(first posted 5/2/2016) There are many backdrops for humanity. I’ve been lucky enough in my life to float in, out, and around many dissonant places and groups of people. By day, I can talk pedagogy with my well-versed coworkers, and by night I live in a typical declining midwestern middle-class town near some very friendly retirees. Sometimes, I’ll haunt the doors of local machine shops and body shops and talk cars with guys who have been in the business for years. On one annual Sunday in April, however, I’ll consort with a troupe of characters who put all of my daily interactions to shame: bicycle collectors.
That’s right. April 24th was the annual Ann Arbor bicycle show and swap meet, and seldom is the year that I don’t come home with something I don’t need. It’s also a refreshing couple of hours wandering around with other people who are unashamed to ride kids bikes or mini bikes around the grounds. People who will trailer dozens of bicycles hundreds of miles to make a few bucks and have a good time. People who know more minutiae about a classic Schwinn than I know about anything. I have to admit, it’s a fun time if you like bikes.
As evidenced by the picture above, I did come home with something new, which I parked in front of the rest of my bicycle herd to accentuate my lunacy. My collection is up to 15 bikes, several of which I bought on a whim in Ann Arbor. I’m up to 16 if you count my 1968 Schwinn Exerciser, which I “ride” during the boring winter months of no bike rides. Also in the background is my ’73 Speedster, which I cataloged here.
This year’s purchase is a very nice, original 1966 Schwinn Deluxe Racer in Radiant Coppertone, which, in my opinion, is one of the coolest colors in bicycle history. My favorite bicycles are “lightweights” from the mid-1960s to the early-1970s, and I have too many of them, but this one was too nice to leave behind.
Only Deluxe models were available in Coppertone in ’66, and the Deluxe also came well-equipped with more chrome plating and a padded seat. Mine has a headlight and taillight, which are powered by a generator (that I haven’t tried yet), and a horn specifically designed to annoy spouses.
This Racer also has an accessory rack on the back fender for when I don’t ride my bike to work because my commute is too long.
And no self-respecting Deluxe model bicycle will come equipped with anything as plebeian as a single-speed Bendix hub. Oh no, my Racer plays the part of an “English racer” by sporting the famous Sturmey Archer three-speed, which is all I ever need when riding a bike. More speeds just get in the way. With a Sturmey-Archer, I just click it into second 95% of the time, and use third down hills and first up hills. Simple as that.
As always, I look forward to many blissful, idyllic days riding my old bikes around town and on local rail trails. Nice, original bikes are always money well spent, as they are fun and they hold their value (not that I often sell anything). I also look forward to next April, when Dad and I can drive down to Ann Arbor and spend some time with a truly unique group of people who just do what they love. We should all be so lucky.
Yeah, the 3 speed Sturmey Archer, totally agree on all the speeds you’ll ever need.
Beautiful clicking sound when coasting ? I think, its been a long time since I’ve ridden or heard one.
Yep…the clicking it makes when freewheeling is distinctive indeed. 🙂
And the slower tick from third gear. Your right, these are lovely bikes. I had a Colligate SS in a metallic green, a black and gold ’59 Columbia 3 speed, and a black 1938 Raleigh. These old bikes are great fun. Also had a green and creme white 1954 Columbia, but that was a heavyweight.
Speaking of clicking, who remembers the Shimano 333 and 3cc?:)
Picture was taken on a Kodak 620 Brownie JR, to those who care. Haha
I remember the Shimano 333 very well from my days at A.R. Adams Cycle in Erie. A good, serviceable (more easily serviceable than the Sturmey Archer AW) design, although not as robust as the Sturmey.
Back then, I had myself to the point where I could strip down a Shimano and rebuild it in less than fifteen minutes, which was put to the occasional test because they came equipped on all sorts of less expensive bikes that parents bought for their children. Never underestimate how a 10-11 year old can grunge up a IGH.
Anyone know what theses r about , 1965,66 Schwinn bicycles Breeze and Collegiate
The clicking sound is not unique to the sturmey 3speed. All schwinns not having a coaster brake made that sound. I will disagree with you on 3 speeds being plenty. I currently own and ride a 20+ year old 15 speed cannondale. 15 speeds is way more than i ever use. But i do use and need 4 of those speeds. So a sturmey-archer 3speed is one short of plenty!
