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The bike that made me love road cycling


TrentonMakes
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25 minutes ago, TrentonMakes said:

After a couple heavy Sears-type 10-speeds (which I outgrew), in 1987 I went to a real LBS - the former Klarsfeld Cyclery on Central Avenue in Albany near Fuller Road - and walked out with a red Panasonic 12-speed with a 27" frame, sitting on the sales floor.  Still steel, but still so much lighter than what I was used to, and since it fit me so much better I loved to ride it.  And ride it I did; I enjoyed getting home from school and getting out for an hour or so (when the weather was nice, at least), exploring some of the back roads near our place up in NY - including some roads we never had much occasion to be on in a car.  That was the era when I really started to love the feeling of being out on the road alone, miles from home, and how you could observe nature so much better than in a car.  Unfortunately I still had not yet learned to shift optimally and spin in a low gear... as a result I still did a bit of walking up the steep hills, which were plentiful.  I also had no cycling clothing - sneakers on flat pedals, cutoff jean shorts and a T-shirt.  I did have an Avenir helmet, which I admit I did not wear most of the time.

I had this bike with me at college, at least part of the time, and enjoyed exploring the area, including some rides in the 20-30 mile range.  And once I graduated and started working in Philadelphia, I used to ride this bike from my South Jersey apartment, two miles to the train station... until the night I stayed late at the office to help someone finish a report, got back to the train station at 9:30PM and it had been stolen.  By then it was a lot harder to find a bike to fit me - but in the early 2000s I found another similar Panasonic, which I still have (though it's relegated to trainer status now that I have the KHS, probably the best bike I will ever own).

I don't have any good photos of my red Panasonic (my parents have one photo of me on it, from a distance).  But I found the 1986 Panasonic catalog (https://www.panasonicbikemuseum.info/product/1986-panasonic-bicycles-catalog/) and this is what I had, the yellow-on-red scheme (just much bigger) - at the top right of the image you can see the 27" frame size option.  I had a yellow bottle cage and a red water bottle, my first-ever purchase from the Performance catalog (along with a pair of crocheted gloves).  Those are sweet memories.

image.thumb.png.5a0a1bb32b7c243cd574f0888795be70.png

In HS 1982/83 a riding buddy bought a sweet red Panasonic bike.  I believe it was a higher spec than the one in the image and it was the first non European bike I listed after.  The red was sooo sexy. 

My sister had a green Ross 10 speed I would rip around on as a kid and that bike got me hooked on cycling at around 14.  It felt like I was flying when I rode that bike.  

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In about 71 I bought my Peugeot, the cheap touring model with fenders, rack, and a wheel driven generator to power a head and taillight.

 I put a lot of miles on that bike and started bicycle camping.     :party:

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My brother left a red Schwinn ten-speed in the garage when he went to college. I know…

I rode it from home down to the river path and out to the reservoir almost every day during the summer between my junior and senior year of high school. No cycling clothes or helmet. 

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1 hour ago, TrentonMakes said:

yellow-on-red scheme

 

Very cool story, thanks for sharing. IMO a red frame w/ yellow bits is my favorite color scheme. My first 10-speed was a used Schwinn Varsity in blue that my Dad bought me. That classic metallic Schwinn blue. After awhile he completely disassembled the bike and rebuilt it. But prior to rebuilding it, he said he'd strip the paint and repaint it for me, any color I wanted. Well despite blue being my favorite color, I chose red. So he painted it red :) We also got OEM Schwinn decals from the LBS. In 1986 or so, Schwinn decals were available. I put on yellow bar tape. You know that plastic tape from the 80s :D  The decals also had yellow in them, so the bike turned out sweet. I'll have to find an old pic of me on it. Good days those were. I enjoyed riding that bike, and with him. Great memories.

I always wanted one of these, but never had one.

Cipollini Saeco Cannondale Caad 4 — Velo Aficionado

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Good story.  Mine was a Schwinn Le Tour.  I lusted after the Peloton of that era.  I just didn't have the coin.  I bought a Le Tour with the red/yellow color scheme.  I rode the shit out of it and busted up the stock wheels and ended up putting a Mavic wheelset on it worth as much as the bike.  Holy crap did that transform the ride?  This must have been 86?  Van Halen had released their last DLR album and was switching over to Sammy and 5150.  I was in middle school.  I rode about 15-20 miles a day.  One day I went and rode a local century just for the hell of it.  Ahh, those were the days.  

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