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Who's been cycling the longest and what was your first road bike?

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Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

Who's been cycling the longest and what was your first road bike?

Old 04-30-21, 11:36 AM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by Lazyass
It won't be me by any means but I'm 53. My first road bike was an '84 Peugeot PX10L that my uncle gave me in June '87. I'm just curious who takes the Bike Forums label as the most experienced rider and what bikes you real old timers started on. I'm not talking about your first bike as a kid, but your first real road bike. Probably some cool ones.
I've been cycling for over 68 years, but by some BF posters' labeling standards I have yet to become "experienced", and never will, since I never desired owning, let alone riding, a "real road bike."
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Old 04-30-21, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by deacon mark
I won't come close but bought a Royce Union sometime in the early 1970's I was around 10 years old. Anyone heard of a Royce Union? I remember it was white and I thought it was so cool. My next real encounter with dedicated riding was a Schwinn Traveler 12 speed from around 1990 bought used. It was a great bike really and kind of wish I had it to compare to todays stuff. I never used clip in pedals until 2009 and finally since then pretty much a bike freak and mechanic.
I had a 3 speed Royce Union in the late 50's or early 60's and it was cool, but it wasn't my first cool bike.
This is the first bike that I remember riding the heck out of, picture taken in 1955.

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Old 04-30-21, 04:00 PM
  #28  
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I'm 57
First race when I was 8
first bike I bought with my own $$ was a Raleigh super course MkII $190
first ever 10 speed was 24" wheels on a Grants dept. store bike--orange. used to gravel ride it in the 70s
started mountain biking on non-suspension GT Tequesta in mid-late 80s ???
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Old 04-30-21, 06:45 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by Bob Ross
For us young-uns who were still in diapers in 1961, can you elaborate on what you mean by "half-step gearing"? I've never heard that expression before. Thanks.
Back in the early days of 10-speeds, chainrings didn't have ramps or pins, so shifting wasn't quite as reliable as it is now. On my Legnano, the chainrings were 48 and 52 IIRC. The 5-speed freewheel was probably a 14-32, so big jumps between cogs. The close sizes of the chainrings meant that when I shifted the front, the gear inches changed by 1/2 the difference between two of the rear cogs. Mostly. There were 2 gear-inch selection which were the same, which meant I had a 9-speed bike. In practice, I shifted the rear to get close to the gear I wanted, then shifted the front to fine-tune it. It worked really well except that the total gear-inch range wasn't that large. I was young and didn't care about that.
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Old 04-30-21, 11:06 PM
  #30  
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July 1973, with my new Sears Free Spirit. It was a 10 speed, but does it count as a road bike? Next to Chicago's "other submarine" at the time.Three years later, I was riding some French built bike, but cannot recall the name. Learned to ride a bike in 1958.

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Old 05-01-21, 02:59 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
Back in the early days of 10-speeds, chainrings didn't have ramps or pins, so shifting wasn't quite as reliable as it is now.
Same with freewheels. I have an '84 Univega Gran Rally with friction shifters. I replaced the stock freewheel with an inexpensive Sunrace with ramped teeth. The shifting is 100x better.
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Old 05-01-21, 03:00 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by Doc_Wui
July 1973, with my new Sears Free Spirit. It was a 10 speed, but does it count as a road bike?
Of course! Sears most have sold millions of them.
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Old 05-02-21, 08:14 PM
  #33  
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Started riding in 1956. First bike was a Kelly Green Schwinn that we'd probably call a beach cruiser now. Plus/minus 3" tires and a 'gas tank' under the top tube. My first road bike was a French bike called an Elvish Fontane (spelling and exact name are best guesses). A Schwinn Varsity or Continental soon followed.
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Old 05-03-21, 02:53 AM
  #34  
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Me, on left with cap,and first bike. Circa 1954.
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Old 05-03-21, 06:21 AM
  #35  
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Been riding since the late 1960s. First "road" bike was one I used (but didn't own), a family member's Schwinn Le Tour in the late 1970s. Before then, it had been a "cruiser" type bike I'd put together myself about 10yrs earlier.

Haven't had many bikes. Have never, yet, owned a dedicated "road" bike. Currently have a refurbished Trek 970 that's been modeled after a more-upright "city" bike format.
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Old 05-03-21, 11:27 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by fujidon
My first real road bike was a Schwinn Varsity. I bought it with my paper route money and went everywhere on that heavy 10-speed. That was in 1968, so 53 years ago.

I'm sure that's easily beaten.
Mine too. It was purple. Mom got it as a hand-me-down from a cousin.
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Old 05-03-21, 12:17 PM
  #37  
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Like so many others, a Schwinn Varsity in '69 or '70. But not more than a year later, several of my HS classmates showed up with hot new European bikes. Raleigh, Gitane, Jeunet, etc. All of a sudden the Varsity looked, well, dowdy. And heavy. Sold it and bought a sexy Gitane Interclub with skinny sew-up (tubular) tires. Living in Wisconsin, the new kids on the block (Trek) showed up a few years later. I saw a Trek TX-500 frame hanging on the wall of my LBS in 1977 and I took the bait. It was one size too big for me, but WTF, how would that stop a 19 year old? It was from Trek's first year in production (1976). Transferred as much from the Gitane to the Trek as I could, built up the rest. Beautiful, still have it. The Trek hippies were amateurs in those days, so a few defects, but who cares? A lovely bike that is a joy to ride.