If you live where you confront actual hills all the time (I lived in San Francisco), a gear as low as exists can be nice to have. It often puts off the walking the bike stage a lot of times.
Thanks for the memory of that clicking sound. You could always tell when an English 3 Speed was going past the house. A real sound of Summer from my childhood.
I had a Raleigh bike with a Sturmey Archer 3 speed as a kid. More reliable than a 10 speed, and you can shift gears when your stopped . At times it was my only friend, and I’d ride it everywhere for hours at a time. It’s what kept me in shape.
Me too! Definitely loved riding around on my old Raleigh Sports 3 speed with the S-A gears when I was in high school. Then had a 10-speed yellow Gitane which I took to college.
Holy cow, I’d have 20 bicycles if I had space. (I’d also have a house full of vintage televisions and radios. I’ve got the collector gene, to be sure. My house is filled with vintage cameras already. Thankfully, they’re much smaller than bicycles and televisions.)
I’ve got two old Schwinns: a 1986 Collegiate 3-speed and a 1973 Collegiate 5-speed (formerly owned by our very own JPCavanaugh). Pics to follow.
I’m a fan of the 3 speed bicycle, too.
Bought a five speed schwinn that looked like your brown one but with the handlebars similar to the blue bike above. Rode it all over Panama and the Canal Zone including one Atlantic to Pacific trip (55 miles). That won a few beers later in life.
When I transferred to Norfolk the bike was one of the first casualties. Stolen from my front porch.
I managed to live my life with few regrets but this is one. I wish that I had spent more of my money on bicycles and motorcycles and less on cars and trucks. The bikes I can mostly keep running. The 4 wheelers, not so much.
Love it! Count me as another fan of that color – when I got my first new bike for my 7th birthday in 1966, it was a Schwinn Sting Ray in this same color. Just from casual observation, that was a fairly short-lived color on Schwinns.
We still have in the garage the bike that Mrs. JPC rode and which has the Sturmey-Archer unit. I agree that it is a very pleasant and simple way to have a multi speed bike.
Also, I am sympathetic to your hoarding, er, collecting urge.
I have a 1967 schwinn deluxe racer, 3 speed, coppertone. It is in great condition. How much do you think it is worth?
I’ve been looking at numerous mid-60’s Schwinn Racers over the past few months. Your bike looks very similar to the bike posted by AAron65. His (her) bike appears exceptional. Harder to tell about yours because only one photo but it looks at least “very good”. I’ve consistently seen asking prices somewhere between $225 and $350 for similar bikes. Another factor which impacts the purchase price is the shipping cost. If it costs $150 to ship, that tends to depress the purchase price a bit.
Good luck with it. Looks nice
I would love your copper tone racer. Mine is green but I love that color.
A man who lives my life. And my annual obsession is the Westminster, MD Stop-Swap-and-Save swap meet held every February, the weekend after the Super Bowl.
The personal collection is down to 14 bikes on the road, and two frames (a Rossin, my third, and a late 70’s Peugeot PX-10) in the long term building schedule. My road bikes are mostly 8, 10 and 12 speed road bikes extending from a late 50’s Raleigh Lenton Grand Prix to a couple of mid-80’s Rossin’s with six-speed indexed shifting on the downtubes. I sold off all my brifter equipped bikes last year shortly before moving to Ashland.
Yet, what do I ride for my daily 5 mile workout every morning? Either a ’69 Raleigh Sprite 5 (five-speed Sturmey Archer hub with double shift levers on the top tube), or my ’72 Raleigh Tourist (DL-1), a bike straight out of the village scenes in Downton Abbey with 28″ wheels and rod brakes. The classic English roadster (“English racer” in American parlance), which I’m convinced are the finest, most practical bicycles ever made.
The classic Sturmey Archer three-speed is a design that may be bettered technologically, but will never be beaten for practicality. To anyone looking, I’ll suggest staying with the classic AW hub, as they’re the easiest to find, have the best parts availability (not that you’re ever going to have to repair one, other than adjusting the shift cable).
That Racer is to die for, especially in that color. The only other model Schwinn I’ve seen in that shade is either a Paramount or a Continental of that vintage. And from what I can tell, all the accessories were installed either at the time of purchase, or shortly afterwards – they’re all period correct for the bike. A very nice find. Treasure it.
My 1967 “Deluxe” Sting Ray is also Radiant Coppertone.
