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What was your Gateway Bike?

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What was your Gateway Bike?

Old 05-01-20, 11:34 PM
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What was your Gateway Bike?

Everyone has it or had it. That bike that was the one that started you on the road, or trail, to addiction. What was yours? Ours, my dad and mine, was a Spalding Blade. My father bought it new to try to get into shape while struggling with diabetes. He then moved up to a new bike and convinced me to come ride with him on the Spalding. We stripped it down and put drop bars on it and I rode it for a while before I had to upgrade. Not much of a bike but it was enough to get the ball rolling.

This was the bike in its original state

I dont have a better image of it , but, this is it after adding drop bars and 86ing the fenders. Later the rack went away. It was given to a friend later who rode it for a while and then upgraded and passed it on. It still had the silly stem shifters on it at the end.
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Old 05-02-20, 05:10 AM
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One of these sleek Sears N Roebuck 3 Speed Black Beauties. I loved cycling and was always out riding my "StingRay", well not a real Stingray just the basic 20" wheeled cantilever frame with banana and sissy bar. One day my mother came home from a yard sale or something with one of these for me. I was forever hooked on cycling!! I cobbled some drop bars onto (no tape) and just used the factory brake levers at the bottom, so maybe I turned into a Path Racer? Anyway I rode that bike all the time. One of my older brothers knew some guys who ran a cycling club so I was permitted {by my Mother} and it was great!! I wish I had some pics I'll have to look around. My first big adventure with them and my trusty black beauty was a road trip to Washington DC to ride the, or maybe part of, the Washington to Mt Vernon trail. I was so overwhelmed! All those people on the trail it was an unbelievably venture for a smallish town girl, until I had a minor head on with a complete stranger. I still have the little scar on my finger.

To bad I don't have a pic of that great old bike, this is from the 'net. Oh yeah she was replaced with what else....a Peral White Royce Union

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Old 05-02-20, 05:42 AM
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A Schwinn Varsity that my dad bought me for Christmas when I was 10. Then a mid-'70s Fuji "Special Road Racer" (S-10-S) got me hooked.
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Old 05-02-20, 06:16 AM
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I just found pics of my first bike online, My Orbea was a 72 and apparently this is a 65 but the spec is nearly identical. Steel components, 30 lbs overall, Alfa Junior components. Cool!

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Old 05-02-20, 06:18 AM
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Neighbors 80s red raleigh pursuit, nutted wheels and nothing much to speak of but I hated being trapped in the country and that bike could get me to the nearest towns to hit up the comic shop. Parents weren't around enough to realize I'd been riding 15-20miles away till I'd been doing it a while; did that every day it was warm enough and dry enough.
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Old 05-02-20, 06:19 AM
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Originally Posted by clubman
I just found pics of my first bike online, My Orbea was a 72 and apparently this is a 65 but the spec is nearly identical. Steel components, 30 lbs overall, Alfa Junior components. Cool!

That bike is hot.
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Old 05-02-20, 06:21 AM
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Funny, at work when i assemble a kid bike and bring it to the floor i call it a gateway bike.

My bike that i remember fondly was an english 3 speed with 24 inch wheels. I dont know the brand but my parents would have gotten it used. I was amazed by the gear selection.
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Old 05-02-20, 06:42 AM
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During the bike boom back in the 1970s, all my friends were getting 10 speeds but I still only had my Huffy Sting Ray clone. I lived out in the country, so didn't have a bike shop nearby, but I had the Sears catalog to dream about what kind of bike to get. I had saved enough money to order one of the Puch made bikes for under $100. When I told my dad what I had in mind, he took me to a little shop that one of his co-workers ran as a side business. He sold me a used Kabuki for what I would have spent on the Sears bike. I don't remember the model. I sold it to a friend when I bought a Fuji a few years later. When I stumbled across a Super Speed a few years ago, I had to have it for nostalgia's sake. I have upgraded the wheels and tweaked the fit so, even though it's Hi-Ten tubing, it doesn't ride too bad. Last summer, I took it on a club ride and was surprised at the number of people who said they had one back in the day.

1970-something Kabuki Super Speed
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Old 05-02-20, 07:03 AM
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A Ross Gran Tour Professional - Department Store Bike. (Anybody remember TSS stores from Long Island, NY around 1980?). I wound up upgrading the steel to aluminum rims, made some other changes, but eventually gave it too my brother (who still has it) and bought my first Bianchi.
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Old 05-02-20, 07:14 AM
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i was in the Air Force stationed in NH in the mid 70's crewing FB-111's, and a friend and i bought a pair of Austro Daimlers.. mine was the ADSL and his was the model below that. SLE i think it was. i traded up to a Vent Noir with my tax return, and we rode many miles around the coast almost every day until he got orders to Iceland and i got shipped out to clark in the philipines. the bike was my 2 wheeled jet fighter, and the thrill of riding a high quality bike (i didn't know it was high quality then... i just liked the flat black and gold) with my 24 year old legs was amazing. i had a jim blackburn rear rack that i strapped a banana on, and he brought a doober, and we would stop at fort constitution by the coast guard station for a mid ride snack and a few hits off that joint before finishing our high speed pass by wentworth by the sea and back to Portsmouth. i still have that Vent Noir, but with 64 year old knees...

