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Old 06-07-07, 08:07 PM   #1
mitchogden
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a Minneapolitan joins up

Like many newbies, I'm coming back to a neglected interested. I rode a 1991 Cannondale SM 800 mountain bike (a fine machine) in the early 90s while in high school and during my early college years. I convinced myself that college made me too busy to ride, and added the excuses that I didn't like pushing fat knobbies on the streets and that the aggressive geometry was too tiring for street riding. Ultimately, I was just lazy and cheap (wouldn't drop $40 for slicks).

Then a few years ago, the vintage craze attracted me. I hit the police auction and picked up a 27" Schwinn Varsity (Lime Green) and a mid-1970s Schwinn Suburban (Brown). Then I visited thrift stores like an addict and picked up a couple more Schwinns (a Continental and another Varsity) for parts. That was 2003. I rode the green Varsity as it was (all original) for a while until I popped a tire and snapped a brake cable. And I haven't done much with any of them since then—much to my poor wife's chagrin.

But I've finally got moving on the big green machine. I'm 6'8", so finding such a huge frame was really exciting. I ditched the steel wheels for some aluminum rims off an abandoned Panasonic road bike. I ditched the derailers, the big ring and platter on the crank, and replaced the drop bar with an old Brahma Bar AT3 (one of the greatest bars ever built). Now it doesn't weigh 50 pounds—more like 35. I had the rear wheel trued and now I need to decide what size single speed freewheel will suit me.

My goal is to have a sound commuter single speed to get me from home to campus (where I am a graduate student) and around Minneapolis with its great urban biking opportunities. From my home in SE Minneapolis to campus and downtown there are no hills to speak of. Easy riding. My wife just got a comfortable hybrid and a Burley trailer for her birthday and I wonder how the Incredible Hulk will pull our two boys (ages 3 and 1). It sounds like fun.

I'm slogging my way towards a PhD in literary studies (which why I need to get on a bike and pedal), and I enjoy camping and canoing. I look forward to family rides this summer and breaking out the neglected Cannondale at the state parks on some camping trips.

This forum attracted me for its responsiveness and genuine kindness. People seem really invested in the community and are exceptionally generous in their help. Of course, if no one responds to this (lengthy) introduction I will feel snubbed and go away sulking.

After posting this, tonight's task is to put on the brake levers I picked up today from a co-op and seeing if I can jettison the kickstand. That will probably shed a pound in and of itself.

Thanks for having me.
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Old 06-07-07, 08:31 PM   #2
efolsom
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Welcome! The weather look good for this weekend,! get out and ride!
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Old 06-07-07, 09:39 PM   #3
twobikes
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Mitchogden,

Back in 1964 to 1966 I was a student at Concordia College (now University) in the Midway District. I bought a Robin Hood 3-speed at Wheel Goods on Hennepin Ave. (It closed during the '90's.) I rode that bike all over the Twin Cities. Once I rode over to the St. Paul campus of UM in the middle of the winter. I was on my way back with about four miles to go when the cold got to me. I remember buying a big chocolate bar in a Walgreens and dancing around to warm up enough to do that last four miles. I also rode out to the airport once or twice. I went to summer school in the summer of '66. Mornings I rode from Dale near I-94 in St. Paul to class at Concordia. Afternoons I rode from Dale to the main Post Office in downtown St. Paul for my part time job. I got off at 10 PM and rode back. If I was not working, I and a friend rode to Lake Nokomis and swam until closing, and then we rode back to St. Paul. Once I rode out to the Anoka airport and beyond. Before long I was off the Ramsey County map I had with me. I followed my nose to Hwy. 61. The surprise was when I discovered I was north, not south of White Bear Lake. I have always had a soft spot in my heart for the Twin Cites all of this time.
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Old 06-07-07, 09:46 PM   #4
Nickel
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A bunch of engineering grad students do a very casual ride during the week, usually Thurs or Wed around 5pm if you are ever around campus then.
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Old 06-07-07, 10:25 PM   #5
East Hill
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Hello mitchogden, it sounds as if you have both a multitude of interests, and a plethora of forums from which to choose a home.

We'd always like to hear about your Schwinn in the Classic & Vintage forum, though. Even if you did do the serious crime of converting it to a SS/FG .

Welcome to BF!

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Old 06-08-07, 07:47 AM   #6
Kirk Turtle
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Mitch - fellow newb here. Loved your intro and twobikes' reply was cool too. I attended college in Mpls. for three years in the late 1980s. I should have taken a bike to school with me, it would've been much better than being the only freshman in my crew (as the kids say) with a car.

I, like twobikes, have a soft spot in my heart for the Twin Cities. No matter where you are, there's a partk (and probably a lake) close by. Beautiful places to ride.

Is Cafe DeNapoli still on Hennepin? They celebrated their 50th year in business when I was going to school up there. To celebrate they sold spaghetti at 1938 prices and gave away commemorative Coke glasses. Just wondered, been 10 years since I've been up that way.
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Old 06-08-07, 11:06 AM   #7
mitchogden
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Kirk-

The cafe is there, but I'll confess I've never eaten there. The Twin Cities is quite a place to love. I'm trying to figure out how to stay indefinately. Thanks for your kind words.
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Old 06-08-07, 11:51 AM   #8
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Actually, Cafe di Napoli closed in 2005. The original owner's kids re-opened it in March in another location (in the 6 Quebec building) 610 Marquette Ave in the skyway. Apparently they use the same recipes.
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Old 06-08-07, 03:30 PM   #9
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Just got back from vacation in Minnesota. Heavenly. If I could find a decent job there I'd move back in a split second. For bike riding it's nice and flat, too.
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Old 06-12-07, 03:31 PM   #10
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I live here and ride all over the place. If you see a rider on a screaming yellow Giant TCR and
a bright red helmet (color clash) it's probably me!
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Old 06-12-07, 05:36 PM   #11
Joe Dog
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Mitch - welcome. There's a few of us from the Twin Towns on the forum. FYI, I know a very tall guy in the Minneapolis area with some killer bikes and parts. He's a fanatic with an eye for good gear, so if you are looking for good used stuff for your next ride PM me and I can pass on information. Welcome to BF!!
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