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Old 10-31-09, 06:17 AM   #1
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What was your first bike?

My dad bought me an old Schwinn 26" bike when I was 6. My legs wouldn't reach the ground, but I learned to ride it anyway. I painted it with some old maroon house paint. The Christmas I was 13 I received a new Schwinn Corvette 3-speed and thought I was really uptown. I rode that bike many miles on my paper route.
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Old 10-31-09, 06:40 AM   #2
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I had a 20" Maroon Schwinn, then when I was 10 or 11 ( around 1961 or '62) my folks gave me a Columbia Thunderbolt. I rode that bike all over the county and there wasn't a part on it that I didn't personally handle at one time or another. I had at one time or another replaced all the bearing rings, the front fork, and a broken brake shoe in the Coaster Brake hub (I'm still amazed that it actually worked after that one)before finally it got tossed. It seemed like I always had that bike upside down on the garage floor for one reason or another. The tubes probably had more patch material than tube by the time I was done with it.

I consider this as my first bike.

I really miss that old bike. I found some pics on the internet of one that someone has restored.

Last edited by cranky old dude; 10-31-09 at 07:20 AM. Reason: speeling
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Old 10-31-09, 07:27 AM   #3
Pedaled too far.
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Well, I taught myself to ride at age 5 1/2 by borrowing a friend's Schwinn Pixie. But my first bike was a 24" Fleetwing that I got for my sixth birthday. And like the OP, it was much too big for me, as the pedal blocks attest.

The bike was made in England and distributed by Jordan Marsh and associated stores. Unlike the Schwinns that everyone else had, it had narrow tires. I was the only kid in the neighborhood with one. The gearing was just slightly lower than the schwinns. So when all the neighborhood kids would ride together, everyone would be pedaling in sync, except for me, and I was spinning.

It suffered at my hands of course. After a couple of years, it's green paint became rusty from Florida weather, so it got a coat of yellow house paint. The handle bars became apehanger handle bars, and the seat got chopped up in a poor attempt to make a banana seat out of it. And as trashed as it became, it got stolen out of a bike rack with well over 100 other unlocked bikes.

Interesting though, is that except for the wald basket and pedal blocks, it's set up much like my current utility bike.

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Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.

Last edited by Artkansas; 10-31-09 at 07:31 AM.
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Old 10-31-09, 07:35 AM   #4
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First ride was a mid 60's Mattel Stallion; a heavy chrome bike with rear shocks. I actually learned to ride in a Florida orange grove on that beast. Every tree was a magnet!

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Old 10-31-09, 08:31 AM   #5
just keep riding
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The first one I remember was a Western Auto bike with what I guess was 20" wheels and a coaster brake. Just a standard bike. No "gas tank" or anything stylish. The handlebars were similar to modern MTB riser bars but with more sweep. One of the main things I remember about that bike was my dad having to frequently have the handlebars re-welded after I would wreck the bike and break them.
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Old 10-31-09, 08:36 AM   #6
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How could I ever forget my first? 9 years old in 1946 and for Christmas received a brand new Schwinn Deluxe 26" bicycle! WOW! Had a horn built right in the cross bar and all you had to do was push a button. Sure didn't take long to run the batteries down the first time around the block. Two tone maroon/creme, "V" handlebars, whiteside wall tires, and it was the prettiest bike in the neighborhood! My first job later was running a paper route and did that for a couple of years. Wish I knew how many miles were put on that bike!
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Old 10-31-09, 08:46 AM   #7
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Mine was a Colson with 20" wheels, full fenders, and a rear kickstand that flipped up to clip onto a fitting on the back of the rear fender.

I was five years old, so I guess it was in 1947. We lived in the country so there were no paved roads, only gravel and dirt. That bike took a hell of a beating but lasted a long time.
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Old 10-31-09, 09:03 AM   #8
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It was a 1955 Columbia 26 inch, much too big for me, and nobody had heard of pedal blocks. It was several years before I could actually pedal it, and even that required the use of a step to climb on the thing. It was a beast, but much more convenient for routine transportation than most bikes sold today in the US. Not nearly as good as the British 3 speed I encountered a few years later, though.

That leads to a question for Stepfam -- why do the Brits make the best stuff in the world and then suddenly stop making it? This applies to bikes, cars, airplanes, and castles. Castles I can understand.

