I was in the Navy and got a YELLOW Schwinn Contental, I had to have American Iron, which was stolen about 10 years later. Then came the black Schwinn Super Le Tour with chorme ends on the fork. I still own it and love it, put 9 miles on it yesterday. A silver Rockhopper 05 joined the stable in late April.

Joe

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Old 07-19-05, 12:44 PM   #22
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My first bike was a SUN in electric blue,horrible ten speed benelux setup that needed constant adjustment,GB brakes that didn't have the greatest effect on the steel rims , whitewall tyres and Wrights leather saddle.My parents bought it me for my 13th birthday and it was the best thing I ever got in my whole life - I loved it but passed it to my brother when I enlisted. Many and better bikes later I can't reproduce the feeling of freedom I got at that time.
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Old 07-19-05, 07:14 PM   #23
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My first bike was a 26 inch Baronia made in West Germany. I was 8 years old and had to use blocks to reach the pedals. In order to stop, I had to plan to reach a curb or become an alto. My folks made up their minds that they would buy one bike and it was up to me to grow into it. I wanted a Schwinn real bad, but they were a few dollars more so the Baronia was the bike I received. It was maroon and white with white rims and black tires. There was absolutely nothing cool about this bike, but it was mine and it was reliable, failing only once in seven years of play, newsboy and delivery boy duties. I only saw one other Baronia in my life. It too was maroon and white with black tires.
Years later, when a lady I was dating brought me back to biking, I bought the brand that was the coolest bike I had seen as a child, a Raleigh 10 speed.
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Old 07-19-05, 08:31 PM   #24
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I biked when we lived in the 'burbs, then stopped when we moved to the inner city in my 5th grade. I remember an all-chrome single speed Schwinn cruiser with the fake gas tank. It had a "Vroom" that sounded like a motorcycle when you cranked it. I was just a little too old for the Stingrays, but I remember wanting one real bad when they first came out.

I lived in France for a year when I was 17, and bought my first 10 speed there. I don't know who made it, but it was green and cost $300, a hell of a lot of money for me at the time. I don't remember what I did with it when I came back to the States, but after that I didn't get on a bike again for almost 30 years.

My first bike then (about 3 years ago) was a X-mart "mountain" bike that I got used for $30 and joyously killed in about 6 months.
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Old 07-20-05, 09:08 AM   #25
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My first bike was a 26 inch Columbia, maroon and cream. I think it was 1956. It was way to big for me. My father would get me going at the top of a long, grassy hill on our property, and I would hang on for dear life as I zoomed down. Once I reached the flat, I pedaled as hard as I could. However, I eventually lose speed and fall over. A year ot two later, I was able to jump on the bike if I first climber up a foot or so on a step or rock. All trips had to end at some similarly tall object so as not to fall over. After a month of this, I could do jump mounts and dismounts, and was soon enjoying the freedom and adventure of 18 and twenty mile trips. When I was fourteen, I started biking in the snow. I also explored steep dirt trails up in the woods.

That Columbia was a heavy bike, but it came with fenders and a chainguard. It rarely got a flat (although, when it did, the patch kit required vulcanizing with a match), required little maintenance, and was virtually indestructable. Consequently, it was much better transportation than what todays bike shops typically offer.

On the other hand, it's easy to make the old days better than they really were. My current bike must be ten pounds lighter, and has all the good features of the Columbia. In addition, it has seven speeds, front and rear brakes, front and rear lights, and a generator. It is clearly a much better bike. Then again, it probably costs ten times what the Columbia did.

Nothing can match the memory of struggling the top of Ben Sherman hill in the heat, mirages shimmering over the black road, bathing suit and towel neatly rolled on the rack, and realizing that the cool waters of Lake Quassapaug were only a few miles away and there were no more hills separating me from them and the friends who waited there for me. My present bike, alas, cannot take me there.

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