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  1. #76
    Legs; OK! Lungs; not! bobthib's Avatar
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    By definition, anyone qualified to be in this forum was around in the 70's
    BT
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  2. #77
    akrider akwoodworker's Avatar
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    My first memory of bicycling was my head rising and falling, looking over and under the handlebars. It was a old girls bike and I think I taught myself how to ride. At 13 my dad got me a firestone 500 bicycle that I had for many years. Here in Alaska there was no bike boom in the village but my best friend and I bought schwinn continentals with water bottle cages and rode a lot during the summer. Filling the bottles with boones farm and riding around was a blast. Most village people thought we were crazy and maybe we were.

  3. #78
    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
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    Fad: An intense and widely shared enthusiasm for something, esp. one that is short-lived; a craze."

    I don't think it could be called a fad. The 70's might have been a blip in the cyclic growth of bicycle use.

    This bike cost me a 2 weeks pay in 1973. It was upgraded, and raced hard for about ten years. It was ridden recreationally for another 25 years. I just sold it to a young vintage bike enthusiast for twice what I paid for it when new. It was the first "good" bike that I had; unless I count the Columbia my dad fixed up for my 7th Christmas.

    Peugeot PX10

  4. #79
    Dharma Dog lhbernhardt's Avatar
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    I lived in Oakland, CA in the early 70's (before moving to Vancouver), and there definitely was a bike boom in the SF Bay Area!

    What do you believe attracted people to bikes in the 1970s?
    The oil crisis was the biggie. Cars lined up at gas stations trying to get what gasoline was available. Bikes were cheap to buy and operate. Pugnacious Americans wanted to "put it to the Arabs!" by switching to bikes. Plus there was the physical fitness movement. They started doing the "Presdient's Award" in the US for doing physical activity. Around the same time in Canada, there was a government agency called Participaction, and they had a famous TV ad comparing a 30-year-old Canadian to a 70-year-old Swede. The famous Swede would be running rings around the fat Canadian. This did a lot to shame people into doing physical stuff. I remember one comedy sketch they did on CBC around this time. An ad agenzy was trying to come up with slogans for Participaction. The one I remember is, "Avoid myocardial infarction, get your arse in arction!"

    Was cycling, in the 1970s, a individualistic type of sport? Or was it a sport that people built communities around?
    Mostly individualistic from my perspective, although if you were really serious you joined a club. Also, the East Bay Bicycle Coalition was just getting started at that time. This was a bunch of activists, mostly older people.

    Were the majority of cyclists in the 1970s riding to race? Or just for the enjoyment of getting out on a bike?
    In Oakland, racers were always visible doing laps around Lake Merritt, a 3-mile loop. But even in the Bay Area, racing was not highly visible. Even when Peter Rich's 1971 Tour of California was in town, I only saw a bunch of Ford Pintos with bikes on top cruising around Berkeley. Plus some posters, I think. I've still got the race program somewhere. Along with a copy of Tom Cuthbertson's "Anybody's Bike Book," probably a Berkeley phenomenon, but WAY better than Richard's Bike Book. It paved the way for all of the "Idiot's Guides" books!

    Do you think the introduction of the 10-speed derailer peaked people's interest in biking?
    Yes. "10-speeds" were the default bikes (until much later, when MTB's came along). The "English Racer" (3-speed) was looked down upon.

    Were people buying bikes in the 1970s buying bikes for the first time? Or were they upgrading to something better?
    Definitely first bikes.

    Was the bike boom just a fad?
    Yes, for those who were not serious or passionate. And then there were guys like me.

    Do you have any stories about your experiences racing in the 1970s?
    I was in a breakway once with a small group that contained Gary Fisher. He took the lead, then jumped his bike over a railroad track. Then he turned and told us not to do that; he'd seen so many guys crash doing that! Also, one of my first races was the Crockett-Martinez road race. I was at the back of the A field just trying to stay with the big peleton. Owen Mulholland, THE cycling journalist of the time, was riding next to me, and noting my inexperience, he told me just to relax, it would be OK. And the winner of that race (ahead of US Olympian Keith Mowen, who was famous for his 700-mile training weeks) was a 15-year-old kid named Tom Ritchey. He had built his own bottom bracket that he was racing on. But he was disqualified because he was too young!

    Was cycling an "elitist" sport in the 70s?
    No, nobody knew what it was!

    Do you think people were attracted to cycling in the 70s as a form of escapism from the pressures of society?
    No idea.

    What prompted your interest in bikes?
    I wanted to be a "fancy racer," just like those guys riding around Lake Merritt.

