I have been riding a Schwinn since I was just a kid and now I am all grown up and sure enough, I still ride a Schwinn. Although it has only been about 2 years or so that I have been riding hard. Basically, I had started a new job out in the burbs and since I live in the city (Logan Square for all you Chicago kids), commuting became a priority. Around the same time a friend of mine introduced me to the world of fixies and single speed bikes and it wasn't long before I stripped all the extra junk off my Schwinn and converted it into a single speed machine. Riding single is such a great and different experience. The frequency of riding quickly increased and soon became my primary form of transportation. I have since sold my Chevy truck, cancelled my CTA monthly pass, and now I ride everywhere I go (unless my Schwinn is feeling sicky, then I walk). The best part is the $$ I am saving by riding (driving a cage in Chicago is EXPENSIVE), I am keeping myself fit as a fiddle, and now I can actually enjoy city traffic and car jams (laughing mostly as I speed past 'em).
As far as repair goes.....I am not a bike guru like Sheldon "I know everything about bikes" Brown, but I am quickly learning all the ins and outs of my bike and my friends bikes. I've always enjoyed tearing machines apart and rebuilding them and I am sure this gives me an advantage when it comes to a new repair or upgrade job.
well, I think that is it in a nutshell. Thanks for letting me participate in this great community and if you bike in Chicago, I am sure I'll see you on the streets.