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Old 10-31-09, 09:08 AM   #9
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Into the "way back machine" the 1950's my first bike was a JC Higgins...with a headlight, tank, horn with a "button", and the red/white/blue plastic streamers coming out of the was black and gold.......I remember the christmas that I got it....learned to ride in around october, borrowed a friend's bike to ride and then asked "santa".....looked like the photo.....
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Old 10-31-09, 09:20 AM   #10
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Learned on a 24" girls bike. Name had been painted over before dad got it so no idea what brand. The first one I considered mine was a 26" Coast King which was the Coast to Coast Hardware store brand. My brother ended up with a 26" Murray. They are both now at my brother's lake cabin with 2 speed rear ends.
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Old 10-31-09, 09:31 AM   #11
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First bike was way to big for me.All i remember was it was repainted blue with white fenders.Country boy so all dirt and gravel riding only.Taught myself to ride it.I remember first ride where i stayed upright, i tried riding it through the gate and hit gate post head on.I can still feel the pain Lol.Its a wonder that i ever was able to have kids.Like i said i still remember the pain.Funny now,not then.
Incidently it was fixed gear.Lotsa bruised shins to prove it.

Last edited by ddez; 10-31-09 at 01:23 PM. Reason: added to as i remember.
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Old 10-31-09, 12:23 PM   #12
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Cant remember to be honest I can hardly remember what I did a year ago and in fact what are we talking about here?
It gets worse everyday.
I am sure it was a handmedown from one of my brothers but as I said....
I do remember a three speed I had, it had a little finger trigger shifter and it was a black bike.
Sorry for being so uninformed
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Old 10-31-09, 01:19 PM   #13
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I don't even know what my first bike was, even though I remember it vividly. It was a 20" red standard bike from the mid-'50s. My dad bought it used (or traded it for services, as was customary at the time) polished it up, painted it, and hand pinstriped it with a neat pinstriping tool he had. My grandmother always reminded me that it was her that taught me to ride, since she happened to be the person holding the back of my seat as I took off for my first ride of more than 5-6 feet across the front yard. I probably went 20. The bike had no distinguishing features that I can recall. I know it wouldn't be a Schwinn or other expensive bike. It would be a second or third had mass market bike like sold in hardware stores in our town. Department stores did not have bikes.

Second was a also used non-descript 24" bike that Dad got used and repainted/pinstriped. This one had had more repairs than the first, and I discovered one during a ride across a dip in the field. You know the trick,; get going as fast as possible downhill to make the uphill side easier. Except on the rough dirt track at the bottom, the weld in the steering tube parted. I momentarily was riding with handlebars and a couple inches of tube in hand, while the frame bounced off of the fork, and the broken portion of the steering tube headed my way. It hit me on the bone of my lowest right rib, punctured the skin, and then glanced off. Neighbor lady found me there bleeding in my t-shirt that I was using as a bandage and called my Dad. No serious damage, but it sure could have been. I got a tetinous [sp] shot, a scar, and a new bike out of the short ride.

The new bike was some sort of 26" S/A 3-speed twist grip purchased with S&H Green Stamps from the filling station. My brother got one just like it a few years later. I don't know what it was, but I recall that mine was English with 3-piece cottered crank, while his was American made with a one-piece crank. Otherwise they were nearly identical, down to the 2-tone green/white sprung vinyl saddle. Like an idiot, in the '70s, I decided that it would look better with an automotive candy apple gold metal flake paint job rather than the original green.

This was followed by a 5-speed knock-off of the stingray, with a sissy bar, and springer fork. I ordered it from Speigal in Chicago, and it was delivered to the house by REA freight. Silly, really, as I started driving just a few months later in 1969, and never really rode that one again.

In college in the '70s I bought a Corso for $80. This was the most bizarre collection of parts ever, having a mix of garbage and semi high end parts. Brooks leather saddle (I stupidly let go later), white Pirelli tires on heavy steel wheels, Simplex drive, Weinemann brakes etc. weighted over 30#. I kept this until I was almost 40, and sold it to a friend when I bought the Bridgestone RB-T in 1992.

So even with the recent addition of the Xtracycle and Dad's old unicycle, I've only had eight bikes in my 56 years.

Oh, wait. You said "first bike." Sorry, I got carried away...
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Old 10-31-09, 01:42 PM   #14
2 soon old, 2 late smart
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Dwight D. Eisenhower was president when my father bought my sister & me (we had to share) a little blue thing--AMF?--with training wheels that i just loved, & especially loved escaping that sister & disappearing for an afternoon of unfettered freedom. Bikes still mean unfettered freedom, and my bikes are still blue.
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Old 10-31-09, 01:48 PM   #15
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52 Huffy with a kisser on the back rack.

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Old 10-31-09, 01:53 PM   #16
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First ? doesn't count, a kiddie bike, fixed gear, hand me down.

First REAL Bike was a late '50 FireStone; front coil spring, 20' wheels. looked like a MotorCycle ... BEYOND PeeWee Herman.............................Still a hand me down.
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Old 10-31-09, 02:01 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
52 Huffy with a kisser on the back rack.