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Old 05-02-20, 08:20 AM
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When I was about 12, I moved up to using my dad's 10-speed. When I was 13, I got my own 10-speed. Wore it out by the time I was 19. .... got away from riding for awhile.
When I was older, I got a 2001 Cannondale H400 CAAD3 hybrid. Put about 5k miles on it, and migrated from the stock 38mm tires to some 25mm slicks. That planted the seed for me, that I really needed a road bike again. Got my Synapse in 2008.
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Old 05-02-20, 08:47 AM
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I owned a Sting-Ray. Talked to a neighbor who was a press photographer when “6 Day” races were still run at the old Madison Square Garden. He had a few prints still, my mine got in gear, so they race bicycles.....?
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Old 05-02-20, 09:36 AM
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In 1975, when I was 14, my mother bought me an Atala Giro D'Italia so I could take a teen trip. By most measures, it was a crappy bike, but it's what she could afford, and it opened up a world to me.
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Old 05-02-20, 10:18 AM
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I didn't want to leave my then-still-newish 1996 Raleigh M-400 mtb locked outside the dorms, so instead I brought a graphite-colored mid-80's Sekai 1000 to school as a campus beater. It was nothing fancy- Tange No.5 frame. I covered it in stickers, single-speeded it. It was nice to have a simple, skinny-tired bike with BMX platform pedals I could just hop on whenever. I let my friend who had a too-big Nishiki Backroads that he disliked borrow it for a ride and it hooked him on cycling too!

I retired the frame years later when I discovered cracks where the seat stays meet the seat tube.
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Old 05-02-20, 10:26 AM
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It was my sister's bike, then mine. Converted it to bmx. Went everywhere on it. Wound up bending it in half doing a bunnyhop off of a loading dock.

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Old 05-02-20, 10:30 AM
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I think mine might have been by First New Bike.
Up until I was 12-13 all my bikes were used hand me downs.
My first new bike was a 1965 SEARs 10 speed. I don`t think Sears used the term "Free Spirit" yet.
I loved that bike, and at 12-13 years old it took me to a whole new world. Up until then all my riding was in the immediate neighborhood.
But, with 10 speeds! I really started to venture out! I think my Mom would have killed me if she knew how far I was going when I said, "I`m going to ride my bike"
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Old 05-02-20, 10:35 AM
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My oldest sister's crappy Montgomery Ward steel rimmed 10 speed. She and my brother in law purchased his and hers. They brought them out to the farm where I grew up when I was 13, she brought them out to show them off and asked if I wanted to try them out. 2-3 miles down the road I realized that I was moving pretty fast, we'd covered ground a lot faster than my American Eagle 20" Stingray copy could go, and I was hooked.
If someone tells you that you have enough bicycles and you don't need any more, stop talking to them. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life.
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Old 05-02-20, 10:42 AM
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In 2009, after twenty or so years of not riding, I bought this at a local garage sale for €20. I must have read most of this forum and half of the rest of the internet to find fixes for everything that was wrong with it. Or so I thought.

I wanna be like you!

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Old 05-02-20, 10:59 AM
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1973 Sears Free Spirit 10 speed.

By then, at 13, I was adept at rebuilding coaster brake bikes - front and rear hubs, Ashtabula cranks, and headsets. This bike introduced me to cables and housing, rim brakes, and derailleurs, and increased my cycling range from surrounding neighborhoods to surrounding counties.
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Old 05-02-20, 11:08 AM
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Initially, it was a hand-me-down, red 20" Schwinn that was probably from around 1961. Nothing fancy about it at all, but even then, I knew I loved riding. About 12 years later, it was a 1978 Raleigh Super Course. It was the gold-colored version, and it was a huge improvement over the couple (stolen from me) pretty cheap 10-speeds. I rode that thing over 200 miles one summer day in 1979.

Coming back to cycling, the bike that got me re-introduced was this one. I found and acquired a 1972 Fuji Finest. Wow! What a revelation that was.

This from a couple years ago. It's still set up the same.

In search of what to search for.
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Old 05-02-20, 11:18 AM
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When I was in grade school I had a green 3 speed Robin Hood. Yeah it wasn't a cool schwinn sting ray but I rode that bike everywhere. I used to take it down a bike path on a lake near my house to go fishing. I don't remember catching much but I had a great time riding my bike out by myself. Then when I was in high school, my Dad got me a grey Nishiki custom sport. I rode that bike to school every day and I rode it all over town. I remember when a friend of his took me on a long ride on back country roads one summer. I thought that was the coolest thing ever.

So I ended up buying versions of those bikes. One is a black 3 speed Robin Hood. The other is my Sekine SHS 271 which reminds me of that Nishiki. The Sekine is a "better" quality bike with chrome moly tubing, chrome socks, forged drop outs, etc. but it has suicide levers and so it reminds me a lot of the bike I had in high school. No way I'm taking those levers off (nor could I since they're integrated into the lever).

