KC/DC Cycle

Ride to live... live to ride

Monday, January 07, 2013


In a reply on a Facebook post I noticed I had a lot to say about my bicycle roots. I didn't have a lot of money especially when I was young. I would retrieve discarded bikes and parts in the neighborhood to repair one of my bikes. I was a terrible mechanic, but got the job done. I didn't have a truing stand. I didn't have a workstand. I didn't have a set of wrenches. I had a pair crescent pliers, an adjustable wrench, a couple of screwdrivers and a hammer. Eventually I got a pair of vise-grips. That was state of the art for me.

Bicycling was always transportation for me. It wasn't just sport. I rode in the street since about 1971. My first favorite bikes were the shiny Schwinns that I saw in the store. I had always had used bikes until dad got me an Orange Krate in about 1969. That lasted a year before it was just impractical for my adventures. I loved the shine, the chrome, the style and the newness. I loved that it worked well, which is something my old bikes did not. But after a year I wanted something lighter that I could go further with. I bought a used Schwinn Continental after we sold the Orange Krate. I had that for a while and moved up to a Super Le Tour II which had a lugged frame and cotterless cranks. Next was a Bridgestone Kabuki and I was in another league. Now I needed hex wrenches and 700c tires and tire irons.

With all of this I still didn't have a good way to carry things and I was barely into toe clips. I wore my jeans. I didn't ride much in the rain because I didn't have fenders. When I did I wore floppy rain jacket and pants. I didn't start wearing a helmet regularly until about 1990.


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