The die was cast with the rusty red Schwinn Scrambler that my Dad took me to buy at the Schwinn Shop in Sebring, Fl. A single brand carrying an entire shop? Nowadays that would never happen. The Scrambler was stolen, returned mysteriously, and it gave me freedom. It took me around Lake Jackson, through miles of sugar sand to steal a redneck kiss to a Lionel Richie song.
Tommy Torso came home with a Yellow 16 inch Jamis Dakar in 1989. I traded my Bottecchia vintage road bike on the spot and asked only that I never have to release the Dakar from my embrace. He accepted without hesitation and came home with a beautiful navy blue Cannondale, the 800 Beast of the East I think? I always thought he was a sucker for the deal.
The Bottecchia was also a gorgeous machine, dripping with vintage
(70’s) Campagnola Super Record components. It was not the Dakar that made me stray, it was riding in the woods. It now lives with an unabashed fixie, but it still has all its gears. Patrick, maybe you know him? Great people, absolutely worthy.
The Fuji Palisade, turquoise, that I got for Christmas when I was 17 or 18. The white handlebar tape and the turquoise paint with purple trim perfectly matched my Chess King outfit and my “bi-level” haircut. God took away my hair for the things I did to it. I thank him to this day for my granite pate.
I took the Fuji to college at FSU, cut the bars into bullhorns and raced 5 triathlons and 2 or 3 local crits.
The Kona Kilauea that Joe sent me in Jackson Hole Wyoming in 1993. Although the bike was sleek and ice green, it was the being trusted and remembered by Joe that made it sweet. I helped his ass move three sets of furniture just the other day. First suspension experience too, and I thought I was pretty hot shit.
The Jamis Dragon- Lipstick Red, Honestly, and this is hard to admit, it was the last time I remember feeling fast.
The 1986 Fuji Del Rey, grey and black, because it is a respected yeoman of its era and I got it for free from my sweet sister and bro’in law. It took me up the Pacific Coast with sturdy dependability and style. It comes out only for Sunday cruising and diplomatic events.
And now, of course, the Titus Racer X. The ride I had at Tom Brown Park and Cadillac this afternoon was worth the price of admission, wow. I dumped it off the skinny bridge twice, but next time I got that thing’s number.
No disrespect to other bikes that showed up every day and did their job. Every good team needs role players.
Got a bike that needs a little respect poured out for it?
Great post, bro. My favorite bike so far has been the rigid fork Cannondale I bought at a yard sale. It was part of the leftover inventory from out-of-business Rainbow Cycles, and had been stored in the owner’s attic for a while. It was brand new, midnight blue, and one size too small for me, but it always felt solid, never missed a shift, and I never finished a ride without feeling awash in appreciation for it being such a fine machine.
Aw man what a post!
First “MTB” Raleigh Activator II. What a piece of junk, heavy unreliabl e I loved it.
Roll on few years and thousands of miles later and next I had a Muddy Fox Rock and Roll Comp. What a joke of a bike heavy, bouncy. I loved it.
Pedal on a few thousand miles and next was the Muddy Fox Rock and Roll Ultimate. What a beast of bike, heavy, monster travel front and rear totally unsuitable for my style of riding. I loved it.
Boing on a few hundred miles (it was bloody hard to pedal…) and I next up was the Kona NuNu. Decent weight, sensible riding position I loved it.
With a certain twinge of sadness in semi-retiring my beloved NuNu I’m now on my Kona “The King” guess what?
When I was a kid all the cool kids (and by cool I mean rich) had these super light Mongoose BMX bikes. I so wanted one but my mom bought me a cheap knock off instead. It weighed a ton. When I got to FSU (with no license or car) I popped for the fancy Jamis. I rode that thing for two years all over T-Town until it was stolen off the back porch of the White House. Shortly thereafter I bought Bobby’s old Rock Hopper. I think it may have been the first “mountain bike”, I’m not sure but I still have that bike and rode all summer with wee Daniel riding shotgun. That bike is built to last though and I forsee no other bike purchases unless I move to the beach and I need a cruiser. I guess you could say that my favorite bike has always been the last one I bought.