Oh, forgot to say, I'm 64.
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Old 05-03-21, 12:39 PM
  #38  
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I've tried many times to find a photo of my first childhood bicycle but there doesn't seem to be one in the ol' family photo album collection. I guess it was either a Schwinn, Sears, or Western Flyer. Purple with sissy bar, banana seat, and chrome fenders.

Years later I got my first road bike, and I knew nothing about modern road bikes. It was a purple Trek from around 1997 or so. Which made me happily nostalgic, thinking of my purple childhood bike.

When I saw the ad on Craiglist, I thought was "wow, that bike has no shifters." Totally blew my mind to learn about brifters instead of frame-mounted shifters.
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Old 05-03-21, 12:44 PM
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I’ve been riding road bikes for 46 years and my first road bike was a ‘75 Schwinn Traveler. I thought the lugged frame of the Traveler was much better than the Varsity and I convinced my Dad that was what I needed for Christmas. It was still about 36lbs, maybe 4lbs lighter than the Varsity.

My first “real” bike was an ‘84 Trek 760, which I raced while I was at Indiana University. I loved that bike. It was stolen in the late ‘80s but I bought the same frame about 5 years ago. Doesn’t really fit me right because it has a long top tube, but it is buttery smooth 531.

I recently went back to a Schwinn by buying an ‘86 Schwinn Peloton. Nice bike - and it fits me well. It’s my “custom” steel frame. I’ve probably had about 10 ‘80s steel bikes until I found one that fits me best. It came with a straight block 13-18 freewheel, and I can’t believe that’s what I used 35 years ago, even in the hills of Bloomington, IN.

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Old 05-03-21, 01:36 PM
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My first bike was what was called a "sidewalk bike." It was yellow, had solid wheels like coaster wagon wheels (no-spokes) and a V-belt drive instead of a chain. That was 1948. That was followed by a 20" bike of unknown brand, a 24" Schwinn, and a 2-speed Schwinn Corvette (1956). I then had several middleweight bikes that I fitted with dropped handlebars and Brooks saddles, although they used the trusty Bendix 2-speed hub. The first derailleur bike was a Schwinn Collegiate in 1963. The first true "road bike" (full derailleur and dropped bars) was a Motobecane Nomade in 1978. I recently donated it to a charity, but I still have a dozen bikes hanging in my garage. I worked for a Schwinn distributor for many years, so it was always easy to buy, sell, and upgrade my bikes, and I had access to a warehouse of parts. We had it all, from Sting Rays to Paramounts. I'll be 78 in June, and still riding every sunny day.
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Old 05-03-21, 01:37 PM
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Not counting the Schwinns, my first real road bike was an early 70’s Raleigh Competition bought new with money earned from caddying at the country club.
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Old 05-03-21, 02:00 PM
  #42  
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My first bike in 1953 in England was a nondescript upright single speed with rod-operated brakes, my second, a brand-new Raleigh Trent Tourist with 3-speed Sturmey Archer hub gear to which I added a three speed derailleur to give me nine speeds. In 1957, I sold my electric trainset and had a Maclean Featherweight frame built to my specs at Maclean in London. The steel frame and fork weighed only 4.25 lb. I built up a fixie, then later added Campag Nuovo gears and Stronglight triple chainset.. In around 1960 I was car doored and the bike was damaged. By this time, Maclean had gone out of business, so I had it repaired and painted red with hand-painted decals. Many years later, in the USA I had it painted as it is today with upgraded wheels, gears etc, plus I found a source of original Maclean decals. It's still my most comfortable ride.

1957 No Lycra then!!

1960-

2003 onwards
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Old 05-03-21, 02:02 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by AlanO
Not counting the Schwinns, my first real road bike was an early 70’s Raleigh Competition bought new with money earned from caddying at the country club.
Danny? Danny Noonan, is that you?
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Old 05-03-21, 03:24 PM
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I cannot win. I am only 72. My first bike was a girl's 20-inch bike to learn how to ride in 1958 purchased from the Wards catalog.
My second bike was purchased in 1959 from the John Deere dealer in the county seat. We had to order it. I wanted an English Racer because that is what one of the older boys in school just got.
Mine was black like his 3-speed hub Schwinn 26-inch wheels with a generator for the lights. It cost $83 and we had to wait several weeks for it to come in. We did not know about frame size until much later.
With the seat all the way down and my toe pointed I was still about an inch short of reaching the peddle at its lowest point. I rode 2.5 miles to school whenever the weather was good. 2 miles of it were a dirt and gravel road.
I road quite a bit but I do not think I ever got more than 12 miles from home on that bike.
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Old 05-03-21, 04:12 PM
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I'm 83. Bought my first 10 speed in the late '50's when I was a student at Long Beach State College. At the time, I was living in Whittier, which is east of LA. When I looked for a bike locally, all the LBS just looked at me like I was nuts. I ended up going to West LA and found a shop that sold Uragos. The Urago brothers started in the mid '30's and lasted into the '80's, I believe. It had a Simplex 5 gear cluster, but you had a choice, top 4 or bottom 4. Never could get it to shift through all 5 speeds. The chain ring derailleur was operated by a short lever mounted on the seat tube.
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Old 05-03-21, 06:47 PM
  #46  
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First bike, Schwinn Typhoon in about 1964. Kept it busy (paper route) until mini bikes hit the scene in about 1966 or 67. Went to college in 73 and met serious cyclists. Got a Peugeot UO8 and it went from there. Raced and rode from then on. Rode 50 miles yesterday. I'm sure there are plenty out there doing it way longer than me.