Thank God somebody has more bicycles than I do! I’ve got it in my head right now that I need an old “English Racer” 3-speed lightweight, with S-A, Raleigh, or similar. Agree on the color. Still looks great. In the early 80’s, a friend had a Ted Williams Free Spirit with a Reynolds 531 frame that was a similar color.
The Raleigh Sports is the ideal, if you can find a Superbe grab it! They were the high end, more optioned out version of the sports. If someone offers you a Raleigh Tourist (a very tall, black, large wheeled bike with rod brakes) and you can fit it, buy it. But be ready for a very different riding experience (long wheelbase with much slower handling) and abysmal braking characteristics.
Alternately, if you run across bikes with the Triumph, Dunelt, Hercules, Enfield or other like brand, they a cheaper (but still quality) marque that will give you the same riding pleasure.
Mrs. JPC’s 3 speed bike is a Hercules, probably from the 60s. She is not much of a rider anymore, but the kids have used it fairly extensively around the neighborhood.
In addition to a large fleet of Schwinn lightweights, I have some English roadster 3 speeds from the Raleigh stable. These include a Triumph and a Dunelt.
I find the English bikes generally inferior to the Schwinns. The Schwinns have superior paint, superior chrome and much better braking (Weinmann vs. in house Raleigh). They share the S/A 3 speed hub. I find the Schwinn frame much more substantial. And I prefer the Schwinn only sized rims over the English. The Schwinns are also easier to find in large sizes (for real American adults) than the English bikes that seemed to always come in small frame sizes.
The worst feature of the English roadsters is the cottered crank – a maintenance/repair nightmare. The Schwinns use the simpler and much easier to remove “Ashtabula” style one piece crankset.
My 3 speed Schwinn fleet includes Travelers, Racers, Speedsters, Collegiates and my favorite the Suburban. The first four had 26″ tires; the Suburban runs 27″ tires which size I prefer.
From my years at A.R. Adams Cycle (a Schwinn/Raleigh/Columbia dealer), for an American audience, I’ll have to agree with you. During the Bike Boom (’71-74), “serious cyclists” slagged Schwinns with the kind of fervor that the auto crowd nowadays saves for Mitsubishi, Cadillac, etc. Mainly because the bikes didn’t have lugged frames, were too heavy, etc., etc., etc.
All I can say is Thank God We Carried Schwinns. No, I’m a Raleigh guy, and consider them superior for an adult customer who needs to use a bicycle as serious daily transportation. Which, incidentally, was what the Sports was designed for in the first place. A substitute for an automobile from the days when the average Englishman couldn’t afford a car, and possibly couldn’t even afford a motorcycle.
However, our customers weren’t adults who knew how to take care of a bike, could ride in traffic properly, or had the skills to use a bicycle like we’d use a car. We were selling to a clientele who had just been hit with the radical notion that an adult could ride a bicycle . . . and the last time 99% of our customers were on a bicycle, they were probably all of 14 or 15. With the usual American youthful behavior in caring for a bike (not!).
Schwinns were built to be beaten by a child (Paramounts excepted). And only Schwinns could take the kind of beating our 20-something customers were giving the bikes, since they didn’t know better and were still falling back on what was acceptable behavior the last time they were riding. Curb hopping, not worrying about potholes, etc.
Invariably, those customers who rode and got serious about cycling (as opposed to the majority who were following the fad of the moment) came back for a better bike . . . . . . and it wasn’t a Schwinn. Or at least not a classic Chicago Schwinn. They now wanted the lighter weight, more responsive bicycle since they now knew what they were doing. They wanted the European technology, preferably made by and improved upon by the Japanese (yeah, it ain’t just cars and motorcycles).
And while I love the Schwinn 3-speeds (just restored one for my sister about six months ago), I’ll take a British bike anyday. Primarily for the lighter weight (I tend to do 10 mile commutes on mine).
By the way, we’re exact opposite on cranks. I’ll take a cotterered crank any day over that overweight steel Ashtabula nightmare. The only trick to maintaining them is to have a proper cotter press. As you’ve probably discovered, attempting to hammer them out only bends the cotter. Of course, I’ve got the press, and have built a jig to support the spindle if I have to forcibly drive out a damaged cotter.
