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My bike history... (post yours!)

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My bike history... (post yours!)

Old 04-21-04, 01:24 AM
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My bike history... (post yours!)

I have to say since discovering this site while searching for info on a 1989-ish Paramount a few weeks ago, I have been VERY impressed and happy with this site. I used to post on MTBR.com a lot, but its almost too big and posts get "lost", people get flamed, blah blah blah. Its tiring to keep up with. Anyways one thing thats really lacking on that site is the Commuter forum.

Anyways I thought some of you might be interested in reading about my "bike history". I know I'm always inerested in hearing how other got involved with the sport. When I was about 12 or so, my Dad bought me my first 26" wheeled bike from Sportmart. I thought I wanted to try mountain biking. Well needless to say the thing didn't shift right, weighed about 35lbs and the rims on it were not of the best quality. So I bent a rim and we took it in to the LBS in the Chicago suburbs where we were living at the time.

The "gentleman" working there was nothing but rude to us, and basically called my Dad an idiot for buying the Huffy, and went on about how all decent bikes have 36 spoked wheels (which I later counted and indeed had 36 spokes on the Huffy too...), and basically made me hate bikes and cyclists to the point I never rode again. We had similar previous dealings with this shop too, and it was the only LBS within a 30min drive.

Anyways the Huffy sat for a long time. I got into cars and could care less about bikes. Flash forward to me at 18. I'm working at a Porsche dealership detailing cars, my boss can't say enough good about me and my work so we get a 1998 VW Passat with the 20v turbocharged I4 and 5spd manual in on trade. Like I said, my boss likes me so he lets me have it at a loss to the dealership, so now I have a $150/mo car payment. This is one *****IN' car though. Gas crisis of 2000-ish hits, and suddenly its starting to really hurt to put Amoco/BP Premium in the tank when I am commuting 100mi a week to school and work.

My coworker Nathan shows up one day on his old Specialized Hardrock Ultra and starts talking about how he plans to save $30/wk on gas just by riding the 6mi or so into work. I start thinking how I'm really skinny but still outta shape, broke all the time and gas prices are $1.85+ for the stuff my car likes, so I decided to buy a new bike. I got a GT off eBay since GT was always a good brand when I was growing up, put it together myself, took it out for a ride and promptly shattered my collarbone on my first ride. Regardless, I was hooked.

I went in and had the bike PROPERLY setup by a shop that had subsequently opened in our area, which proved to be very friendly and helpful and showed me a lot about the drivetrain, etc. I started riding into work and found that I loved the freedom of riding, and was amazed when I would beat my coworker who drove, and lived on my route, to his house everyday after work.

I started to ride a forest preserve path near my house, which had a 9mi crushed gravel loop. I met all kinds of great people while riding and would ride this trail several times a week. I noticed my cardio and general health improved immensly (I was somewhat "sickly" at this point in my life). My Mom, who was ever concerned about my health even had to admit I looked really healthy for once.

Anyways we had to somewhat suddenly move to Michigan since my Dad lost his job after 24yrs. This was devastating to me since I had lived in the same neighborhood for 20 years, and had some of the same friends for 15-20 years of my life. I dropped out of school since our living arrangements, jobs, etc were all kind of uncertain at that point, and we moved to Grand Rapids, MI. I traded my Passat in on a clean 1990 Mitsubishi Montero and actually made money on the deal since I had paid so little for the Passat. I just couldn't have a car payment anymore with all the uncertainty.

We moved in July, and I got to MI and promptly had no friends, and no way to make friends seeing as I didn't have a job, and I didn't go to school. I was horribly depressed and found out though that were several singletrack trails within an hour of my house and three within 20min. I realized the GT was not up to the task and went to the local bike shops and started looking at mid-range mountain bikes. Three days after moving I came home with a Kona Cindercone I got on clearance. I started to ride everyday and was floored by how much fun I was having by myself riding the trails. I was a terrible rider but it gave me something other than my dismal situation to focus on for a few hours each day. I got a job, it completely sucked, and the people I worked with were just bad people all around.

I quit and got a job at a VW dealership, and quickly discovered one of the mechanics was the president of the local cycling club. He approached me about cycling when he saw that I rode my bike to work every day. He is primarily a roadie, but must have seen potential in me enough to go dust off his mountain bike and offer to "coach" me. We started hitting up the trails that I had been riding, and his speed, stamina and skill just absolutely blew me away, especially considering I am 20 and he's 26 years my senior. We ultimately formed the After 5 Club as more and more employees got interested in what we were doing, and started to buy bikes and dust of their old bikes. We had ex-racers, recreationalists, all kinds of riders coming out of the woodwork. It was amazing and a great time for the year before I left for school.