    What prompted your interest in competitive cycling?
    I didn't like traditional sports. I like auto racing. I was working part-time at the Oakland Public Library while going to college. One of the librarians owned a Porsche C and two Schwinn Paramounts. He told me I'd probably like riding a good bicycle. The rest was history!

    Luis

  5. #80
    Senior Member David Bierbaum's Avatar
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    I have a yellow AMF 10-speed from Sears sitting in my shed. It's more a study in rust (and mud-dauber's nests) than anything else now, but back in High-school I rode everywhere on that thing. My 1992 hybrid, complete with rack and panniers weighs much less than that thing.

    I really need to donate that thing to the local bicycle-rehabilitator. It's a pity to have it sitting there doing nothing more than contributing to the life-cycle of the mud-daubers...

    But even before my 10 speed, I remember my 5-speed Sears Screamer, with it's small front wheel and it's rear slick, banana seat, and flame-colored metallic orangish to reddish paint job. It was the bike of my childhood as soon as the training wheels came off. That's right up there with my memories of the pedal powered firetruck and "racecar"...

    I'm having a nostalgia attack.
    Last edited by David Bierbaum; 06-01-12 at 07:45 PM.

  6. #81
    Senior Member Gravity Aided's Avatar
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    Get some raid and
    chase those mud daubers away
    and get out and ride that AMF .
    Or something similar and better .
    Without mud daubers .

  7. #82
    Senior Member arfer1's Avatar
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    I remember two thing things about the bike boom of the late 60s, early 70s. First, the craze for Schwinn wheelie bikes like the Orange Krate. Second, the popularity of Raleigh ten speeds. Kids 12 or under, usually wanted a Schwinn, but by the time they became teens, most kids looked down on Schwinn and everyone in my neighborhood wanted a Raleigh. I had two, a Record and Gran Prix. While I rode these bikes, I never enjoyed drop bars, and the bike I really liked to ride was a late 50s three speed with balloon tires. It was a slow but comfortable ride.

  8. #83
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Post High school USNavy hitch ended in 69, when I was In my dad gave away my bike I built up and enjoyed using ..
    .. which was promptly stolen..

    Sturmey 3 speed , cyclo 3 cog cluster on the 3 speed , triple chainring crank 3 x 3 x 3 = a 27 speed (3 cubed)..

    .. 1975 I took on building my own Bike frame at the community college.. still have it.

  9. #84
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    Post High school USNavy hitch ended in 69, when I was In my dad gave away my bike I built up and enjoyed using ..
    .. which was promptly stolen..

    Sturmey 3 speed , cyclo 3 cog cluster on the 3 speed , triple chainring crank 3 x 3 x 3 = a 27 speed (3 cubed)..
    Nice. One of my favorite commuting transmissions was a Sturmey wide range 3-speed hub with a 14-16-18-20 cogset. Half-step chainrings, such as 40-38, would have made it nearly perfect.

    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    ... 1975 I took on building my own Bike frame at the community college.. still have it.
    Very cool. One of my friends made his own recumbent bike frame. You two are in a pretty exclusive club.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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  10. #85
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by a_morrow View Post
    What prompted your interest in bikes?
    The combination of independence, a sense of adventure and exploration, mechanical tinkering, cheap and environmentally responsible transportation, freedom from traffic and parking hassles in and around UCLA. My interest received social reinforcement when I joined Earth Action Council as a freshman.

    I have very minimal athletic ability, and bicycling is the one sport I have felt passionate about. I owe my current state of health and cardio fitness exclusively to bicycling.

    Quote Originally Posted by a_morrow View Post
    What prompted your interest in competitive cycling?
    Nothing -- I was never racing material. I am a pretty good spectator, however.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
    Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
    Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
    Bianchi: 1981 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
    Schwinn: 1988 Project KOM-10, S/N F804069

  11. #86
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    Wheedled my parents into buying me a Reynolds 531 racing bike (Helyett Speciale track bike, all French components) in 1964 when I was 13, got to race in the track nationals in the intermediate age category the next year because I was apparently the only 14-year-old kid in Connecticut with a track bike. (Did badly, intimidated by all the kids from Chicago with their gleaming Campy-equipped Schwinn Paramounts with orange silk Clement tubular tires, but beat the guy who won in a road race the next year.) (He clipped a pedal going into the last turn, but still.)