As to the size differential, the difference here is whether that English bike originally came from a bicycle shop, or another retail outlet. Schwinns were only sold in bicycle shops and getting a 20″, 22″, 24″ and even possibly a 26″ frame was no problem. Raleighs were also only sold in franchised bicycle shops, and came in equivalent sizes (19-1/2″, 21-1/2″, etc.). Where the small size problem originated was in the non-Raleigh British bikes which were usually sold in department stores and other like outlets. They invariably came as 21-1/2″ frames because the jobber was primarily selling them to adolescents in America, not adults.
Glad to hear there are other old car fans who collect bikes. I thought there was something wrong with me. Maybe there is, because I’ve collected about 30 bikes, with another 5 projects and a pile of parts and frames.
I used to ride my silbings’ Sturmey Archer equipped Raleighs as a kid, (sold by Eatons of Canada under the Glider name). They were very common as a kid, but were soon eclipsed by bike-boom 10-speeds.
That Sturmey-Archer shifter brings back memories. A cousin had one on a Raleigh when I was 13 and had just moved to a new neighborhood. Got to ride it a few times.
Eventually, I ended up with a Raleigh Sprite 27, its 10 speeds really helped in the hilly terrain where I’d lived at the time. Traded it when I turned 16 on a ’66 Chrysler non-letter 300.
Great bike. I have the same one – year and color – and my wife has a ’69 Breeze three- speed in that color as well. Our small town has a special quarterly trash pick-up where people can through out large items. Folks put their items on the street during the week and the pick-up is on Saturday. Of course the good stuff gets picked up by neighbors ahead of time. We found both of ours at two different houses on the same week. I rebuilt them and we’ve now had them for short trips around town for almost thirty years.
Our area has rolling hills and I actually would have preferred if my three-speed was geared slightly lower as I prefer to spin a little more than is typical on such a bike. Of course in these days when we run eleven-speed cassettes we’ve become spoiled my minute gear changes that allow us to micro-manage our torque curves.
I learned the intricacies of the three-speed hub in high school. I worked at a bike shop and was sent to Schwinn School to become “factory certified”. One of our tests was that both a Sturmey Archer and a Shimano three-speed hub were disassembled and the contents were combined in a bowl and mixed. You then had to put them together in ten minutes or so.
I would love to go to Schwinn school today! I can do a single-speed Bendix quickly, but I don’t have much SA practice thanks to their durability. In fact, I’ve never had to take one apart (yet).
Substitute a 22 tooth cog for the stock 18. (And a new chain as you’ll need another link or two). Makes the gears quite a bit lower. Your new third gear would be only slightly higher than your current 2nd.
Richard beat me to it. In my case, I use a 23t Shimano sprocket (easily available over the Internet, try Niagara Cycle) which drops the stock third gear to second, second gear to first, and your new first can actually climb hills.
This is my stock modification for any three speed roadster that goes into my permanent collection.
Yep, 23 is good. I think that’s what I used, too. It’s been a while. With a 24, then your new 3rd gear would equal the 18-2nd.
Nice color, again I’ll mention how disappointed I was to find out my Dad threw his late 50’s three speed Raleigh in the scrap metal bin when he retired from riding a few years ago.
I was temped to buy a vintage bike but wound up with a new Opus city bike. Not everything in my life has to be a project 🙂
Thanks for the great article. You stirred up many memories of my youth when the brand name of Schwinn was the one and only that I wanted. But it had to be a Sting Ray.
Great bike and color. I had an old Schwinn Racer around 1966, I don’t think it was deluxe. If I recall correctly it was red. I clearly remember the Sturmey Archer 3 speed shifter, the click click click sound when coasting, and the Schwinn Racer lettering on the chain guard. It had a generator headlamp/tailamp that you would flip againts the side of the tire, you could feel the drag when it was in use. And it would go out when you stopped, sometimes I would lift the rear wheel and keep it spinning if stopped and a car was coming so I could be seen.
Around 1968-69, I had a Raleigh 10 speed. Don’t remember the exact model. It had the tape wrapped rams horn handlebars. Used it to deliver newspapers, with the bag attached to the handle bars. One time I was going down a steep hill in 10th gear as fast as I could go, probably between 30-40 MPH when the almost empty bag got pulled into the front wheel spokes and locked the wheel. I remember going end over end before letting go of the handlebars. Lucky it was a cold day so I had a thick jacket on, only had bloody palms from road rash. Head didn’t hit anything, helmets for bicycles on the street were not even heard of back in those days.
