(Here is) yet another Ode-to-the-Dutch-Bike. Seems like every one of the bike-fashion / fashion-on-bikes / chic / etc blogs are doing it. OK, Dutch bikes're maybe nice and certainly it's maybe neat to buy something new (here) and trendy. I submit though that old Schwinns are a much better fit for the American commuting and city-bike scene.
So anyway, it's my opinion that the ideal bikes for putting Americans back onto bikes for urban riding are here, right under our noses and we're perhaps too snobbish to see them.
- They're ubiquitous and cheap. Every thrift store in every metro gets maybe 50 of them per year. Here in the Iowa/Illinois Quad Cities' 7 thrift stores they are priced between $5.38 (don't ask me - that 38-cents thing is unique to Goodwill nationwide apparently) and on up to, but never higher than, around $25.
- With a disassembly, cleanup, lubing, and new rubber/cabling/chain, they'll likely be good for another 28-44 years. Those are the ages of the youngest and the oldest of the twenty-some Schwinns that I refurbed this past year.
- They are city-riding-comfortable. Fenders, upright handlebars, and really comfy old mattress seats are on every Schwinn I put out, even the ones that originally came set up as roadies. I mostly prefer the 3-spd internal Sturmey Archer hub bikes altho I have put out a few 5-spd derailler bikes, two 10-spds, and converted four 10-spds to different gearing/drive set ups.
- They can be _very_ chic. Please look at this bike to see some photos and a narrative about one such Schwinn I recently finished.
I confess that I have long been under the impression that Schwinns aren't worth much (maybe it was the $5.38 pricetag?). I don't want to be snobbish. If possible I'd love to borrow a Schwinn in Boston for a quick joyride. I know that some people adore theirs, and I'd love know know how they ride... Anyone?
I'd be very interested in hearing other people's experiences (good and bad) with their Schwinn, please leave a comment.