    Transferred my attention to girls the next year and didn't ride again until the early '70s, when other people, mostly non-racers, suddenly and bizarrely started riding around on racing bikes. I seem to be in the minority here, as a person who had already passed through a road riding and racing stage about 10 years before the '70s bike boom.

  12. #87
    Avid Cyclist MickeyMaguire's Avatar
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    I had a so-called "English Racer" in the early 1970s... it was stolen from me when my brother left the garage door open one night.

    I think the "boom" actually came in the 1980s when Greg LeMond started rising through the ranks. Before that, Columbus, Ohio was already pretty big in cycling because of TOSRV and OSU.

    The bike boom (at least in my area) came as a result of an influx of high-quality imports that had reliable shifters and weighed around twenty-six pounds on average (or so it seemed at the time). I was drooling over a Lotus twenty-two pound lightweight. Schwinn Paramount was the bike to have in my area, if you could afford one.
    Last edited by MickeyMaguire; 07-27-14 at 04:25 PM.
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  13. #88
    Trek 500 Kid Zinger's Avatar
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    I didn't get into cycling until I stopped smoking cigarettes in 1977 and that was on a Schwinn Varsity. What inspired me to buy a house mates used Italvega was watching one of Michael Aisner's promotional films for the Red Zinger Classic (thus my ID) during an intermission at a movie theater in Colorado Springs in 1978.

    It didn't take long to realize I didn't have the exceptional motor for a top racer, despite 200+ mile weeks, so I focused on century rides as did the majority of my riding partners. I stuck to the road throughout the '80s and missed out on the burgeoning mountain biking scene. I had moved back to my hometown of Amarillo in '79, for a few years, which is devoid of mountains anyway.
    "I never lost a race because my bike was too heavy".......George Mount

  14. #89
    Seat Sniffer Biker395's Avatar
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    No great story. I really wasn't so much into cycling, but had a friend that was. And his older brother owned a bike shop. At one point, he needed some help offloading imported bikes off of a truck and into his warehouse, and we used to make a few bux doing that.

    Then he got into the business of importing the frames and building out the bikes in the US. I worked there on summer, and built bikes on an assembly line.

    1. At one point or another, I got to learn about all the was to building out a bike.
    2. If I ever had the notion of doing manual labor for a living, that experience cured me of it.
    3. If I ever had the notion of working on an assembly line for a living, that experience cured me of it. Especially with the time clock staring me in the face.
    4. We were paid well ... about $5 an hour back when minimum wage was $1.65.
    5. I could have got a bike for his cost ... about 1/4 of retail. But I wanted a car. Doh!
    6. When the bike boom ended, so did the business. That was a shame.
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  15. #90
    Senior Member rydabent's Avatar
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    In the late 70s I started riding with my two oldest sons as they were old enough to bike. Bikes were selling great guns. Not knowing too much about bikes, and not having a whole lot of money to spend, I bought a bike from Wards. What was amazing was the fact it was mfg in Austria, and the frame was actually a pretty good luged frame, and quite light. I guess it was the fact that Wards just acquired bikes where they could get them, and as it turned out I actually got a pretty good bike unexpectedly.

  16. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by a_morrow View Post
    Does anyone have any stories or memories from the 1970 bike boom? If you could answer any of these questions I'd love to hear your ideas.

    What do you believe attracted people to bikes in the 1970s?
    Probably various reasons for various people. "Gas crisis" where stations ran out of fuel while folks waited in lines got people thinking about alternatives to cars. Fitness as boomers reached the their 30s. And folks like me just looking for cheap transportation that fit their budgets.


    Was cycling, in the 1970s, a individualistic type of sport? Or was it a sport that people built communities around? More the former than the later, but some of the individuals started to form movements.

    Were the majority of cyclists in the 1970s riding to race? Or just for the enjoyment of getting out on a bike? I never saw a bike race in the '70s ond was largely unaware that such things existed.

    Do you think the introduction of the 10-speed derailer peaked people's interest in biking? Probably. Novelty, plus gears really did make things easier. The whole experience of riding a drop bar was shocking to many (including me the first few miles). That pulled things both ways. I'm sure some folks tried a drop bar for the first time and left the store or bought a bike and never rode it.

    Were people buying bikes in the 1970s buying bikes for the first time? Or were they upgrading to something better? I think the most common experience would be buying a bike for the first time in a few years. I last bicycled in around 1971 when my balloon tire bike was stolen and next in 1976 when I bought a "10 speed". I wasn't upgrading as such.