Today I have an old Trek aluminum frame mountain bike I use from time to time. Need to get out on it more.
I could see a car painted this gold color, I think it would look great.
When I had the Schwinn, the cool thing for us kids was to use playing cards attached to the frame with wooden clothespins buzzing along in the spokes, made a nice engine sound. The more you used, the louder it got.
Copper is such a nice color. I don’t know how far off the shades are- being online and all- but in ’59 GM had a very nice copper paint (very overcast day for this pic):
My ’71 Sting-Ray had a 3 speed transmission like that, only it had the suicide stick shift, instead of one on the handlebars like the featured bike. I’m not sure if the brand of transmission cited (Sturmey Archer) was what the bike had, but it had that distinctive click sound that some of the other posters mentioned. My Schwinn looked something like this one (which was the closest I could find to mine using a Google image search)….
I had a Sting Ray in that exact color – then the Sting Ray got replaced with a DeLuxe Racer in black in 1967.
Maybe I should start collecting old bikes again…
I replaced the Sting-Ray with a ’77 Varsity 10-speed as I was getting too big for the Sting-Ray. I was 11 when I got the Sting-Ray and 17 when I got the Schwinn Varsity. I loved that color so much that I got that color again on my Varsity. I still have the Varsity, but sadly, the whereabouts of my Sting-Ray are unknown. The transmission gave out at 1500 miles. I gave it to the kid next door. He fixed it up and kept riding it through his teens. Here’s a small world one for you… He owns the company for which my wife works! So weird. At a Christmas party a couple of years ago, we were talking about that Sting-Ray. He said it was in a shed at his Mom’s house, and she had the shed torn down. All of its contents *including the bike!* were thrown out. Seeing what they are worth now, we were both quite bummed about it. ;o(
You should have started ten years ago. Back then, I could pick up Raleigh three speeds in nice condition for $10.00 apiece – assuming it just wasn’t given to me for free.
Nowadays the going price for a clean running one is $125-250.00 depending on condition.
I confess to being a bike hoarder, but on a smaller scale than the subject of this article. My weakness was and is the high end road bikes of the 70s, with my holy grail being a chrome Schwinn Paramount. Many different classic road bikes have passed through my hands, but my chrome 71 P13-9 is the lifetime keeper. I also have a 74 Raleigh Pro in Blue Mink, the signature color, and a 73 Paramount P15 in Opaque Blue. Most of the time I ride my Holland Titanium, it is substantially lighter than the classics!
The chrome P15 in the center is now living somewhere else, as it was a bit large for me.
I had a Schwinn Racer back in the day. iirc mine was a 63 and not so grand as the fenders, like the rest of the bike, painted red with white pinstripes. Sold probably 30 years ago. Inherited a mint Ross with a three speed hub when my dad died in 90. Sold.
One of my facebook friends posted the flyer about the bike show. I thought about taking this one along to see if I could find a buyer as I live close to Ann Arbor, but started thinking about the cost at the gate, and another $10 to get my bike into the “for sale” building, and passed due to it’s worn and scruffy condition: Schwinn Collegiate with 5 speed derailleur and 1969-1970 Ann Arbor bike permit on rear fender. Last time I tried the gennie and lights, probably a dozen years ago, they all worked.
She: “How many bikes do you need?”
I believe many SA 3 speeds came from the factory with the bearings adjusted too tight. I fixed several of them by opening the jam nut and giving the bearings ever so slight play. Only after that adjustment were they truly free wheeling.
I personally stay away from Schwinn bikes with their special tire sizes. However, I tuned up a Schwinn Suburban with solid fork for a friend and I found my appreciation for the quality of materials and workmanship they put in them. I cleaned the headset, the bottom bracket and the hubs. Every part was in excellent shape because Schwinn used nothing but quality materials and finished the surfaces to exceedingly high standards.
Back in the 90’s Friends of Iowa Bicycling held a sale and we had some persuasion to do in selling modern day Schwinns. People often equated the brand with heavy old clunkers. It helped telling them that Schwinn was nothing more than a brand name that was bought up by the Giant bicycle company. On some Schwinn frames I even found a “G” brand logo on a chain stay.
