Schwinn Collegiate

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Bike Names

I am often perplexed, amused, and surprised by bicycle model names.  Some totally make sense.  Panasonic's vintage bikes increase in quality as they rise in model number.   A DX-3000 is better than a DX-2000 but not as good as a DX-4000.  Clear cut, right?

Bridgestone on the other hand usually numbers their bikes in the reverse order.  An RB-1 is better than an RB-2.  Yes, Bridgestone numbers their bikes in reverse order, but still an easy system to figure out.

From here things get strange.  So, Fuji names some of its bikes "Team Fuji", "Club Fuji", and "League Fuji".  I guess this makes more sense.  Team sounds more serious than Club, and so it rightly indicates a higher level of bike.  And that lower than a Club?  Well sure.  Maybe I just don't know enough about racing teams, clubs, and leagues...or something.  So anyways, even if this system makes sense, then why is the next bike up in their hierarchy an Opus III?  What does that even mean?  A work? Or work of art?  And where is the Opus II and Opus I?  Did they forget to make those?  Does three just sound three times better than one?  Sometimes there is a "Professional" at the top of the hierarchy.  So, Professional? You're even better than the Opus III? I am impressed!  Well, while Fuji is giving these peculiar names to their racing bikes, they are giving even stranger names to their recreational bikes.

An Espree? Royale? Del Rey? Supreme? Monterey? Berkeley?  Which of these is the best?  The Supreme? That makes the most sense, right? It is Supreme, that means nothing is better, right?  But wait, there is a Del Rey.  That means "Of the King".  A bike "of the king" has to be pretty darn good!  So which one is at the top of the hierarchy: the Supreme or Del Rey?  Neither.  The Royale! Didn't see that coming, did you?  By the way, what the heck is an "Espree"?  When I looked it up online I was told it was either German for "Pure and beautiful" or a misspelling of the word "Esprit" the French word for "spirit".  Well, with the oh-so long and illustrious reputation for bicycle building that the Germans have, why wouldn't Fuji choose a German word? (sarcasm)  And with how silly the French language is, why wouldn't Fuji simply anglicize the phonetic pronunciation of Esprit?

Then there is my beloved Univega.  Every bike sounds like the best bike in their line-up.   Maxima Sport? Whoa! that is the best one, right? It is called maxima, so there can't be anything better, right?  Well, there is also the Supra Sport, which is better, supra or maxima? Both sound so darn good!  But wait, there is also the Maxima Uno. That means the best one, doesn't it?  Well, there is also the Specialissima and Super Special.  Clearly the Super Special is better than the Supra, right?  But the Specialissima means the "most special" so it must be even better, right?  Well where do the Custom Maxima an Custom Ten fit into the line-up?  They are custom, right?  They should be the best, shouldn't they?  By the way, in case you're wondering, the Specialissima is the best in Univega's line-up.

The coolest named bikes are usually the mountain bikes and BMXes.  I don't know these bikes well, but I always see them on craiglist.  Names like "Warp" and "Cobra" seem to really beat the snot out of "Varsity" and "Continental".  "Rock Hopper" and "Stump Jumper" both sound cool and unstoppable....more unstoppable than, let's say, "Eurosport".  I get the impression that there are some BMXes with some wacky names out "Unabomber" or "Man killer" or something, but it is clear that those bikes have way cooler names than road bikes.

I would love to show up to a charity ride riding a road bike called a "Baby Masher" or "Disemboweler".

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Police Auction

On Saturday we went to a Police auction in North Attleboro where they selling confiscated goods.  Among the goods were hundreds of bicycles.  I was excited and certain there had to be a couple vintage road bikes in the midst.  The auction started and 9 and we got there with plenty of time to view the bikes before the bidding began.  Unfortunately, the auction was not carefully planned out.  There was only one person signing people in, so the auction was delayed for over an hour.

Even worse, the bikes were junk.  I overheard many of the other people looking at the bikes talking  to each other and describing them as "dumpster bikes".  They were mostly older department store beater mountain bikes.  It was also clear that they were stored outdoors as every chain was incredibly rusty.

I did find a couple road bikes, including a Centurion Pro Tour 15.  This was a pretty good touring bike in its day and featured cantilever brakes and double butted chromoloy.  Unfortunately, it had a dent in its top tube and was in pretty bad shape over all.  I still considered bidding on it, but after a few hours waiting in the sun, I decided it was just time to go home.

The only other bike of interest was a Univega Rover Sport.  It was a late eighties mountain bike, and had a busted shifter.  It wasn't really what I was looking for, but I was excited to see that it was sporting a biopace chain ring.  I figured if nothing else, I could hold onto the bike and gut it if ever I needed to replace the biopace chain ring on my Univega Gran Touring.  In the end I left before this bike came up, too.

Most of the bikes actually went for five to twenty-five dollars, but I wasn't entirely sure they were even worth that.  There were at least three bike flippers there who were hoarding up all the cheap bikes, and strangely they seemed willing to pay a decent price on the low-end department store bikes as long as their frames were in decent shape.  I guess this should be a warning to anyone buying a bike from a flipper!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Mystery of Cape Cod

There is a dark force looming on Cape Cod....and it eats bikes!  When I went to the Cape yesterday, the only thing that stopped me from driving over the bridge that crosses the canal (because of the bumper to bumper traffic) was the plethora of bikes that I had to look at being brought to the Cape.  It seemed like almost a quarter of the cars were transporting bikes.  They ranged from a single bike on a rear rack of a car to an RV so covered in bikes that one was bungeed inside of a kayak on its roof.  I literally saw hundreds of bikes being brought into the Cape.

When I was in the Cape I saw bikes everywhere, too.  People riding them, some locked up, and even some at an antique store.

