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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 05-04-21, 08:03 PM
  #51  
ridesoldtrek
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Originally Posted by tigat View Post
I'm thinking we must know each other. My HS bike was a Bottecchia. La Crosse Central 1974. Home town?
Like dear old Dad used to say, "I know him, we went to different schools together!"

I was on the other side of the state. West Bend, class of 75. But we know each other as riders. Nice to meet you! I might be riding through LaCrosse this summer on my way from Minneapolis to Fond du Lac. We'll see if I make it.
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Old 05-05-21, 08:13 AM
  #52  
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When I was 10 I inherited a three-speed bike from the upstairs tenant's son when he got his license. It was what we called an"English" bike as it had a three-speed hub that didn't shift. It was way too big and hard to peddle but I rode around in third gear for about four years until it broke and I was bike-less. I got a ten-speed Columbia road bike when I got back from SEA and rode that for years. Lost that when I retired and moved to N.C in 2014. I got back on a Hybrid and now a Gravel Cannondale. Not a winner but I am 72 and still enjoy riding.
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Old 05-05-21, 09:55 AM
  #53  
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Turned first pedals on a two-wheeler in 1965.

First drop-bar road bike was a Bertin, ~1970, black with red label and bar tape, exactly like this one:


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Old 05-05-21, 10:12 AM
  #54  
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Still riding my first "real" bike

Not the oldest or longest riding, I'm sure, but my first bike (other than child-sized) is the one I'm riding now: 1969 Schwinn Racer, 3-speed, in "campus green." which I got for my 14th birthday. All original except tires, handgrips, brake pads, and seat. (I may have the original seat somewhere; it was still in decent condition, just kind of hard.) Oh, and I think I replaced the chrome fenders some 15-20 years back. Some additions, of course, such as a bike computer, lights, and bell. I'm putting a lot more miles on it since I retired!
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Old 05-05-21, 10:14 AM
  #55  
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Been riding bikes since I was four, so about 61 years. First road bike was unknown beater I bought senior year in college, but it got me back and forth on the forty mile round trip to finish my bachelor's degree after my car died near the end of senior year. First job I got after college, my first major purchase was a new 1981 Raleigh Super Grand Prix 2x6, 27 inch tires. Still have it, though I may give it away this summer. Four bikes is one too many...
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Old 05-05-21, 11:39 AM
  #56  
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I’ve been riding bicycles since I was seven. At that age I loved it. My Dad built us bikes which were loved, worked on, thrashed, welded, rode hard, raced, wheeled, jumped, welded again and rode til there was nothing left to weld. Still ride today many years later on mountain, road, gravel, touring, custom and everything in between and still need to work on them. I still love riding. I don’t count the miles or the years I ride the miles and the years.
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Old 05-05-21, 01:37 PM
  #57  
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65 yrs riding, but not a contender

Got my first bike in 1956 -brand unknown w/ balloon tires. Started riding 3sp Raleighs in 1960 and was on my way to independence. Amazing that I never got hit riding the state routes and treacherous CT back roads at 10-12yo! I really wanted a 10 speed at 13, so my dad took my 3 speed, removed the fenders, repainted it a cool copper metallic color, installed drop bars and returned it as my “new racer”. I put hundreds of miles on that bike and never got my 10 speed until college at UCONN. I bought a new Vista to impress a girl I knew who rode all the time. Not too sure what happened to that bike after I bought my first motorcycle...

In 1975 I walked into the brand new Austro Daimler flagship store in CT prepared to buy a Vent Noir and walked out with a pair of AD-SL’s after my wife said she wanted a bike too. Hers got hung up after a couple rides; mine got daily and then intermittent use for the next 15 years with an attached child carrier.

I consider the Austro Daimler my first good bike, overhauled it 2 years ago and it still works & looks great. Still riding it and five other bikes - all middle market machines... but not a ‘longest riding history’ contender. Cheers!

[img]blob:https://www.bikeforums.net/08fe97fc-87b5-4ac0-8acb-33c2cf14ca42[/img]
Yeah, I have to remove the pie plate 😎
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Old 05-05-21, 08:02 PM
  #58  
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I have no idea how old I was when I first learned to ride, maybe 1962 or 63. By 1965 I knew that I liked to ride, and I had a Rudge 3-speed. By 67 or 68 I had a Varsity. The transition to "cyclist" happened in 1972. I ditched the Varsity for a gaspipe Chiorda and a year later bought a Zeus Professional. I don't have that any longer, I replaced it with a Mercian Professional in 88 that I still ride, among others. I'm fortunate enough to have not missed a season since I first got on a bike all those years ago.
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Old 05-06-21, 08:36 PM
  #59  
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In 1965, at the age of 13, I rode 55 hilly miles on a 3-speed that I had rescued from the local dump. Two friends joined me on their "ten-speeds."

My friends hitch-hiked a ride in the back of a pickup truck the last 15 miles. I don't think either of them rode their bikes much after that, but I was hooked. I've been riding steadily ever since.