I ultimately decided to go back to school (as much as I despise/loathe/hate school) and picked Waco, Tx. Why? I discovered that Baylor is a private Christian school (which my parents were pleased with) in a WARM climate where I could ride year round. I also happened to read an article in Bicycling Magazine about how Cameron Park in Waco, and 4mi from Baylor, is some of the best and most technical singletrack that can be found anywhere. This meant leaving my friends, again, but I felt this was where I was supposed to be.

On the way down, with both my bikes on the back we were rear ended by a VERY shady driver, who tried to evade us but decided to stop once we flagged down a cop one lane over, who then proceeded to not assist us at all beyond putting his lights on and ensuring the driver pulled over. We got no insurance money from the guy and I wound up with a bent crank on my singlespeed and a taco'd wheel on the Kona. First stop when we got in town was the ONLY bikeshop in town, Bicycles Outback, which I thought would suck since Waco isn't exactly a cycling town. We called ahead, then immediately brought my bikes in. Right away they bent the crank straight for me, and felt so bad about what happened they offered to rebuild my front wheel with a new rim for 50% off labor and 10% off parts. We talked a lot with the shop manager who was a Baylor graduate, and found out nearly everyone working there was a Baylor student.

Through the first semester I made frequent visits and they showed me how to do certain mechanical jobs on a bike, and eventually started letting me use a stand and tools. I'm mechanically inclined, so working on a bicycle came to me pretty quickly I guess, and the shop manager took notice, and by winter break he had offered me an "apprenticeship" where I would do limited repairs and overhaul my own bike, and then start on payroll 2nd semester. I learned everything I could in that short time and I still am in disbelief at how much I learned about bikes in that few weeks. Now I'm a bike mechanic, getting paid to do something I love. Not the world's greatest, but I do good work when I can, and leave it to someone else to show me if I don't know how to do something or can't quite get it.

I'm just pretty amazed looking back now how it was only about 4 years ago I got my first crappy GT. Now I've had a handful of bikes since, currently have 3 (road, SS, mtn.), and can build a bike from scratch and get it to work when a year ago I could barely adjust my brakes. I put on over 2,000mi last year between rides and commuting, completed a Century, built a roadbike, etc. What I am even more amazed at is how things have just fallen in place in a sense. Looking back I can see how purchasing the Kona got me allied with a great shop that taught me tons about bikes, riding, etc. Getting a job at the dealership got me in with a great rider who taught me everything I know about riding and got me on the pavement and the trails. Coming to Baylor and getting rear-ended got me a job at a bikeshop where I love what I do and can buy all kinds of crap I don't need for my bikes

Anyways this is a LONG post, and if anyone is still reading at this point, sweet! I just posted hoping maybe someone else will share their "bike history" or find some inspiration/encouragement from this.

Bikes I have/have had:

1996 Huffy Pebble Creek (Dad rides and loves it now!)
2000 GT Agressor (the one that started it all)
2001 Kona Cindercone
1999 Univega Modo Viviere
1991 Miele (SS conversion)
1993 Peugeot ISS 500 (SS conversion)
1994 Peugeot ISS 550 (SS conversion)
1989 Paramount OS3
2004 Specialized Stumpjumper Comp HT
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Old 04-21-04, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by MERTON
my bikes.

when i was about 3 = grocery store bought road runner bike

when i was a little older = some sears bought bmx style thing

when i was about 10 or 12 = schwinn sindwinder 24 (smoothest damn ride ever... no shocks even... and the ride was soooo smooth.)

at 21 = a free 12 year old trek 800 (roughest damn ride ever): stolen
crappy 18 year old murray road bike: fell apart