Here I found a bike boom Arrow Pierce Tour de France.  I had never seen or even heard of this bike before, so I found it very fascinating!

Triple chain rings in the front, down tube shifters, leather saddle, very interesting bike!

I also saw this hi-ten Ross.  I really liked its handlebar bag which included a map from 1977.

So, what I can't understand is where all these bikes go.  I looked at the Cape Cod craiglist, and it is a ghost town.  So all of these bikes are going to the cape (including the one I was bringing there), but very few of them were being sold.

Perhaps, these bikes are all brought down and then brought back home with the summer vacationers.  This could be the case, but it seems likely that some are kept down there.  Then I suspected that perhaps the bikes were all sold at the end of the summer when people headed home for the winter.  Or perhaps, all Cape Cod basements are just packed full of hundreds of bikes.   Or maybe, just maybe, there is a dark force haunting Cape Cod, which feasts on the former glory of neglected bicycles.

Ride: 22 miles

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Graveyard Grind

Mike has upped this summer's ante with a century challenge....well a metric century, but in Europe I wouldn't even have to qualify that statement.  Anyways, he found a 100 km (62 miles for those of us on this side of the pond) ride in Northeastern Connecticut (where they are so heavily influenced by the French that they only measure their rides in kilometers).  Here is the link that Mike shared with me  Like most rides it is going to cost me...why shouldn't I pay $35 to suffer for 6 hours?

This "Graveyard Grind" takes us through the hilly regions of Northeastern Connecticut and gives us the opportunity to soak up rural Connecticut and its long diseased tillers of the soil.  Now, why are we touring the creepy burial plots of Connecticut Yankees of old? I'll tell you why.  Because it distracts us from the word "hilly".  Yes, they snuck that word in there.  "Oh look, dead people! How creepy, right? Just ignore the fact that you'll be one of them after you try to make it up those brutal hills. SUCKER!"

Ok, ok, after I get over my fear of hills, this sounds like a pretty good ride. A bit longer than my half-century goal, but definitely in the same ball park.  This also gives me all summer to prepare, a route I don't need to plan out, and the financial incentive to follow through with what I've paid for.  I should mention that this is dangerously close to both my brother's birthday and Flower's birthday.  If those hills don't kill me, they might!

Ride: Down 123 towards Wheaton, up S. Worcester St. to Taunton, right onto 140 and then a right onto Tremont St. which led to 118.  Up 118 left onto Oakhill Ave., right onto Locust St., right onto South Main St. and home again.
Distance: 21.57 miles
Time: 1 hour and 38 minutes
Ave. speed: 13.11
Ave. pace: 4:34 min/mi
Cal burned:1252ish

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Update: The half-century

So I've had the pleasure of biking with Mike more and more recently (mostly late at night), and he has signed on to try to achieve the end of summer half-century ride.  It has been great having him as a biking buddy, though I of course miss my old night riding buddy Flower.  She exhibits few signs of jealousy in regards to my new late-night riding buddy, though.

Ironically, one of the biggest challenges is finding a path that is 50 miles long.  It isn't just about looking at a map and finding something 50 miles away.  First, we need to decide if we're doing a 25 mile trip and then returning or a circuit that adds up to 50 miles, or riding out 50 miles and getting a ride home.  Not only that, but we need to keep in mind that 50 hilly miles are vastly different from 50  flat miles.  I think we'd both prefer a flat ride, but that is neither easy to plan nor really feasible.  Luckily, Mike is doing most of the leg work on planning rides.

As far as preparation goes, Mike has been so passionate about riding, that I've been getting in a number of 10-15 mile rides, which are definitely a good start.  I realize it is a long cry from 50, but they are very enjoyable to do with a friend, and they are keeping me on the road.

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Bianchi Sport SS

Here is the ad.  Not much to look at for sure.  In fact, a bit hard to see exactly what is going on.  I saw this for sale in far off Athol being sold with a low-end women's mountain bike.  The owner was asking for 50 for the both of them.  I offered him $30 and he countered with $20.  I like his negotiating!  So Mike came for me on a very long ride up 495 and sampled the local cuisine at a small sandwich shop called "Subway".  Ironically, this small town didn't even have a subway system.

Anyways, on the phone the seller had warned me that the tires were flat and the chain as well as the rims were rusty.  I wasn't concerned about their flatness nor the chain's rust, but I was a bit perplexed at the idea of the rims being rusty.  The rims were aluminum: aluminum doesn't rust.  When I got there, I noticed that yes, the rim was rusted and the front brake pads were simply missing.  How strange.

I thought to myself that someone must have changed the original wheel and replaced it with a cheaper steel wheel.  On the way home I stopped by Sirois Cycle and told them I needed some tires/tubes/brake pads etc.  He came around the counter and agreed that the tire didn't belong: it was a 26" wheel.  The previous owner had apparently replaced the original 27" aluminum wheel with a 26" steel wheel.  The brakes of course weren't hitting it in the right place, so the owner had to remove the pads as well.  Curious solution.

I brought the bike home, snapped its first photo, and I intend to make her beautiful again!  There is a lot of grime, some rust, and everything in between, but hopefully with lots of TLC she'll be rolling down the street again soon.  Besides cleaning it up, the first two orders of business are to replace its front wheel and the very tacky gold ribbon that someone half wrapped the handlebars in.  I'm a bit nervous that the bike will be too small for me, but we'll have to wait and see. Cross your fingers!

Ride:  To Wheaton, up 140, down freeman, back to South Worcester St. down Slater to Wilmarth, to Park, to Bank to Upland.  Second trip:  Down Park to Oakhill, to Locust, down South Main to Bank and up Upland.
Time:  ?????
Distance: 25.7 miles!