When I was about six, my mother bought me a bicycle. I can’t remember the color but it may have been blue. And it may have been a Schwinn. Did they make other types of bikes back then? Maybe not.
It took me an entire year to learn how to ride it. Seriously. My mother finally hired a teen-aged neighbor girl to teach me. We lived in a place that had one paved road so it was challenging, to say the least, riding the streets.
I remember vividly having sandspurs stuck into my raw and bleeding knees after being dumped off my bike. This happened frequently.
When I was in high school in Winter Haven, bikes were NOT cool. This is why me and my two closest friends all got them and proceeded to ride them everywhere. I have no idea what kind of bike I had, but it was a ten-speed. Winter Haven is flat and it was amazing how far we could get on those bikes.
By the way, my friend Mary Lane and I invented the entire backpack craze because of those bikes of ours. We had to come up with a way to transport our books to school on them so we went to the Army-Navy store and bought canvas bookbag backpacks. I have pictures as proof.
Now I just walk. But my purse is a backpack.
When I was a kid, my dad picked up a used bike for me. Mustard yellow with a brown banana seat that he had to patch and an ooga horn that was slowly rusting. God damn, I loved that bike. I’d ride it between Koukie and Optimist parks, through that overgrown strip that runs alongside the drainage ditch, ninety to nothing inches from the drop. I wish I still had a vehicle I loved that much.
What a great post. It echoes a conversation Worm and I had the other day.
For me it’s all about the bikes that got away. I never had the salesmanship to convince my Dad to throw down for the Apple Crate three speed, but I remember (with the angelic soundtrack) the first stroll into the Schwinn shop in Ft. Pierce. I got the knock off, stripped everything off it and put honda handle bars on it with no grips. I could wheelie that thing for ever. I still miss that bike.
The next love of my life was the Kona Fire Mountain I bought at 38years old. I rode that thing until Worm refused to work on it and demanded I buy the first Jamis Dakar Comp. I killed it and got a Dakar Pro as a warranty replacement. It’s been a great bike. The Trance is in the box waiting….
Bring that thing over, once you and start wrenching on it, Bigworm will freak out and drop everything to stop us.
Great post dude!
Back when I was doing the school/work-out-west rotating schedule thing and living with my folks out on Lake Jackson, my buddies Ken F and Ed S had these 5-speed Ross Cruisers. They were going for night rides around town and were enjoying themselves a bit too much. One night I borrowed Ed’s cruiser and went for the party tour downtown. Riding on fat tires with gears and beers was a ball! Immediately I obtained my own Ross Cruiser and started attacking the urban landscape both night and day.
I was the first to get a real mountain bike in my crew. This guy named Paul who worked on a mushroom farm and believed he communicated with rocks and butterflies sold it to me. He had bought it just two months before at Great Bicycle Shop back when it was on College Ave. Paul had tricked it out with a comfy seat and high bars but he had over-extended and wanted to unload it for cash. I got my folks to pay half of it as my Christmas present that year. I switched back to the original seat and bars because I was moving beyond the cruiser stage baby. I was now the envy of my crew with my shiny new 83′ Ross chrome Mt. Whitney! On one of our first rides I let the boys hold on to my seat as I gave them a ride up a very steep hill in Indian Head Acres. I chatted along in an effortless gloat the whole way up. Their 5-speeds were retired very soon after.
I took my new baby for a ride on Christmas Eve night. It got down to the teens that night. I quickly had to shed some layers but then had an incredible moon-lit ride around North Tally including the old plantation roads around Lake Overstreet, back when it was still private property. It was like a magic carpet ride on my new Shimano Deore XT steed. When I returned to the house, Santa had not come yet. So I parked my bike next to the Christmas tree. As I did so, the chrome frame frosted up like a beer mug. It was a beautiful sight for sure. I rode the hell out of that bike for almost a decade.
