The end of an era came to be this month when I sold my 1996 Schwinn Cruiser Deluxe to a out-of-state bike collector. He was happy to get it, as I was sad to see it go. Many of you have seen the article I wrote about it. It is one of my most heavily viewed posts, with close to 1000 hits. Now I have a new one to enjoy and write about. It is the same exact bike, only with a different color scheme. That is why I will call it Ver 2.0.
My old bike was purchased new in 1996. I pampered it, polished it, and rode it when the urge pulled on me. I knew when I bought it that I didn’t need it, just wanted it. I felt I could have some great fun, while I waited to sell it for more than I dealt out to get it. I have the same philosophy with this new cruiser.
After selling the old bike, my mind wandered while waiting to go to sleep that night. Many fun rides and the feelings I got just looking at it came to mind. Then it hit me, about five years back, during one of the times it was advertised in the local free recycler paper, I had gotten a call from a person who had one just like it. He was curious about the responses I had gotten, with the thought to selling the one he had. Partially because of the bike, and mostly because he is a musician who plays surf music, I had written down his number in my address book.
The next day I made the call. Would he still be around? Would he still have the bike? These questions banged around in my brain. I could only leave a voice mail message, still not knowing if it was even his up-to-date phone number. No response for several days was not helping my bikers peace of mind. Then, a call came in, he still had the bike, and I was free to have a look in the coming week.
When I had originally talked to him, he explained that his son had won it in a raffle years back. His son was only 9 at the time, and it was way too big for him. It had been sitting in the garage un-touched all those years. By his description, it was the exact same bike as mine. The seed was planted. Between our different busy schedules, the meeting was put off a few times. Today, the numbers matched, and it was time to make the hour drive to see it and barter for the best price.
As I drove, I envisioned the deep chrome and beautiful shades of blue on my old bike. Could it possibly be the same bike? Could it really be un-touched, rust and dent free? Would the price be low enough for me to be able to bring it home without guilt? As I pulled into the drive, I noticed one of their cars was the same model Toyota wagon as mine. A sign, perhaps? Invited it, the bike sat in their front room, much the same way mine has recently. My heart sank just a touch as I saw the bike in all its glory.
No chrome rims or fenders. A different color blue. But, it was in awesome shape and shone like new. He had brought in in for a wipe down and filled up the tires too. As we discussed the bike and its origins, I began to let the color palette enter my comfort zone. Through the years, I have tried not to own exact duplicate things. With all the bikes, cars, and models I have had, a repeat seemed wrong. So, this perfect bike was on my list of new desires.
He preceded to show me a bike like my old one on E-bay for the going rate I received for my old cruiser deluxe. He asked me how much I was thinking. Although he wanted more than I offered, we were close to being on the same wavelength in price. A quick time later, with smiles all around, we agreed on a amount that was about one-third of the bike on E-bay. The deal was done, the bike was (is) mine.
I just got back from my first ride (and the bike’s). It is so smooth and classic. It has the smallest little rattle that I will take care of right away. I will polish every crevice and check every adjustment and fastener. I might tear it down for a full re-grease. The bits and pieces from my old bike will find a new home. That includes my Schwinn leather hub-shiners, my Bermuda bell, the blinking rear light, the blue dice valve stem caps, and the red, white, and blue handlebar streamers. I will remove the reflectors and hide the ones in the pedals just like I did on my old cruiser.
Like my old bike, this one has many pieces that were only offered one year. The cobblestone whitewall tires are pretty rare. The flared fenders and painted to match rack were not on any other cruiser deluxe models. The front springer fork is made of Chromoly instead of standard steel. Plus the tank, chain guard and markings were only on the cruiser deluxe. Although it is heavy and sports only a single-speed coaster brake rear hub, what more do you need in a beach cruiser?
So a new era of mine will start today. Fawning on this new (15 year-old) bike will begin. It will be on the chopping block, but with no hurry intended. It took me since 96’ to find the correct person last time, and if takes that long again, I will not be unhappy. And the more I look at this new baby, the more its colors and style are starting to sink into my way of thinking.
Time for another ride, let the fun continue, Turbo Bob.
“The machine represented herewith opens up a new horizon in the vast domain of advertising, in which it seemed impossible to realize still another innovation.”—Revue Universelle, 1895.
You can get a closer view of this bike on my new YouTube channel
And just posted, a video of the tear-down with all 225 pieces of the bike cleaned, polished, and laid-out to see.
More videos to come.