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

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

Old 04-29-21, 03:28 AM
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Lazyass
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Who's been cycling the longest and what was your first road bike?

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.
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Old 04-29-21, 04:02 AM
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Get ready for the contest.

I predict in less than one page there will be a guy who says he delivered telegraph messages by bike. Right after that will be a guy who delivered messages on stone tablets. Itís like my grandpa used to say, "the first liar doesn't stand a chance".
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Old 04-29-21, 04:26 AM
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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.
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Old 04-29-21, 06:20 AM
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At 66 I am not going to be that guy. Like fujidon I had a Varsity in the late sixties , although I rode that bike everywhere, I really didn’t know what cycling was all about until the mid seventies when I got my first racer. That is when “riding a bike “ became cycling . I started venturing out regularly and by 1976 I parked my car for a number of years and rode that racer as transportation. My wife and I lived on a sailboat and had nice bikes for getting around . We didn’t drive for two to three years, cycling to work and back as well as just about everything else. Occasionally taking a bus , but back then public transportation wasn’t that good in Oxnard, California.
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Old 04-29-21, 06:51 AM
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I've had more than one person look at me incredulously when they ask me how long I've been cycling, and I tell them "since I was 5 years old." I will be 55 in July. Aside from a couple of weeks of downtime once when I had a bicycle stolen and therefore had to find a suitable replacement, I have been cycling since. I don't really remember my first real road bike, I think it was some Sears Freestyle model, but the first road bike I raced was an 80s Raleigh sport-touring model, don't remember which. I remember removing all the non-essentials (kickstand, reflectors, safety levers) and moving the shifters from the stem to the downtube. I was able to hold my own on club rides with guys riding their DeRosa and Colnago bikes.

Probably not the longest, but 50 years of almost uninterrupted cycling ain't too bad.
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Old 04-29-21, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by fujidon View Post
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.
I'm not in the running, but since I just made some pics after cleaning up my 1st bike I'm joining in. I fully expected to get a Schwinn Varsity as my 1st bike-store bike in the early 80's, but the bike shop salesman made me aware of Japanese bikes that sold for about the same, were 10 lbs lighter, and the big sales feature - was made in a taller frame than the Schwinn's. I bought an 27" '82 Fuji Supreme and I still have it and the paperwork. I wish I had reached out to more cyclists back then, but basically I rode for transportation and solo recreational rides. I gradually got out of cycling as busy work-life, golfing, and daughters playing travel sports took up my weekends. After becoming empty nesters I got back in a big way in 2014 and found how much fun it is to share the riding experience both with family and a supportive local group. I still always wanted an old school Schwinn from having Schwinn-envy growing up, and found a great deal on a '75 Continental that I ride often.

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Old 04-29-21, 08:00 AM
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My first road bike was a Fiorelli 10 speed Italian racing bike purchased second hand in 1967. It weighed 29 pounds and had lower level Campignolo components. Sure was a step up from my previous bike, a Schwine 3 speed. I kept it until the mid 1970s when I lost the bike off the back of my car when I failed to secure it to the rack. By that time it was my winter bike, replaced by a Motobecane Le Champion road bike.
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Old 04-29-21, 08:14 AM
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I'm sure it's not me, but fwiw I've been riding since 1967. My first bike was a Murray Meteor Flite U-42 exacty like the red 24" model in this ad:

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Old 04-29-21, 08:42 AM
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Another that is not in the mix for the oldest, but surely getting up there. My first real roadbike, 10 speed with drop bar, was a Motobecane, I think 1972. However years before that, I had a Phillips 3 speed that I bought with paper route money. That really would be considered a road bike. It was very durable and I beat it up with doing the paper route, trail riding, and doing jumps and tricks. Still one of my favorites.
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Old 04-29-21, 08:53 AM
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I have been cycling for 74 years. My first road bike was a bike from Coast to Coast hardware store with 24 inch wheels. I was small for my age.
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Old 04-29-21, 09:01 AM
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Replacements for my first 2 bikes

I certainly have not been riding the longest. My first bike was a small green Robin Hood 3 speed that my parents got me in the late 60s and which I rode to grade school. I remember being jealous of all the cool kids who had sting rays. I rode that Robin Hood everywhere and used it to go fishing with it as well. I fixed my first flat using my mother's spoons to pry off the tire. The flat got fixed which made me happy but my Mom was none too happy since I bent her spoons.

My parents sold the green Robin Hood when we moved. But then I found this black Robin Hood from 1969. I don't ride it as much as that old green one but it gets used.

My first road bike was a Nishiki 10 speed with "rattrap" pedals and "safety" levers. I rode that bike everywere. I learned how to wrench on it since I took it apart and rebuilt it. A few years back I found this Sekine SHS 271 which is a nicer bike than that Nishiki with forged suntour drop outs and a chrome moly frame but it does have safety levers, . Riding that bike is a blast from my high school past for sure.