currently= chicago schwinn varsity deluxe that is way too small. and a early to mid 90's specialized s-works m2 that's in the shop for making into a beater.
Hey Merton, I had a Schwinn varsity back in the 70's..My first road bike and last one for a while...It was green and I loved it..But, it was stolen a year after I bought it. What color is yours?
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Old 04-21-04, 12:29 PM
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my first bike was from Toys R Us and it ran like a dream (i actually still have it in the garage and when my niece is old enough i will clean it up and its all hers)
i owned a huffy (also have it still but im hoping maybe it will just dissappear)
my brother gave me his rocky mountain bike when he moved out..i love this bike with all its xtr goodness (still ride it).
and i have a C'dale r400...i love this bike too...first bike i bought with my own money.
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Old 04-21-04, 12:34 PM
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A red chopper style bike with banana seat (back in the late 60's). When I put a hole in the rear tire doing skids, that was the end of that bike. Next, a Sears 5 speed. I remember having had the bike, but don't remember much about it. Later (early to mid 70's), an Iverson 10 speed. Even as a kid, I knew that this bike was a dog. I am sure it was the "Muffy" of its time, or worse. When I was a senior in H.S. ('79), I got involved in the bike club at school. I did my first century (12 hours total time) on my dad's Peugeot (no idea which model, but knowing my parents, it was probably the cheapest one). So I was about 6'1" riding my dad's bike (and he's 5'9"). Talk about a lesson in getting a proper fitting the hard way.

That Christmas ('79) I got a 12 speed Fuji Grand Tourer (in my size!). In the Spring, I did my 2nd (and to date, last) century (10 hours - yeah, I'm still slow). What a difference a good bike made! That century was a warm-up for the club's 160 mile, 2 day ride, around Long Island Sound. That was the last long distance ride I've made.

The Fuji had its front fork and wheel replaced in the early '90s. I used it sometimes to commute to school and one day I wiped out on the gravel in a turn. The pedals had also been replaced when one of them sheared off one day.

I had the Fuji from 1979 - 2002, when I decided to leave it in Japan when we moved back to the States. I now regret the decision as it would still be a good beater today. Little did I realize that nobody (except Rivendell, I guess) makes proper geometry road bikes anymore.

In Japan (1998 - 2002) I had a Japanese commuter bike (6 speed, index shifting). I bought this bike because it was one of the few bikes I could find that was even remotely in my size. The pedal arrangement felt far too forward and it was uncomfortable, but serviceable for shopping and commmuting. This bike was also left in Japan, but no regrets.

2004 - present , Trek 1500. Overall, I like this bike, but I do have some issues with it. Index shifting is nice, when it works properly. I don't remember half the problems with friction shifting as I've had with the front derailleur indexing. The other is that I really wish that the handlebar height was level with the seat. This "racing position" puts excessive strain on my hands and back. It took me a while to realize the reasons why this bike wasn't as comfortable as the Fuji. The aluminum framed Trek does indeed give a stiffer ride than the steel lugged Fuji, as others have commented.

On the positive side, the Trek weighs a fraction of the Fuji's weight. 27 speeds are handy to have. Nothing worse on a long ride than having to get off the bike on steep hills because you don't have a granny ring and you don't have the legs.
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Old 04-21-04, 12:59 PM
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My bicycle history:

1989-ish BMX(my first bike ever!)
1990 red BMX
1992 Roadmaster 10 speed mountain bike(my first multigeared bike)
1995-Schwinn Frontier GS(my first "real" bike, rode it everywhere)
19??-Dumpster BMX, refurbished, broke in 1999, trashed
19??-Coaster-brake cruiser
1993-Schwinn Sidewinder
2003-Trek 820 (MY BABY!!)
19??-Concord SS conversion road bike(my introduction to true SSing)
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Old 04-21-04, 02:17 PM
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First two-wheeler - Schwinn Pixie I shared with my sister. We made the mistake of literally "sharing" it, that is, trying to ride it double, which broke the frame.

Next - Borrowed my older sister's Schwinn Collegiate (?) for a coupla years. Ran a stop sign at age 11 and got T-boned by a guy in a Falcon. Gave him the scare of his life, but bike and rider were fine.

First "my own" bike - Brand new Sears single-speed 26" canti-frame, Xmas 1971. Don't remember whatever happened to it.

1975-ish - Bought discontinued JCPenney 10-speed actually made by Jeunet (Simplex plastic derailleur, cottered crank, etc.), $50 brand new, when Schwinn World-*'s were going for >twice the price (same price per pound!). Repainted and rebuilt in '81 with alloy wheels, Super-6 (6-speed in 5-speed spacing) freewheel, etc. Fun fast bike for the money. Totalled in '82 when on rack on back of Nova, rear-ended.

1982 - Trek 813 "sport touring" - real handbuilt Trek from Waterloo. Toured Ireland on it with my gf (on her '75 Raleigh Gran Sport). Stolen when I lent it to my brother who actually thought you could safely lock a bike outside in Detroit. The one bike I truly miss

1986-ish - Built a bike from a Trek 900-ish racing frame (not new, but never built up), 600EX SIS components. This was my "go-fast" bike until just last year. Still in the basement, slightly disassembled

1989 - Used Ross Centaur sport tourer - Got about a $300 bike, nearly new, for $100 'cuz the seller "wanted a mountain bike". Fine! Sold it about three years ago for $125!

