Monday, April 19, 2010

Schwinn in the House

The other day I mentioned that I had bought a new bicycle. Well, scratch that one. Just a few days later the Beau came across a lovely Schwinn "mountain bike" from the mid to late 1980s. This was back when Schwinn really was a good American brand, either making their own frames and components or getting high-quality ones from Japan. And back then, a mountain bike was not much different from road and touring bicycles, maybe with slightly stockier forks and slightly more aggressive riding position. Perhaps a few extra gears and flatter handlebars. They didn't look anything like today's "mountain bike" with shocks and springs and lots of zig-zagging aluminum framing. Here's my Schwinn:

The frame is kind of pretty, once we removed the fluorescent pink (!) decals. It is chromed with bright aquamarine paint over the top, but letting the chrome show in sections. I kind of like the fat tires it came with, although they are a tad dry-rotted and not long for this world! It also needs a new saddle, fenders, and rack. But the hardest part will be the handlebars. I need - okay, maybe just want - an upright riding position for around town. But I also want a more forward position for long climbs or a change of hand position on longer trips. I looked at a lot of options. My first thought was scorcher bars, like this gorgeous ANT bike. In fact, I like almost everything about this bicycle.
Credit ANT Bikes
But after trying out a pair of butterfly bars (also known as Euro touring/trekking bars), I realized I needed more rise to them. I will probably wind up with a pair of North Road bars with cork tape covering the entire bar, so I can grip them anywhere on the bar...we'll see.

I took the Schwinn for a test ride over to the Sweetwater Brewing Company 420 Festival in Candler Park. Part of the reason for going was to check out the bike valet section organized by the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition.

Traffic was crazy, and the bicycles and pedestrians were about the only thing moving. We fell in behind an older couple on a pair of Schwinns themselves.
When we arrived at the festival entrance, the bike valet was going like gangbusters. As fast as they could check bikes in, new riders were arriving. Everyone got a little claim check (one part to the rider and the big part attached to their frame), and the bicycles were stashed in a big corral according to some tracking system. Very handy - I wish they had these everywhere! We only stayed for a few minutes, because the event was wayyyy too crowded, but made sure to tip the nice valet volunteers. A ton of people had cycled addition to the valet section, there were probably hundreds of bicycles locked up nearby.


  1. Lovely Bicycle outfitted hers with a pair of upside down North Roads. Is that a consideration? Still kind of upright but allowing a bit more aggression. I love your new Schwinn!

  2. And her bike looks sharp! But any time I try out a different style of bars, I just don't like them... I think, "hmm, these would be alright if they just came up a little higher and further back - just like my North Roads!"

    Maybe I'm missing out on some great bicycle secret by not leaning forward and grabbing some sporty kind of bar. But I love my North Roads and see no reason to use something I don't like as much. I have a solution though. To come...