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Old 04-29-21, 09:18 AM
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While in Jr High in the mid to late 80's, I worked at a bike shop in Rhode Island and got an at-cost deal on a new Shogun (something similar to the one below, but not exactly). It was my pride and joy. But I hadn't fully grown by that point and grew out of the small frame size within a couple years, and didn't get another road bike until 30 yrs later.

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Old 04-29-21, 09:51 AM
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When I lived in England I used to commute 2 miles each way to school on my bike (a Phillips single-speed, similar to a Raleigh Superbe but without the gearing) starting in 1965. After emigrating to the US I purchased a Huffy 3-speed to start my paper route with and when I finally saved enough money I bought a brand spanking new 1968 Raleigh Record 10-speed. I absolutely loved that bike and kept it through my freshman year at UC Berkeley (1972-73), using it for many long trips. After that, a long succession of more capable machines were traded up for (Holdsworth, Paramount, Raleigh International, Ron Cooper...).
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Old 04-29-21, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
I have been cycling for 74 years.
I'd say we have a contender!
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Old 04-29-21, 02:20 PM
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I started riding in 1952. In '53-'56 I rode to school and back from our Alaska homestead. I saved money from my paper route and bought a JC Higgins 3-speed in 1957. I bought my first real road bike (used) in '63, a '61 full-Campy Legnano with half-step gearing, clips and straps. Rode my first solo century in '63 or '64 around Cayuga Lake. That was a wonderful bike. I rode it until I had to go in the Army.
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Old 04-29-21, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
a '61 full-Campy Legnano with half-step gearing
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.
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Old 04-29-21, 04:01 PM
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I started at 6 in 1950, but that wasn't a road bike. I had a Raleigh Sports 3 speed 'English racer' around 1955, but it got stolen around '57. My first adult bike was a Sears 5-speed that was trashed by thief and needed replacement, followed by an 'Astra', I think. - I know it was a Gitane brand with bolted on wheels, but I'm not sure of the brand - in 1972. That was too big for me, but it took me the 5 miles from my home to Lane Hall in Ann Arbor and back in less time than driving, parking off campus, and walking to campus took. I took several long breaks from biking, so I haven't been biking the longest, either.
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Old 04-29-21, 05:00 PM
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I started when I was 6 in 1972. I had an assortment of Schwinns as a kid including a 25 YO (early 50s) cruiser type for delivering papers. My parents got me a 5spd Schwinn but I bought a used Varsity when I was 15 as my first
"10 spd" in IIRC 1981 or so.
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Old 04-29-21, 08:17 PM
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In 1977 I took a new job and lived in an apartment about 3 miles away from where I worked, so I bought a 10-speed Rampar to commute by bike. The next year I moved much closer to my job and started walking to work, and didn't ride a bike again for 40 years.
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Old 04-29-21, 08:30 PM
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In '71 at 11 I was hit by a car while riding my brother's generic sting-ray. Out of that deal, much to my brother's chagrin, I got a new Sears Free Spirit 10-speed. My parents' logic, as far as I can tell, is that I was riding my brother's bike because I didn't have one of my own.

It's debatable if that's a real road bike, but it had gears and drop bars, and it was the first bike to take me out of the neighborhoods. It was on that bike I learned there was a world out there away from the family, and it was good. I've ridden since.

Later I skipped over the Varsity and went straight to a Continental, but by then I was already a cyclist.
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Old 04-29-21, 08:57 PM
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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.
Half step means that the big jumps in gear ratios are between the rear cogs and small jumps are between the chainrings. This is the opposite of modern bikes. For this to happen, the jump between chainrings is half the percentage jump (hence half-step) between rear cogs. This method eliminates duplicate gearing, which is a problem when you only have 8 or 10 usable gears. Half-step gearing was pretty common all the way into the late-80s. Modern bikes have lots of duplicate gears but nobody cares because there are so many of them. For example, Shifting from the large to the 2nd larges cog might result in a 10% change in gear ratio. If instead you leave the chain on the largest cog but instead shift from the small to the large chainring the gear ratio only changes by 5%.
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Old 04-30-21, 07:22 AM
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Originally Posted by davester View Post
Half step means... [snip]
Fascinating. Can you give an example of the typical cog and chainring tooth-counts one would find on a bike like this? Thanks.
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Old 04-30-21, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Bob Ross View Post
Fascinating. Can you give an example of the typical cog and chainring tooth-counts one would find on a bike like this? Thanks.
Sure. My 1974 Cinelli is set up with a 32-24-20-16-13 freewheel with 47-42 chainrings. As you can see from this gear chart, that is a perfect half-step: https://ritzelrechner.de/?GR=DERS&KB...&DV=gearInches
Note that when I picked it up it was running a very different half-step (28-14 and 52-47) but I needed lower gears for the hills around here.
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Old 04-30-21, 09:28 AM
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Started riding at 6 yrs in '62. My first road bike was a Schwinn Varsity that I purchased myself from my paper route in 70-72. Was really proud of that bike. By the 80s everybody's asking why I'm still riding that old clunker.
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Old 04-30-21, 10:58 AM
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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.
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