Had a camelback 1-speed Speedster when I was a kid. Love ’em; in spite of the gaspipe frame and steel rims, they are high quality machines. More recently, for a year or so, I commuted on an early ’70s Speedster with S-A 3 speed. The lack of tire choices (597 bead seat diameter) was a major bummer; only a very basic, and not very flat-resistant, tire is available today. I recommend a 22 tooth cog (to replace the stock 18). Gives you a low that will climb most any hill or get you across the intersection fast, a 2nd gear that’s ok for average headwinds and slight upgrades, and a 3rd that is satisfactory for slight downgrades or average tailwinds. Faster than that, you’re doing OK and don’t really need to pedal.
Varsity man here. I’ve got a pile of them. It’s a critical mass thing where now they just show up for free. Had the brown one for 45 years!
Schwinn Varsity. The greatest bicycle in the history of bicycling. As to why, see my reply to constellation above. What goes for three speeds back then went in spades for the ten speeds.
WOW, Aaron65, you know how to bring up the way-back machine full force!
First of all, my very first brand-new bike was a 1965 Schwinn DeLuxe Racer. Mine was red, and came originally equipped with a Bendix 2-speed rear hub. To shift, you backpedaled slightly. I was 9 years old and a little afraid of hand brakes.
Later, my dad converted it to a 3-speed with hand brakes and (of course) Sturmey-Archer hub…
Which brings me to second of all…Dad was a Schwinn dealer in Lima, Ohio from 1965-1977. So ALL of these bikes (both your pictures and others shared here) bring back memories. I can’t tell you how many of these I assembled as new bikes. The Schwinn model numbers stamped on the shipping boxes have long ago faded from memory, but I remember the assembly process.
So if any of your Schwinns have a chrome sticker on the seat tube from Charlie the Bicycle Man in Lima, Ohio – I might very well have initially assembled them.
While we’re talking Sturmey Archer 3-speeds, has anyone else here ever done a 3×3 conversion?
Take a bog standard Sturmey Archer AW, and replace the since rear sprocket with a Benelux 3 speed sprocket. Then add a derailleur to move the chain over the three sprockets. Of course there’s going to be the matter of sliding on a few spacers to clear the cogs under the chain stays. Sturmey Archer makes a longer axle to give more thread room for the nuts. Or at least they did back then.
I built one of these back in 1974 when I was riding a Raleigh Twenty folder, and had to do a fair bit of hill climbing to get from my apartment to work. Used a Huret Allvit derailleur (you probably saw those as “Schwinn Approved” on their lower end 10-speeds thru 1975 or so), and it worked pretty well. The extended range of a derailleur bike while still having the IGH ability to shift gears while stopped at a traffic light.
I’ve got another one of those Benelux cog sets in the parts department of my shop and keep getting tempted to do the conversion to my current Twenty.
My dad did some of those conversions for sale and for customers who requested them.
I can’t tell you how many years it’s been since I’ve heard the term “Benelux”….:-).
I’ve restored a 1958-60 Raleigh Lenton Grand Prix with Benelux derailleurs. The rear is a four speed using a coil spring and goes automatically to low gear with the shift lever all the way forward, and the front derailleur is one of the “suicide shift” types where you reach down between your legs to move a rod. Lovely to ride, Reynolds 531 straight gauge, with steel rims (period correct but not the factory wheels).
You reminded me of my dad’s ~1960 Rudge 8-speed road bike with the coil spring Benelux derailleur. Think it was a high quality bike with nice lugs on Reynolds 531 tubing. The 4 gear cluster was very “tight”, suitable for flat terrain. The inner front chain wheel wasn’t much smaller than the outer one, so again not much use for hill climbing. Sadly, dad neglected it as he aged, and we eventually disposed of it during estate sale. Didn’t have the time to find a vintage collector.
Mine was candy apple red. It was the next to last bike I had. I got it about 1969 or so. It was a 24″, and just slightly too tall for me, but soon it was too short and I had to trade it for a 10 speed Schwinn in a metallic blue with chrome fenders. Right out of the box, I had deralleur issues causing broken chains, but the dealer got them straightened out pretty quickly. After that, it was bulletproof for the last 4 years or so I rode bikes.
I just got this bike and just started on it’s restore. What kind of rear rack is that?
A very handsome bike.
I don’t see any drop handlebars in your fleet, so no ten speed racing bikes apparent?