Brent
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Old 05-06-21, 08:46 PM
  #60  
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1952 for My 10th Birth Day Dad bought me a New Huffy.
He rode it up the driveway with a Hugh Grin on his Face.
Six years later He passed from a Heart Attack.
Pic 1953
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Old 05-06-21, 10:52 PM
  #61  
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Don’t know if this qualifies as a ‘road bike’ but the first multi-speed long haul bike was a green 10-speed Schwinn Continental. I had it as a HS freshman in 1969.

I rode it until I bought a proper road bike in 1980, a Bianchi Trofeo del Mundo, which I still have. Going from a 30 lb bike to a 24 lb bike was life changing at the time. Last year and a couple of bikes later, I purchased a carbon frame Bianchi and it is as life changing as leaving the Schwinn.



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Old 05-08-21, 04:41 PM
  #62  
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Had a used 20" bike with a banana seat as a kid, then a Schwinn Typhoon. Around 1970 I bought a red Schwinn Continental with chrome fenders.
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Old 05-09-21, 08:46 AM
  #63  
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1/2 my lifetime
70yo.
35+ years continuously riding road bikes.

edit: growing up poor, there was only the 'family bike' - a 40#, single speed Sears bike. I was about 10 before I was big enough to learn to ride. From age 15 until about 30 there was no bike in my life. Then my knees started hurting from all the 'jogging'.

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Old 05-09-21, 02:35 PM
  #64  
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My first "nice" bike was a Gitane. I don't remember the model -- it was a metallic burnt orange in color.
That was about 45 years ago.
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Old 05-09-21, 02:48 PM
  #65  
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I've had bikes since 1960's but what I consider my first Road Bike came in 1972, I was a Jr. in High School and started as a apprentice mech. at a local shop, I went with the owner to pick up bikes from the supplier mostly stingray's, 3 speeds and some low end 10 speeds but the supplier just got in some bikes from Italy and I had to have one, so the owner picked it up and I paid him for it. It was a Olmo 10 speed racer, I don't have a photo of the actual bike, too bad as it came in Screaming Zonker Yellow but here's a different color version:
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Old 05-29-21, 09:43 PM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by Bob Ross View Post
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.
The idea is to have zero wasted gears by arranging the steps of the freewheel and the chainring so all possible gears fit together with zero overlap. this ,Simplest traditional ½ would be a 2 x 5. The widest 5-speed freewheel would be something like 14-31, with an overall ratio of 2.214. To step across this 4 times evently you need 4 steps of 22%, or a group of 5 sprokets with each pair ratio being 22%, or 1.22. For this one the full step is defined as 1.22.

Let's say the smallest is 14. times 1.22 gives 17 T, times 1.22 again gives 21 T, times 1.22 again gives 25 teeth, and times 1.22 one last time gives 31 teeth.

Lets say you are going to go for the highest racing gear in the 1950s or so, 14/52. We know this gets o about 52/14*26" = 96.5".

Now a 22% jump is pretty big, so we want to reduce it, but evenly. We can do this by making the ratio between the chainrings 11%, so therefore the smaller chainring will be 52 T/ 1.11 = 47 teeth.

Now we have the simplest and widest half-step designed: 52/47 in the front, and 14/17/21/25/31 in the rear. The low gear will be 47/31*26" = 39" So the whole wide-range ½ step gets you 96" down to a low of 39".

So by a sequence of ten 11 % jumps up from 39/31, you will end up at 14/52, which is for top-speed butt-hauling down a flat road.
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Old 05-30-21, 11:07 AM
  #67  
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^^^nobody told me there was gonna be math!!!
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Old 05-30-21, 11:15 AM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by Bob Ross View Post
^^^nobody told me there was gonna be math!!!
The half-step is all about math! Also please note, there are a limited number of real-world combinations which are actually good half-steps. I discovered the 14-31 when I was thinking of buying a really good Urago a few years ago, and checking out the gearing. Foolishly I let it get away.

I think that even back in the day that freewheel would have been a custom!
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Old 06-03-21, 02:09 PM
  #69  
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Well over 100 years for me - and still going strong. Me in my prime:




(you just knew it was coming, right? )
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Old 06-03-21, 03:26 PM
  #70  
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I love these stories. I'm nowhere near being a contender for this prize. I grew up in the 70s and my family didn't hardly have a penny to our name so a reasonable bike wasn't really within reach. I learned how to ride a bike when I was 5 years old. The neighbors had a step through balloon tire bike that was in somewhat of a state of disrepair and did not have a chain but the tires would hold air. I figured out that I could put one foot one pedal and then push myself with the other foot and ride the bike more like scooter. I would push myself with 1 foot as hard as I could and then coast as far as possible and I would stand on the pedals because the bike was too tall for me to sit on the saddle.