The Robin Hood is my coffee shop bike or at least it was when coffee shops used to be open. And the Sekine is my lock up bike or at least it used to be back when shops were open,

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Old 05-02-20, 11:49 AM
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For me it was the 'family' bike. A balloon tired, single speed, coaster brake heavyweight - from JC Higgins (maybe) or Sears? I think it was early 40's maybe late 30s.

If family stories are true, my father rode it 3miles to work on some good days, but drove most days so the other workers wouldn't think him too poor. Both older brothers disliked it's brown & rust spot colors. By around 8 years of age, I was big enough to try it. I was soon riding almost 5 miles to a friend's house - IT WAS FREEDOM! I know I put more miles on that bike in 5-6years than my father and 3 siblings combined in the prior 20.

Hills were a problem, but pushing was acceptable. Made a paper route possible. I could ride to the roller skating rink. On Saturday mornings the local movie theater (about 2mi away) had a cartoon and western movie for 10cents. With the bike, I seldom missed an episode. For High School I got bussed across town and took a Sat job that Mom drove me to, end of story.
Vintage, modern, e-road. It is a big cycling universe.
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Old 05-02-20, 01:02 PM
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Mine was a purple version of something like this. It was a few years earlier than this one, so it had 26" wheels, not 27" like this one. I rode it until it fell apart - most of the spokes of the rear wheel decided to snap while I was touring upstate NY.

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Old 05-02-20, 01:31 PM
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I wonder what answers I would have gotten if I had posted this in the road racing forum. We vintage and classic riders tend to be a bit vintage and sometimes classic ourselves.

It’s kind of interesting to see how we all respond. Initially I was thinking about how I was “reintroduced” to cycling as it is now. I didn’t think about it as cycling as a kid. We all had bikes, but they were really taken for granted. It was transportation mostly. We didn’t get attached to them so much. If it broke we fixed it. If it broke too much to fix we figured out a way to get another one. The old one just went away and there was no remorse about it. My first bike was a hand me down Western Flyer and then I got a “New” bike. It was a Sears or Montgomery wards version of the Stingray called a”Spyder” with rams horn handlebars and a Cheetah slick back tire. Kind of cool but not a Stingray so I was still a little jealous of my friends. When I turned 16 I bought a car and the bikes were a thing of the past.

Years later when my dad got into cycling for health reasons I got on a bike for the first time in years. All the feeling of freedom that the bike gave us as kids came flooding back and I was hooked instantly.

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Old 05-02-20, 06:02 PM
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Well, it started with a 1958 Schwinn Mark IV Jaguar, as an 8th birthday present. Which I still used in 1969-70 as a college commuter. The Seventies were serious cycling time, working at A.R. Adams Cycle, and riding with the Presque Isle Bicycle Club. And got my first motorcycle in 1976, which eventually put a severe dent in the cycling. But my current involvement starts here:

1964 Raleigh Grand Sport. And the circumstances are probably more interesting than the bike.

I was involved with the Virginia British Motorcycle Club, a vintage outfit, and we were putting on our annual bike show in October 2004. I was in charge of setting up the field, which was pretty large, consisting of about 150 vintage motorcycles in 17 classes. Which meant a lot of walking around. One of the parts vendors had these two beat to hell ten-speed bicycles for sale, $5.00 apiece. I grabbed the Raleigh figuring I'd use it for the day to get around the field, then toss it into the trash at the end of the day. It was that bad.

Now, at this point, the last time I'd owned or ridden a bicycle was the summer of 1977. At which point I went over completely to motorcycles, and missed everything bicycling over the next 27 years (yeah, I heard about Lance Armstrong, that was about it). You should have been around to watch the first ten minutes as I relearned how to ride bicycle. 'Effing hilarious. But, I got the bike going and ended up spending more time riding that day than paying attention to the motorcycle show.

The bike came home with me, and two days later I started tearing it down. Within a day, I'd found that my long dormant mechanic skills were coming back to me. Stripped the frame, repainted it, and rode it as a 10-speed while I started to put together a shop and a stable. It was my only ride for about three months, then I built up the 9-speed Fuji Finest and started picking up a couple of bikes from my day. Having built better derailleur bikes, I then turned it into a tubular tired single speed which I rode for a couple of years:

Then the path racer bug bit, and I converted it over to be a lot more retro. This is how it looked when I finally sold it back in 2014. With the upcoming move, I had to cull the collection a bit since I knew I would have room for the 25-27 bikes I was keeping at the time:

Unfortunately, the last bits of the bike (Campagnolo derailleurs and a few other bits) were lost in the fire back in November. But that's where everything started, and I've been around for the last sixteen years.

The real amusement was the week after the show as I dropped by Agee's Bicycle Shop to get the cotters pressed so I could pull the crank and work on the bottom bracket. The kid behind the counter sees me walking in with a bicycle at least twenty years older than he is, meanwhile my jaw is on the ground looking at all these machines in the racks - they've got two wheels, so I guess they're bicycles. First thing, the kid had to explain to me why the one line of bikes was call LeMond.

Now I'm getting tempted to build another bike like the lower picture.

No one in this world, so far as I know and I have searched the records for years, and employed agents to help me has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.

H.L. Mencken, (1926)

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