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Born Feb 1955
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Old 05-03-21, 07:02 PM
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I'm 73, learned to ride a bike when I was in first grade, which would have been '54 or so, a 24" Schwinn single speed.

Got my first road bike when I was in the Army stationed in Germany in 1972. It was a Peugeot PX8, which I believe was a European version of a UO8. Had steel fenders with headlights (yellow light bulbs) and taillights, a small rear rack, steel cottered crank, Simplex Prestige derailleurs, and MAFAC Racer center pull brakes. I bought it at the French military PX that was in the same town I was stationed in (Kaiserslautern) because our PX didn't sell bikes. IIRC I paid the French equivalent of $63 for it. Rode it around Germany for the couple years I was there including a trip with a buddy to Holland, and brought it home with me in Dec '73. After a year or so I traded it off on a silver and red '74 Motobecane Grand Jubile. I've been in love with early/mid-70s Motobecanes ever since.
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Old 05-04-21, 04:43 AM
  #48  
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New bikes I had as a kid before becoming a cyclist, were a Huffy standard in about 1964. My grandfather gave my brother and I identical ones for Christmas. They looked good beside the tree on Christmas morning. In about 1967 I got exactly what I wanted for my 14th birthday, a Western Flyer sting ray style Buzz Bike III from Western Auto.

I became a cyclist when in college. My parents gave me barely survivable support to attend college in 1977, $60 each. I paid all expenses including rent, tuition, and books on $120 a month, plus income from a part time job. My mom sent me a timely chunk of money when I really needed it. Probably the most significant support I ever got in my life, mainly because the timing was perfect. It took me from stressing about finances, to bicycle shopping.

I went to visit friends at a university I had previously attended, and happened to stop at the correct bike shop. Bought a Centurian Super LeMans for around $185, over $800 in today's dollars. Shop rep recommended a rear derail upgrade to a Suntour Cyclone, then threw it in.

Rode the heck out of that bike and still have it. The college I went to had an on campus charity relay race I entered 4 times, my team winning twice. My bike even though it was a touring bike, did well, riding two legs with a seat adjustment. My son rode the same bike at the same college as a fixed gear.

I bought a Performance bike shop Superbe in 1982 for $550, $1500 in todays dollars. It was my dream bike, with everything I wanted. Tange #1 tubing, pretty lugs, beautiful red metallic paint, all the braze ons I wanted and none I didn't, and great performing and lovely Suntour Superbe group. I rode it for over 30 years as my sole ride, quite reliable and long wearing. A rear rim replacement, and two broken front derails, but other than that, just normal wear items. The brake and derail cables are still original. I still ride it at my second winter abode.
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Old 05-04-21, 05:36 PM
  #49  
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I am somewhat coordination-challenged and was finally able to balance a bicycle at age 12, when I bought a friend's early 1950s Schwinn American, with a 2-speed Bendix hub with a handbrake-style shift lever, 26x1.75" tires, and paperboy handlebars. Having finally discovered a sport I enjoyed, I asked my father for a road bike for Christmas 6 months later, and got a bottom-of-the-line 1962 Bianchi Corsa, with 26" wheels, 21" frame, Huret half-step gearing, Pirelli Stella whitewall tires, and steel Universal sidepull brakes factory-cabled right-front/left-rear. Fast forward 58 years, and I am still hooked on cycling. My first bikes were a fat-tired Schwinn and a Bianchi road bike, and guess what I have now? (See signature -- I've been "recycled.")
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Old 05-04-21, 07:24 PM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by ridesoldtrek
Living in Wisconsin, the new kids on the block (Trek) showed up a few years later. I saw a Trek TX-500 frame hanging on the wall of my LBS in 1977 and I took the bait. It was one size too big for me, but WTF, how would that stop a 19 year old? It was from Trek's first year in production (1976). Transferred as much from the Gitane to the Trek as I could, built up the rest. Beautiful, still have it. The Trek hippies were amateurs in those days, so a few defects, but who cares? A lovely bike that is a joy to ride.

Oh, forgot to say, I'm 64.
I'm thinking we must know each other. My HS bike was a Bottecchia. La Crosse Central 1974. Home town?
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