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A truly great ride

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A truly great ride

Old 11-05-11, 01:00 PM
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KonAaron Snake 
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A truly great ride

This almost made up for having to blow off Steven and Ed's ride today. We did this following a family obligation for my sister's anniversary. I know I've told this story many times, so feel free to skip forward to the photos as I think they say it all.

When I was 12, my family was out driving to breakfast and we passed a tandem that was out with the trash in our neighborhood. I said I counted three seats and my dad said I was imagining it. We argued briefly, and much to my mom's annoyance, we backed up to settle the dispute. I was right...it was a Schwinn Triplet being thrown out in the trash. My dad and I looked at each other smiling, while my mom groaned, knowing the garage just got messier. We knocked on the door to make sure it was being thrown out, and the owner told us it was our's if we wanted it, but that it had a lot of problems. We walked it home while my mom and sis groaned.

We found that it was difficult...the bike was rough and had a dented rim. This happened in 1986'ish, so there was no internet for used parts. We weren't bike people...we just thought it was a cool bike and worth fixing up. The rims are 650b, almost unheard of in most bike shops circa 1986 and we're pretty sure that's why the previous owner tossed it out. We took it to a local shop, who insisted we couldn't get tires for it and he changed out the bad rim with a 26 inch MTB rim...it BARELY fit. Again, we weren't bike people and didn't know any better. We had the misfortune of going to a lousy (and dishonest) shop which, for some reason, had a good rep then. Keswick CYcles in Glenside. My dad decided to check other sources for the tire before we replaced the other rim.

The next month involved about $100 (1980s dollars!!!) worth of long distance phone calls looking for parts and information. This is pre-wireless, when you had to pay for calls. We even ended up on the phone with Richard Schwinn. Finally we learned about a new shop called Via in center city that sold old parts. That was the beginning of a beautiful relationship. Curtis, Via's owner, had recently sold a triplet to a gentleman some of you might know from the CR list...he was updating his to Phill Woods hubs, Dura Ace parts, he had Bilenky weld on an extra top tube...and he generously gave us many of his old parts for use on our bike's restoration. We found we could get the tires from Via and that they weren't nearly as difficult to source as Keswick had led us to believe. My family had a lot of fun with this bike and it was the gateway drug to my current addiction.

I left for college and the bike sat in their garage for 20 years. I finally got it down to philly and the Via gang did a fantastic job on it...far better than we had it running back then. All the bearings overhauled, chain guiards, new chains, new tires, restored rim...it rides like a dream. Which brings us to today...

A dream fulfilled. My wife now actively enjoys riding it and we took it all through town today. It almost felt like we were spreading joy - everyone who saw us just smiled and many commented how fun it looked. It was amazing, and I hope you folks appreciate some of the photos!

Race Street Pier, by the Ben Franklin Bridge:





By the Liberty Bell



Love in Love Park



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Old 11-05-11, 01:00 PM
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Our bike is occupying Philadelphia!





Art Museum



Obligatory Rocky Photo



Rittenhouse Park

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Old 11-05-11, 01:12 PM
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So what you are saying is that a three-way makes for a good ride. I concur.

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Old 11-05-11, 01:14 PM
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It's so hard to find a good third for the threesome!
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Old 11-05-11, 01:26 PM
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Neat bike. I will bet Bianchigirl can sympathize with that vehicle's turning circle.
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Old 11-05-11, 02:35 PM
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that's pretty great. Nice pics!
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Old 11-05-11, 03:03 PM
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It's so hard to find a good third for the threesome!
Who cares if they're good;-)
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Old 11-05-11, 05:32 PM
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Nice! So when you go out just the two of you, which positions do each of you sit in?
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Old 11-05-11, 05:35 PM
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I ride captain, she rides rear...the 2nd spot is tight (as a couple members here can attest to).
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Old 11-05-11, 07:02 PM
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Hi KonAaron, I hadn't read this story before but i really enjoyed it and I loved the pics. It must be like seeing a bike race all in one neat package to anyone walking or driving as you lot ride past.
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Old 11-05-11, 07:02 PM
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Thank you for that Aaron. - The story and the pics really brought a smile.

(Some of those places brought back memories of my misspent school days )
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Old 11-05-11, 07:12 PM
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I had a cheshire cat grin the whole time riding it. We usually just use it for rides of maybe 2 miles and my wife has always been a little nervous on it. This was the first extensive riding it's gotten in a bit...we racked up a solid 10 miles on it and she said she could have handled more. It's also the first time she truly enjoyed it...when we got off she said she can't wait to take it out again.