    Was the bike boom just a fad? At least where I was during the first half the 70s (various places in New York) I never heard of the bike boom. "Life style Journalism" wasn't yet a big thing, so covering and naming fads wasn't something everyone was aware of. I never heard the term until decades later. And of course there's the "what does a fish know of water?" thing. Folks in the middle of a fad don't see it as such. Overall, I'd say it was a blip with a fair amount of echo. I understand there were areas of the country where cycling had a peak then a sharp drop-off to next to nothing. But there was little visible peak in New York and in the second half of the 70s I was in Minneapolis, where there was considerable slow if steady growth in cycling. There was a bike co-op in my neighborhood when I arrived in Minneapolis.

    I believe we are in the third bike boom right now. This boom isn't so much about the novelty of bikes as such, but about bike infrastructure. I hope it sustains. I see welcome changes as more folks start to experience bikes for transportation in Minnesota.

    Do you have any stories about your experiences racing in the 1970s? Only what BikeSnob would call "Cat 6" action (grin)

    Was cycling an "elitist" sport in the 70s? I'm sure there were elitists, but no I was un-aware of that.

    Do you think people were attracted to cycling in the 70s as a form of escapism from the pressures of society? There was a "Whole Earth Catalog" aspect to cycling, yes. It was a tool that let you live simply and cheaply.

    What prompted your interest in bikes? My dad got interested in bikes in his 40s. He rode the first RAGBRAI in Iowa and all the subsequent ones until he became too ill to continue. His interest reminded me that bikes were still around. And I needed inexpensive flexible urban transportation.

    What prompted your interest in competitive cycling?
    I've never really had much interest in that.

  17. #92
    Senior Member Jim from Boston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by a_morrow View Post
    Does anyone have any stories or memories from the 1970 bike boom? If you could answer any of these questions I'd love to hear your ideas.
    .........................................
    .........................................
    .........................................
    .........................................
    .........................................etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankHudson View Post
    I've never really had much interest in that.
    Thanks for your contribution, from one who was there.

  18. #93
    What??? Only 2 wheels? jimmuller's Avatar
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    Does anyone have any stories or memories from the 1970 bike boom?
    I remember thinking my first derailleur bike as being marvelous. I still have it.

    What do you believe attracted people to bikes in the 1970s?
    Transportation, no energy usage, some fad-ism, some fun and recreation. It was a pop-cultural thing.

    Was cycling, in the 1970s, a individualistic type of sport? Or was it a sport that people built communities around?
    I knew no one else who rode a derailleur bike when I bought mine, and few who rode any sort of bike at all until the boom.

    Were the majority of cyclists in the 1970s riding to race? Or just for the enjoyment of getting out on a bike?
    "Riding to race"? Not a chance. At least not majority as your question asked.

    Do you think the introduction of the 10-speed derailer peaked people's interest in biking?
    I can't speak for others but it certainly piqued mine. The appeal of a decent low gear was just too much to ignore. I suspect it mattered to other people too.

    Were people buying bikes in the 1970s buying bikes for the first time? Or were they upgrading to something better?
    Yes and no. Yes there were buying for the first time, and no they were not upgrading. If they'd been upgrading the bike boom must already have been taking place.

    Was the bike boom just a fad?
    Isn't a "boom" a fad by definition? At least in the US cultural norms were changing very rapidly at that time for various reasons. Hence the sudden interest in bikes, and the sudden loss of interest too.

    Do you have any stories about your experiences racing in the 1970s?
    Noop. Never raced, didn't know anyone who did.

    Was cycling an "elitist" sport in the 70s?
    Noop. It wasn't a sport; it was an activity.

    Do you think people were attracted to cycling in the 70s as a form of escapism from the pressures of society?
    Noop. They were attracted as a potential form of solution, which is not escapism.

    What prompted your interest in bikes?
    I had been riding for transportation and recreation. When lightweight bikes became so much a part of public culture that I learned about them, I bought one.

    What prompted your interest in competitive cycling?
    Nothing.
    Real cyclists use toe clips.
    jimmuller

  19. #94
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    in the early 60's I used my bike to get to a fresh water swimming place . 12 miles each way .. and to climb the hills on either side of the valley.

  20. #95
    Senior Member Jim from Boston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
    Does anyone have any stories or memories from the 1970 bike boom?
    I remember thinking my first derailleur bike as being marvelous. I still have it.
    ...
    Jim,

    Did you happen to notice that the OP, and subsequent threads were from 5/21/2012 to 6/2/2012, and the thread was reawakened on 7/27/14? You actually made two off-handed replies on 5/21- and 5/26/2012, so Im sure the OP now appreciates current your focused reply.