I'm pretty sure I had a shirt like that; but my girlfriends weren't that cute.
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Old 10-31-09, 02:26 PM   #18
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Schwinn Typhoon, red. New in 1959.5, from Hutch's Bike Shop in Eugene, Oregon.

Also the first bike that I crashed on; overlapped another kid while coasting downhill, and training wheel brace hit his rear wheel, sending me onto the pavement and skinning up elbows and knees.
Later rode my sister's 3-speed (more gears triumphed over riding a "girl's bike") for a while, then had a Schwinn 3-speed - blue, also from Hutch's.
Summer '68, a Raleigh Grand Prix, grey and blue, from Collin's Cycle in Eugene.
Fall of '69, bought an upgraded Raleigh Super Course, green, from one of the Collin's Mechanics.
Spring '70, older brother shipped me his PX-10 (white); he was not able to ride the bike at the time, and shared it with me. It was stolen from my girlfriend's back yard in the fall of '71. I borrowed the Grand Prix from the fellow high-school student that I'd sold it to, since I rode my bike to school all the time.
February, '72, Stella Tour de France, orange, full Campagnolo including brakes.
Fall, '72 - Schwinn coaster brake/clunker with 2-speed hub, from a fellow college student for $25 or so, to ride on campus; "Stella" hung in dorm room window and was reserved for training rides.
Fall 2007, Miyata 512, yellow/black, eBay.
Summer 2008 - LeMond tandem, red, via a message board connection.
Fall 2008 - Univega Gran Turismo, light bronze-ish, eBay.

Last edited by moleman76; 10-31-09 at 02:28 PM. Reason: added a bike to list
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Old 10-31-09, 02:40 PM   #19
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I'm amazed you guys can remember the exact models of your first bikes. I had a red bike for a while, and finally was given a blue English racer with three speeds Man that thing was fast.

I do remember doing stuff to the red bike. Rode it everywhere, even into the woods. Things were always coming off, or the handlebar would work its way loose, or whatever. Baseball cards in the spokes, streamers, baskets, you name it.

I wish I could remember what bike I used for my paper route. I had that bike for a long time.
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Old 10-31-09, 03:02 PM   #20
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Since I have always been coordination-challenged, I was not able to balance a bicycle until the summer I turned 12, when I bought a friend's Schwinn middleweight, with 26x1.75" tires, paperboy handlebars, and a 2-speed Bendix coaster hub with a gearshift which looked like a brake lever. I soon was hooked on bicycling, the only sport I have ever truly loved, and I managed to talk my father into buying me a low-end Bianchi 10-speed that Christmas.

For me, bicycling has been life-transforming and probaby lifesaving, and I owe my current level of cardiovascular fitness to 100,000 miles in the saddle.
"Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." --Theodore Roosevelt
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Old 10-31-09, 04:27 PM   #21
Time for a change.
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First was a Trike- Secondhand when I was about 3 and it was Purple. No idea what happened to that one but the next was based on the Corgi bikes used by the Paratroopers in WWll. First real bike though was a Phillips 20" single speed in red. Had that for about 4 years before the Raleigh Trent tourist came along one summer. 3 speed and it got well used. Had it for about 8 years but when I went into the Marines- My dad sold it.
How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.

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Old 10-31-09, 04:38 PM   #22
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I can't remember my first bike, probably a 1951 or 1952, and I am pretty sure that it was 24". I could not reach the pedals so Dad, bolted on wood blocks to the pedals. Later in the 50's I got a 26" Columbia.
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Old 10-31-09, 05:06 PM   #23
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My first bicycle was a 20 inch with a coaster brake. I was about 6 years old. Before that, I had a tricycle. The first bike that I purchased was a 10 speed Schwinn Varsity.
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Old 10-31-09, 07:17 PM   #24
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A nice RollFast received for Christmas 1953. I think the original color was red. After a few years I painted it with Cream house paint...not a good job. Father had me sand that off and painted red again. Later sanded that and gave it a nice can spray of 1962 Ford Chestnut Brown. Went thru about 3 chain guards and three sets of fenders. Apparently didn't ride as much as I thought, as I never needed any new tires. Bike was stumped on in 1966 by some wasted Marines. While another later rebuilt. I left it at the base when I checked out..bikeless the next 15 years; although didn't really ride the 10 speed I bought next. Those skinny tires scared me at the time.

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Old 10-31-09, 07:20 PM   #25
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I got a Schwinn Streamliner for my 10th birthday in 1955. It was used, so I supposed it was a '54 model. It was red. I put a wald basket on the front and delivered papers. This isn't my bike, it's a shamelessly stolen image from the web.
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