Well, since I lived on a really big hill, my dad wouldn’t let my sister and me have a bike so I was probably 9 years old and visiting my cousins when I finally learned to ride on their paved back alley (the lived in the rich area of Columbus, O), on a kiddie bike with my knees at my chin but no falling down with that
one because I could catch myself. So once I learned to balance, I HAD to have one and nannygoatsister and I found an old one in a neighbor’s garage and they gave it to us and we painted it bright orange. That then replaced the marvelous huge tricycle I had lugged her around on behind me– and thus we had to learn to share. Boy was that orange bike heavy! And really, we were scared to ride it on the hills.(Peck was right!)Once down off the hill in a flat neighborhood I somehow came up with a used 24″ and let sis keep the orange one. I was fast and could keep up. Would ride that all over town and even 5 miles down the highway to visit Grandma.
Then many years passed and didn’t have another one until after Juancho was born (yes, despite his story of having been born to wolves…or maybe not) and I have no clue what it was, but it had a great big yellow seat for him to ride in behind me, and his dad and I flipped a coin over who carried him and who carried libbyllama. See, Juancho had a captive audience, and like Peanuts’ Linus, talked non-stop. It was all very intelligent and interesting, but we were the goats doing all the hard work and panting and replying were difficult.
But my all-time favorite bike was the one I searched and searched central Florida for–the perfect bike for me, a yellow unisex Batavus!! I LOVED that bike so much but the first week living at the beach some a-hole STOLE IT!! To this day I still expect to find him riding it and that is why I don’t own a gun. I never did quite get over that theft. Broke my heart and although I’ve had a couple of others, biking has never been the same for me. (If any of you find that Batavus, there’s a big reward waiting!!)
Maybe I…never, rode you as often as I could
Maybe I…left you, in the rain or unlocked in the hood
Maybe I spent too much on components, or perhaps not as much as I really should
But you were always on my mind, you were always on my mind
Anonymous- in my estimation, you totally win.
Schwinn Scrambler! I had the exact same experience, only in Rhode Island. My first cool bike was that silver Scrambler. But, I could never win a race around the block with it — still can’t.
Now the fleet includes a European city bike, a Tour Easy, another European city bike, a Klein Pulse Race converted to commuter, my wife’s: custom locally-made Tony Pereira touring bike, Klein custom road bike, and Marin Fairfax for commuting… then 3 more guest bikes and a trailer. Plus the occassional bakfiets rental.
Check out “Beth’s Beauty”: http://www.pereiracycles.com/gallery/BethR/index.php
Thanks for the reminiscing,
Community and School Traffic Safety Partnership
Portland Office of Transportation
After several varieties of Schwinns ranging from a 20″ at 6 yrs old to a Schwinn American 2 speed, (Did you get that? A 2 speed. Both slow and not low enough to climb anything serious.) I picked up a Columbia 3 speed that was tricked out and served as my ride to work daily for nearly 2 years. It also had the yellow seat on the back and as lopo described we flipped the old coin or did “rock, scissors, and paper” to see who carried who on the back. She is right about the non-stop chatter for little juancho. He and I often took long rides and most of the jabbering made no sense to me but I know know that it was the forerunner of this blog. I am sure he was calling me out to pick up the speed or leave the road for the woods. The Columbia was swiped off of the front porch but never showed up in the Police department sale.
The true bike of my dreams was a Raleigh 10 speed with a Reynolds 50-20 aluminum frame. It was sweet for its day and was to be my steed for a 100 miler to Flamingo Key to Homestead Florida. That ride never happened as one of the bambinos in their teens borrowed it to ride from my apartment to their mom’s and left it on the same front porch that the Columbia got stolen from. Yep, it was stolen at the same time that little juancho’s Schwinn Scrambler was stolen only it never came back. The Scrambler was dumped in the azalea bushes and was severely scratched up and disfigured with a couple of bent rims. I collected the insurance money for the Raleigh and it was enough pay to restore the scrambler so jauncho could continue towards his destiny.
Finally about 8 or 9 years ago I bought a Trek 6000 Mountain Bike which gets occasional use but just doesn’t attract the love that the Raleigh did.
So no you know the rest of the story.
So I think I owe you a Raleigh, and not the Japanese Raleigh either, but the real thing.
I’ll be keeping an eye out.
And great to hear from some all of you, these nuggets of tribute are important.
Portland Safety Guy- I rode the yellow jamis for Transerv in 1995-1996.
I could have used some safety lessons about the bus mall.