1992 - Used Trek 850; Wanted something more winter-friendly than the Ross. Turned out to be too "knobby" for my tastes. Became my wife's city bike until we got her a Trek 720

1993 - Used Univega Via Carisma - Had about 6000 miles on it. Replaced entire driveline, modernized to V-brakes, grip-shifters (sorry, but I HATE rapid-farts). Still my primary commuter bike; original wheels with studded Nokians for winter, "new" swap-meet wheels with road tires for summer. Weinmann concave rear rim has taken merciless punishment.

1998 - Wife FOUND a 1969 Robin Hood being thrown out. Missing a chain guard, needed new tires, gear indicator chain was bent up. Finish was in GREAT shape; just needed some oil. LBS owner gave me a Raleigh chain guard for it. Runs like a top now, and that black is soooo shiny!

1999 Xmas - "Santa" brought us a used Schwinn DoubleTime tandem (think entry-level hybrid turned into a tandem). Modernized with V-brakes, grip shifters. Our favorite way to go out together.

2000 - Bought a Mongoose Transport Folding 26" comfort bike on a 1/2 price sale at LBS. Totalled when T-boned by a Crown Vic two months later. His insurance paid full price (twice what I paid) for it, and they were on sale again, so I bought another one. Still have the carcass of the original in the basement

2003 - Found a '97-ish Cannondale R500 at a garage sale for $300. My first STI go-fast bike! But it's geared kinda low (26-36-46 chainrings? puh-leeze!), so I'm already spinning it out sometimes.

Jan 2004 - Found an EasyRacers SC1 (cheapo recumbent) at the swap meet, like new, $180. If I don't like it, I can turn around and sell it for $300.

I've found and bought and sold and given away a few others in between, but none that I would consider "my" bikes.
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Old 09-25-04, 04:12 PM
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Varsity Deluxe, does anyone know why they stopped making the deluxes always in motion chain system?

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Old 09-25-04, 04:53 PM
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1966:Lurid purple department store Stingray knock-off

1969: Extremely well made Steyr (Austria) Stingray clone. At the time I had an inferiority complex because my bike was not as heavy as my friends' real Schwinn Stingray's. How our priorities change

1974: Early 70's Centurion 10-speed w/cottered cranks. Heavy and too big for me. Stolen in college.

1978: SR brand (Suntour) 12-speed to replace the stolen Centurion. Lighter alloy components but still Hi-ten frame.

1991: Diamondback purple 21spd hybrid used in my first 2 Centuries. Stolen out of my garage in '97.

1993:Garage sale Miyata 12 speed with cromoly frame. Turned out to have toasted wheels.

1994: Trek 2120 Carbon/Aluminium 21-speed sport model touring. Love the frame. Recently did a major overhaul/upgrade with Campy Ergo. The only original parts are frame, seatpost and brakes.

1997: Trek 7600 MultiTrack hybrid to replace the stolen Diamondback. Recently converted to dropbars w/bar ends as a bombproof daily commuter.
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Old 09-26-04, 07:41 PM
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1979: A Western Auto branded bike that looked like a motorcycle, it had solid pasltic tires!

1981: Western Flyer knockoff of a Stingray, had a cowboy theme to it.

1984: a used, 24" Raliegh 3-speed

1986: Huffy Omni-10. A heavy ten speed road bike. Whole thing was blue, including the saddle, bar tape, and tires. Rode the hell out of it for three years untill....

1989: Schwinn Paramount. Shimano 600 six speed group set with indexed downtube shifters. Rode this on my first organized ride. Stolen off my porch in 1994. It was slightly used.

1999: Magna Toys 'R' Us bike. Bought out of nesscisty, ended up conneceting me back to an activity I enjoyed that lead to buying....

2001: Diamondack Sorrento. This was an upgrade from the Magna. Still trail ride with it regularly.

2002: A mid-80s Univega Ital Sport. Full Campy gruppo of some sort with friction downtube shifters. It reminded me of my lost Paramount. Sold it for $200 in 2003 because....

2003: 1995 Cannondale R500. Full RSX group set save for a 105 rear der. Bought as part of an estate sale. The previous owner had barely put 100 miles before he had to store it due to illness. Used to the $200 from the sale of the Univega to buy a set of lightweight wheels for this bike.

I've also aquired a 1991 Specialized Crossroads I use as a spare bike.
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