Saturday, May 15, 2010

Lil' Miss Rides Again

Back in 1995, wife and I were visiting our homeland of New Jersey for family reasons - funeral for her mom. Not a fun trip. While reviewing the estate and personal items, we collected her childhood bicycle, an old Schwinn - first bike she ever owned and learned to ride on. Before flying back, we dropped the bike off at my old pal Scott's bike shop for boxing and shipment. There's actually two bikes to this story, but I'll save the other for another day.

When the Schwinn arrived at our current home in Washington state, I promptly stashed it in the garage, and it's been sitting there every since. So 1995 to 2010. 15 years! Time flies when you're getting old and occasionally having fun.

Daughter Amy, finally bagged the training wheels on her bike a few months ago. Now, her incredibly pink little Specialized is a bit small. I mentioned "mom's old bike" is stored in the garage and maybe she could ride that instead. Amy doesn't ride very often, but she's been asking to see "mom's bike" for a few weeks now.

So, today I dragged it out for all to see.....

Lil' Miss has been hibernating in this cardboard cocoon for 15 years. A chrome fender peeks through hole, blinking at daylight. It's been a long time.

As packaged by Scott's crew (or maybe Scott himself) in 1995. They even used Zip ties, cardboard to protect the frame tubes, and plastic fork protector. Pros, I tell you. Notice the flat spot on rear tire from sitting for 15 years. If you sat for 15 years, your rear would probably look similar.

A blur from the past. Old pal Scott's business card was stuffed into the small box containing the pedals. Kind of cool to find 15 years later.

A few turns of an adjustable wrench and it lives again. Bike is in pretty good shape - will look even better when cleaned up a bit. Here it sits right of the box, not even wiped off. The tubes even hold air. Bike is from 1969 or somewhere in that era.

Lil' Miss sports purple paint and a heavy crank. Better watch it pal.

Cushy spring loaded saddle, complete with 'S' for Schwinn.

Ian speed tests Lil' Miss across green lawn. Perhaps Indie Series race bike? I think not.

Vintage Schwinn catalog shot, or Brady Bunch outtake? You be the judge. Amy poses on Lil' Miss - kickstands are handy for that.

Bike is actually a bit big for Amy - and heavy - man, it's a tank. I think the old school Schwinn frames were constructed from lead pipe. Then add in the steel rims, handlebar, stem, rims, crank - basically everything. Steel is real, baby.

I had similar bikes in my childhood, many used as pseudo BMX bikes. Cracked frames, bent rims and broken bones. Well, the broken bones for my friends. I somehow survived unscathed.

This Lil' Miss, will probably just serve as the cul-de-sac cruiser for Amy, which for it was intended. I'll clean it up, get some clean grease in the bearings, and get a kick out of seeing kids ride it once again.

A just reward for a 40+ year old bike that's been sleeping in a cardboard box for 15 years.


  1. That is so incredibly awesome.

  2. That was a fantasic blog thought I was reading a preview of a movie. Love Mom and Dad

  3. good post, nice ride, steel is real, I've got a bike that used to belong to my Mom, a Montgomery Wards 3 speed, I'll have to get it out one of these days and take some photos.

  4. I still have that bike, from when I was your daughter's size. I am near Marty's....time to bring it in to be spiffed up!

  5. Great to hear from New Jersey! The bike currently sits in the garage and is occasionally ridden. Much better then sitting in a box.

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  7. I bought a bike of similar age ..Mine did not age as well as yours. I hope Amy remembers the bike and that you keep it in your family and pass it down