Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: minneapolis, mn
Bikes: 1970 schwinn varsity (single speed); 1991 cannondale sm 800
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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.