I didn't take up cycling until I was an adult and didn't get my first road bike until about 13 years ago. I found it at an estate sale. The family of the deceased was getting rid of all his old belongings. They had this bike under a tarp and they weren't going to sell it but I was able to talk them out of it. I didn't really know what it was or anything about vintage bikes at the time. However, it looked like it was in great condition but just covered in years of dust from sitting in an attic. The people selling it didn't want to sell it because they thought that it was worth a little bit of money but didn't know how much so they were just waiting for a friend to assess the value for them. On sort of an impulse I made them an offer of $350 and they accepted. It is a 1978 (I think) Raleigh Competition GS almost completely original except for the tires. It even has the original Brooks Pro saddle and the original tire pump. The gum hoods on the levers were too cracked and dry to salvage so I had to replace them and I also replaced the handlebars with wider Nitto bars (but I still have the originals). I think that I paid a fair price for the bike, certainly not the deal of the century but I don't think that I overpaid either. This is the bike that introduced me to C&V.
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Old 06-03-21, 06:42 PM
  #71  
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Wow - where to start. I can remember some things from over 70 years ago better than I can remember some things from 5 years ago! When very little I had a tricycle. I remember one time the other kids and I decided to play "crash it" (I don't really remember the name). We rode our trikes into the brick wall of the house as hard as we could. I broke mine where the head tube connects to the "down tube." My father was really annoyed with me, but we went to a friend of his that had a welder and he welded my trike back together. My father said it's hot don't touch. So of course I touched it.

Later I got a tiny two wheeled bike. I was not yet in kindergarten, so I couldn't have been more than four. It was blue. I'm guessing it had a coaster brake, but I don't really remember. It did not have training wheels! I learned to ride by riding it up and down our asphalt driveway. The straight part was fairly easy to get. The turn arounds at the ends took me most of the day to learn. By the end of the day I could ride and had no skin on my knees or elbows. I started kindergarten in 1951, so this had to be 1950 or before.

A few years later my dad and uncle got some kind of deal on bikes for me and my two cousins. English racers! Three speeds with hand brakes. We left St. Louis when I was ten, so this must have been a fairly small version of a "grown up" bike. I think the bike was left behind when we moved to Arizona.

In AZ, I had a bike, but I don't remember much about it.

Went to Caltech 1964-68. I think I had a bike there (the bike I had in AZ?), but don't remember much about it. Moved to Princeton in 1968, and the bike definitely did not come with me. It may still be in the storage vaults at Caltech.

In 1972, my wife gave me a Raleigh Sports (English Racer! - 3 speed with hand brakes) and I rode it on and off again over the years. In 1997, I started to get really into biking and decided to do the 98 RAGBRAI. I thought I would do it on the Sports, but eventually realized I needed more gears, so I got a '98 Bianchi Volpe. Finally, a real road bike!

That lasted until 2012 when a chain stay broke. I got a Trek 520. And last year I got another Trek 520.

In 2005, I got a Greenspeed recumbent tandem tadpole tricycle - mainly to try to get my wife some exercise. Didn't work.

Last year, I got the 1972 Sports working again (new rims, pedals and other miscellaneous parts). So currently rideable bikes/trikes are the two 520s, the Sports, and the Greenspeed trike.
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Old 06-04-21, 08:10 AM
  #72  
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
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.
It won't be me, either - I started serious cycling in around 1978-79-ish, and my first bike was a Centurian. I'm 68 now.
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Old 07-16-21, 08:44 PM
  #73  
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
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.
Back in '59 I got my first decent bike i.e. one with a five gear derailer and straight handlebar at that time known as a "Halbrenner" (half racer), That was good for very, very many kilometres. Cycling around Lake Zürich — a cool 70 K on a Saturday afternoon.
Another route was heading NW from Zürich to the Rhein then along that going NE, next through the hilly part going E, followed by more hills SE All told 97 K (according to Map Pedometer). Between K94 and K95 there was a 10%+ "plunge" which still featured square cobble stones back in the early 60s. Talk about a rude awakening, eh!?!

The bike? Similar to this:

https://www.ricardo.ch/de/a/vintage-...lo-1120482340/

Presently 76 and counting.
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Old 07-17-21, 03:13 AM
  #74  
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For years I've been trying to remember what my first real kids bike was. It was a hand me down from my older cousin and all I could recall was it was orange and looked like a Stingray and the bike that got me into BMX. It was stolen out of my garage and I got a new '77 Schwinn Scrambler to replace it.

I was on CL yesterday and I saw it. Now I remember it was a Murray Wildcat. It was so rad but the biggest issue with these style bikes when BMX racing started was the rear wheels would break pretty easily. They usually had 28 or 32H rims and shops were building up 36's for racing. Dura Ace track cranks were also popular when they came out in '76. I almost want to buy this one, it comes with the lower stock bars as well.

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Old 07-17-21, 08:31 AM
  #75  
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Still riding my Peugeot bought in 1985.


Added a Swytch kit front wheel this year. As the gearing is hard this old man.
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