Hello! I've been learning a lot from the Forum's vintage road bike threads for many months now, but this is my first time participating.
I've been an enthusiastic bike rider since I was a girl, riding off to school each day on a forgettable series of cheap clunkers; the heavy-as-lead Murrays, Huffys, and, once, one of those gradient rainbow-colored Sears numbers with the sissy-bar and metallic banana seat. Yes, it was the 1970's--then suddenly, the 1980's. We jumped ramps made of plywood and milk crates, and got ticketed for riding our friends on our handlebars.
Years later as a more sedate adult I rode--and enjoyed--the same entry-level Jamis hybrid for over ten years, lugging all 30-ish pounds of it up the stairs each night silently congratulating myself that it had yet to be stolen.
I didn't ride a "quality" lightweight bicycle until I was in my late 30's, and even that was by accident. My somewhat unorthodox LBS down the street had converted a "kinda crusty, but REAL LIGHT old Peugeot" into a single speed and, on a whim, I asked for a test ride. (I liked the lion.)
Though the bike was a bit small for me, that circuit around the block showed me what a ride could be. It felt like flying. I had never known a bike so nimble or elastic. It was a PX-10, but I didn't know that then, and neither did the bike store.
Fast forward to today. Sold that Jamis on Craigslist and I now have my own PX-10 as well as a couple of vintage Raleighs I love and enjoy just as much (sometimes more). I ride at least one of them everyday unless the weather is bad and by bad I mean Chicago bad. I'm comfortable with basic mechanics and doing my own adjustments and upkeep, but I'd like to learn more.