  21. #96
    What??? Only 2 wheels? jimmuller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
    Did you happen to notice that the OP, and subsequent threads were from 5/21/2012 to 6/2/2012, and the thread was reawakened on 7/27/14? You actually made two off-handed replies on 5/21- and 5/26/2012, so I’m sure the OP now appreciates current your focused reply.
    Well, I did notice that the zombie thread had been revived. I didn't recall posting a reply though the thread did seem vaguely familiar. I suppose if I hadn't posted something earlier it is unlikely, though not impossible, for me to have been subscribed. I sure hope I wrote more or less the same things this time!

    Who was it that said consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds? One of those 19th century guys, I think.
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  22. #97
    Senior Member Jim from Boston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
    Well, I did notice that the zombie thread had been revived. I didn't recall posting a reply though the thread did seem vaguely familiar. I suppose if I hadn't posted something earlier it is unlikely, though not impossible, for me to have been subscribed. I sure hope I wrote more or less the same things this time!...
    Actually, I missed this one:

    Quote Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
    I know this may sound like injecting politics into a bicycle discussion but it is actually an historical note. Scientists, or at least some scientists, have been predicting global warming due to CO2 generation for a long time. It just wasn't part of the public discussion. It wasn't controversial enough to be controversial. Nobody took it seriously until people started disagreeing!

    But you are right that public awareness of hydrocarbon consumption was a driving force for some of the bike boom, regardless of whether one's own budget could benefit or not and regardless of what caused that public awareness. Prior to that few people besides scientists and perhaps some policy makers ever questioned whether consuming more gasoline was a good idea. The convenience of personal transportation was just too good to pass up, and sometimes there weren't many alternatives.
    But caught these two:

    Quote Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
    I don't think it lasted into the 70's. The first bike boom ended in 1869 as I recall. of course, I wasn't there so I may have misremembered it.

    Quote Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
    Nah, the boneshaker craze of the 1860's. Crashed abruptly in 1869.
    Quote Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
    Who was it that said consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds? One of those 19th century guys, I think.
    Without searching first, Im pretty sure it was Henry David Thoreau.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wikipedia
    A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day. 'Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.' Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson
    Self Reliance (1841).
    Last edited by Jim from Boston; 07-28-14 at 12:46 PM.

  23. #98
    Senior Member OldsCOOL's Avatar
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    It was the summer of '73 I started riding a 10sp, a Motobecane Mirage that I bought with my busboy money on summer vacation going into my Junior year of high school. I loved that bike and rode with my friends every Saturday and mornings riding to school. Racing was never in my mind because of the intimidation factor but would do a few long rides that summer. We rode our own pacelines town to town and generally had a blast.

    My previous bike was a 50something Royce Union 3sp English Racer I bought for 25.00 out of a man's basement in '69.
    Having a flat tire as part of the total cycling experience is highly overrated. Knowing how to fix one quickly is not.

    '85 Trek 460 road racer

    '89 Raleigh Technium PRE

    '79 Motobecane Super Mirage

  24. #99
    Senior Member NVanHiker's Avatar
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    Nobody on this side of the border rode balloon-tire bikes. We all rode English 3-speeds like Raleigh and Mercury with Sturmey-Archer gearing. Then, almost overnight, they became obsolete. 'Ten-speed' became the new word for 'bicycle'.

    The only 'story' I remember was that the doctor who lived next door ran off with his younger nurse and in an attempt to be a little more youthful, I guess, bought a ten-speed, crashed, and was paralyzed from the neck down for the rest of his life, much to the satisfaction of his ex-wife, who continued to live next door.

  25. #100
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    I'll post to this old thread........

    In Seattle around 1970 our Stingray's stopped being cool, and we had to get the "new" ten speeds that were becoming popular, so I bought my fist 10 speed at a whopping 11 yrs old with paper route money, a Murray gas pipe bike. After a while when I decided I liked the whole cycling thing, I bought my first LBS bike at 14 with....Paper route money. That bike was a Coventry Eagle with Reynolds tubing and Campy Veloce components on it, It was the nicest in the neighborhood, and I felt like the kid in Breaking Away when I rode it.

    As far as a cycling boom in Seattle in the early 70's, most definitely there was. There was a point back then that one of the big parks had so many riders on the weekends that once a month they closed it to cars and had Bicycle Sunday. Those Sundays were my first destination rides, since I lived probably 10 miles from the park.

    On one of those Sundays was also my first crash from being distracted by a bikini clad female riding a bike. I still remember her well.

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