It's amazing how well it rides.
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Old 11-05-11, 07:17 PM
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Wow, that's a lot of bike. I've never seen that many chainguards.
Those are fillet brazed, right?
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Old 11-05-11, 07:33 PM
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Yes sir, all 4130! I love the bend of the rear seattube.
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Old 11-05-11, 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake View Post
I ride captain, she rides rear...the 2nd spot is tight (as a couple members here can attest to).
Especially at 6'1"! That Brooks looks the part on that bike, glad you are enjoying it. BTW, do you need a tug to help you park it?
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Old 11-05-11, 08:27 PM
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Aaron,
Thanks for spreading joy! Great story and pics. The smiles are priceless too.
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Old 11-05-11, 08:31 PM
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I actually found a third for $15 at T-town, but my wife isn't sure she wants it on. Ha! It can be a challenge...actually parking any bike downtown is getting tough. We have a lot of commuters down here and not as many parking meters. Last week I was parking it near Rittenhouse and a street sign outside of a restaurant had a sign bolted to it that said no bicycle parking. I took out my tool kit and began to remove it...a guy from the restaurant comes out, asks me what I'm doing and I tell him removing his illegal sign that wasn't authorized by the Streets department (I happen to know a bit about this due to a prior incident. LONGGGGGG story that involves me getting hit in the head with a sign). He counters it's illegal to park there. I take his sign, pocket it and tell him I guess we're both breaking the law. He responds he'll damage my bike. The smart thing to do would be stopping, but I was pissed at this point. I looked him in the eye and ask if that's smart since I know where he works and can just as easily break a window. The bike was fine when I came back.
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Old 11-05-11, 08:44 PM
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What was that song by Fear, "I Love Living in the city"?

Last edited by fender1; 11-05-11 at 09:48 PM.
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Old 11-05-11, 09:24 PM
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What's the story on the second photo?
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Old 11-05-11, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by fender1 View Post
What was that song by Fear, "I Love Living in the city"?

I prefer The Jam "In the City"

Originally Posted by tugrul View Post



What's the story on the second photo?
Just my wife being goofy.
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Old 11-06-11, 02:00 AM
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Cool - now I want to hear the long story about getting hit in the head with a sign.
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Old 11-06-11, 04:20 AM
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Aaron, great photos and story. Also great to see it out being riden.

I forget, it is just a single speed, correct? How do you guys do on any sort of hill? Does your wife report the stoker position as flexy?

Speaking of how tight the middle position is, it would seem one of the challenges is the length of the bars. Would it make sense to shorten the reach back? Or to replace them with something like the bars on a Raleigh Sports? While you've done a great job keeping it original, it would be a blast to make it more practical for three riders.
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Old 11-06-11, 07:58 AM
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Custer...I was locking my main commuter at the time, a Kona Jake the Snake, up to a sign post in Olde City. I had just taken off my helmet and the very large parking sign bolted to the street sign came down like a guillotine and nailed me in the head. I moved back and it swung the other way, with enough force to rip my saddle open. There was only one parking garage near there and they denied it...claiming the sign wasn't there's I had a very close to physical confrontation with the manager there actually (I've cooled out since then) and spent the next month figuring out which city agency had authority over signs...and learned ANY sign posted to a street sign is illegal and can be removed.

The amazing thing is that the sign that hit me directly in the head, and which had enough force to slice open my saddle, left me with little more than a small bruise and a headache. Two things can be concluded...something up there likes me and/or I have a very hard head. Draw your own conclusion.
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Old 11-06-11, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh View Post
Aaron, great photos and story. Also great to see it out being riden.

I forget, it is just a single speed, correct? How do you guys do on any sort of hill? Does your wife report the stoker position as flexy?

Speaking of how tight the middle position is, it would seem one of the challenges is the length of the bars. Would it make sense to shorten the reach back? Or to replace them with something like the bars on a Raleigh Sports? While you've done a great job keeping it original, it would be a blast to make it more practical for three riders.
Pastor - it's single speed with very low gearing...these were originally designed as boardwalk cruisers. Hills can be tough, but we're mostly taking it in Philly, where there aren't that many hills. The ride to West Philly can be tough, but it's possible with the gearing. We took it up a fairly steep embankment to get to the pier and that was difficult...but we managed it. I remember the stoker position when I rode it as a kid...and it's flexy back there. Harvey, the gentleman who gave us the parts for the bike years ago, had an extra top tube welded on for stability.

I've thought about changing the bars, but the truth is it's hard to get a third rider, and Fender managed to make due at 6'1. You wouldn't want to do 50 miles like that, but you'd never take this bike 50 miles anyway. The guy we most often have in the middle is my friend Drew, and he's pretty short, so it's typically not too big of a deal. With this bike, you really want the bars coming towards you and an upright position. I am not a fan of upright most of the time, but somehow it works on this bike. It's actually a surprisingly nice rider, which I mostly attribute to the awesome wheels. They are making me consider 650b on an around towner.
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Old 11-06-11, 08:18 AM
  #25  
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You kids have all the fun.

Mrs. Gomango will have none of this action.

I tried to talk her into a tandem and we had a long debate over who would steer.

If I can't talk her into a tandem, there is less than a zero chance for a triplet.
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