As I start this story, you might ask why even care about these old bikes. Like a lot of people, I don’t think new, modern things are always best. Sure, you can get a bike that is fancier, lighter, and newer. But so can everyone else. It is sometimes better to embrace and enjoy old technology. The thrill I get from riding and maintaining these bikes can’t be found on the showroom floor of your corner bike shop. Another, more understandable answer is that both of them were given to me by people who no longer wanted them. Who doesn’t love a free bike? If you have the same attitude about this as me, follow along.
Next, you might think that they are women’s bikes. Yes and no. These are bikes that can be ridden by anyone. I like to say that they have “comfort, step through frames”. The frames are not as rigid as a triangle framed bike. If you ride hard, like to jump curbs, or plan on very high speeds on bad roads, that might be a problem. In addition, as I decide if an E-bike conversion is feasible, I will take that into account. All the same, they are strong bikes that will continue to give good service. Any bike restorer can tell you that a girls bike is the best source of misc parts like fenders and chain guards. Why? Because the boys tended to strip all these “unneeded items” off to make them into “racers”. Both these bikes came to me complete, as delivered.
So what makes these bikes so special? We have already covered the fact that they are mine. That says a lot right there. And of course, they are not bikes that you see everyday as you ride the streets and bike ways. That alone is reason enough for me. Plus, they are both very simple bikes. Not as simple as a single speed beach cruiser, but compared to modern bikes, they are not complicated or hard to keep up. Other things that I like about them are the fenders, chain guards, and a kickstand. I’ve been known to say, that if a bike doesn’t have those pieces, than it can’t be much of a bike. To each his (or her) own. Some of the named items can be installed on most bikes. Or can be removed if you don’t want or need them.
Now a little about the type of bikes these are. There are road bikes, mountain bikes, cruisers, etc. In its day, I would think it was called a student bike. Now, terms like free, comfort, and hybrid are probably more common. It is not a racing bike, or designed for dirt trails. They offer a fairly upright seating position. There is no front derailleur or extra front chain ring gears. This last item is why a chain guard is possible. The tires are a size that is good for the road, but can handle hard packed dirt or firm gravel. They are just general all-purpose bikes that will take you anywhere but the most severe places.
Ok, you’ve seen the bikes in question. As this series continues, I will do my best to point out the good and bad of each bike, and the things that are similar or different. I will cover….
Wheels and Tires
Condition and maintenance
Performance and Riding comfort
Up grades and Accessories
Adaptability to E-bike and conversion if it is done.
Thanks for getting involved with this story. I would like to end each article with a quote about bicycles. More on the way, Turbo Bob.
“Life may not be about your bike, but it sure can help you get through it.”—-Hallman