That red one with the banana seat and the Mustang handlebars looks cool, yet seems lost among its 26 inch wheel brethren.
I too, have an accessory rack carrier on the back of my ten speed bike. I used to used it to carry a basketball – perfect fit, to go play in the schoolyard with my buddies. Or, my baseball glove to go and play wallball. Seems like the ’70s were only yesterday.
I once was kidding with a guy who had a garage full of bicycles and asked him how many bicycles one man needs, He must have had fifty. His wife said I will answer that. “The answer is JUST ONE MORE!”
I just came home from the swap meet again – it was held for the first time since 2019 on Sunday, but is now in Monroe, MI, at their fairgrounds. Unfortunately, I came home empty handed…I had my eye on a violet 1965 Schwinn Traveler, but decided to make an offer on the way out. Well, someone else beat me to it…you can’t win ’em all!
I got a maroon Schwinn 3-speed bike when I was about 10 years old. Wish I could remember the model. Dad & I took his ‘69 Impala to a Schwinn shop in New Philadelphia Ohio on a Saturday morning. That bike had a coaster brake in the hub. Do I recall correctly that it was a Bendix hub? I thought (rightly or wrongly) that my hub was superior to the Sturmey Archer hubs because the actuator on the rear axle used a lever instead of a “spindly little chain” to select the gears.
My next and last new bicycle was a blue Concord Raven 10 speed bought from a friend of my big brother who had opened up a bicycle shop in our little town. I rode that bike everywhere, until My friends & I got our driver’s licenses.
What a beautiful bike, and colour! The upright handlebars really caught my eye. My ‘daily driver’ is a 20-year-old Giant hybrid, and over the years the handlebars have been replaced three or four times to deal with an aging back. Originally flat bars, they now look something like yours. The perfect city bike.
Despite bikes being my main means of transportation around town, I’ll admit to owning only three and really using only one of them. When I started doing a lot of touring, I invested in a custom-built Italian steel-frame touring bike, with what was then fairly high-end Shimano hardware. But the drop handlebars have become too hard on my back. I keep thinking I should get it refitted with more upright bars, to get more use of it – it’s an incredibly comfortable and responsive frame.
That iconic Sturmey Archer shifter is a delight. Like so many, my first non-kid’s bike was a Raleigh three-speed, metallic red with white fenders, in the early 1960’s. By high school of course bikes were uncool, and it was early University days before I caught the 10-speed fever. Which never really left me.
In my 70’s my bike touring ambitions are more limited, but I still do most of my daily errands by bike and have a couple of pleasant 20 km routes around town that I ride on a regular basis, just to get my heart rate up and feel the wind in my face. It’s also a great opportunity to grab pictures for the Cohort. 🙂
The bicycle is a miraculous machine. Happy riding on your Schwinn!
Neighbor on our street had the same bike in blue (teal). Was likely about the same model year.
Our Schwinn had no hand brakes//gears. Was royal blue with white pinstripes.
Got it new about 1968.We also had a huffy “stingray” style in olive green.
The streamers were green/gold.
Banana seat was black i think.
Got it “used” in 1969ish.
It was fun seeing this article again, and especially reading all the comments. I’m still wrenching away on the bicycles, although at an admittedly lower rate than I was doing eight years ago. The fire that destroyed my garage/workshop back in November 2019 definitely put a crimp in my work. The shop is rebuilt better than any of the shops I’ve had in the past (well, when you’ve built a series of them, you slowly learn what you want/need), the tools have primarily been replaced with better . . . . . . but the loss of twenty years worth of parts collecting it a terminal hit. Especially since replacements are at LOT more expensive then they were back in, say, 2008.
I am continuing to restore some original piece here and there,mmy latest being a 1955 Royal Enfield three speed.
Syke – I’m still involved with bikes too. Have sold several Schwinn 3 speeds to friends and neighbors but still have too many.
Around the time of this post I sold a nice pair – black Breeze and sky blue Speedster to a couple in Fort Collins. That’s an ideal biking town – quite flat for all city riding. They’ve used them and liked them. Now they are coming back for more for the son and daughter. I’ve got a small campus green Racer lined up for the shorter kid and a choice of Speedsters/Racers for the taller one.
Still ride the Suburbans but my prime rides are modern – both Shimano 7 speed IGHs: Brooklyn Driggs; Globe Daily 3.