Saturday, September 7, 2013

My Bicycle "Bucket List" Part One

Hello and Welcome,
I think every bicycle enthusiast has a list of bikes he or she would like to own at some point before they leave this world. Probably not written down but filed away somewhere in the back his or her mind. If your list is anything like mine it has been periodically updated over the years. So I will start with a few bikes that have been on my "bucket list" for quite a while.

ABOVE: Antique replica "Bone Shaker 52" from
The penny farthing or high wheel bicycle. The penny farthing is not a bike I would necessarily want to ride much. I consider it more of a piece of art that I would put on display somewhere to admire it. I read somewhere long ago that the name "penny farthing" comes from the coins. The difference in the size of the front and rear wheels being on about the same scale as the difference in the size of a farthing and a penny.

Above: The Schwinn Orange Krate has probably been on my bicycle bucket list the longest. I have already owned a regular Schwinn Sting Ray that I received for my 11th birthday. I loved my candy blue Sting Ray and I thought it was the coolest bike on the planet at the time. That is until I saw the Orange Krate. It truly was love at first sight. I probably could have saved up to purchase one with my paper route earnings. But at that time Hockey was the most important thing I had going on. And I paid for all of my hockey equipment and "ice time" myself. There just was not enough money for both. I really should have found a way.....So it goes

ABOVE: The Raleigh Competition MK II DL 165. My brother George rode one of the original purple Raleigh Competitions back in the early 1970's. (not the MK II) I rode his a few times and was impressed by how it felt. The tires were the high pressure sew up type. And the Raleigh weighed nothing compared to my Schwinn. And it felt like a finely crafted machine when I rode it, a feeling I had never experienced riding before. It was the Raleigh that started my love affair with ten speed road racers. As much as I liked my bro's bike, I think I would like the MK II model DL 165 even better.

Above: The Schwinn Phantom considered by many to be the most beautiful of the American tank bikes. I must say I do agree. I do not think the tank bike ever got any better than the Schwinn Phantom. (custom builds excluded) I did not appreciate the beauty of this style bike when I was a boy. But back then most of the tank bikes I saw were just "old clunkers". I was after all part of the "Sting Ray generation". But with age comes wisdom (well some wisdom hopefully) and I can now appreciate the beauty of this extraordinary bicycle.

Above: From the Motobecane 1984 catalog, on the left a black and red Motobecane Super Mirage. I did actually own one of these for a short time. Unfortunately it had a smaller frame. I prefer a 57 to 58 cm frame but I have been known to go bigger on occasion. I think the red and black color combination was the best Motobecane ever offered. Just a really classy looking bike. I hope I get another shot at restoring one of these beauties one day.

Above: A red Specialized Langster fixed gear bike. I had a chance to purchase one of these new a few years back. It had been "marked down" as the fixed gear bikes were just not selling at my friend Ernie's store. I thought about it a little too long, when I called back to have them hold it for me it had already sold. I was not really determined enough to search out another bike on close out. But I have always regretted that I missed the boat on this one. I thought it was a beautiful bike then and I still do.

Above: A Gazelle commuter bike. This is a style bike I have more recently come to appreciate. Again maybe not a bike I would ride very much (I really love my Diamondback 29'er) but a wonderful blend of form and function. And the step through model has a really beautifully designed frame as well. It is the only full size step through frame bike I would like to own.
above: The Gazelle with step through frame. I can just picture my wife and I riding around town on these two classic beauties. Unfortunately my wife does not ride, ok maybe me and Jennifer Aniston. The lovely Jennifer once worked as a bicycle messenger. So it's not totally out of the realm of possibilities. ok yeah it is :)

Above: My vintage Raliegh Sprite (sold) in ivory with original paint and decals. I was lucky enough to own this beauty and unlucky enough to find one that was too tall for me to ride comfortably. I would love to own this bike again in my correct size.

Above: A Cervelo P3 Carbon racer. As much as a bike like this is way too much bike for me, I can not help being impressed by the style and the technology. These bikes are truly works of art, as well as examples of incredible engineering and technology. But in reality, me owning a bike like this would be silly and a huge waste of machinery. Maybe if I were 30 or 40 years younger it would be a wise choice. But that boat has sailed...

Above: Photo courtesy of
Ryan's 1970's Peugeot UO 8 . I would love to restore another vintage Peugeot road bike. That is providing everything threaded is salvageable. Finding old french thread components can be difficult and pricey. I do not specify a model that I would like to restore because you don't see these often around here. So I would have to take what I get or again spends lots of cash. And that ain't happening. You can read more about this restoration at
Well Done Ryan!
Above: Photo courtesy of GT and Performance Bike. The GT Wheels 4 Life Tour Commuter is one sweet bike. There are many things I like about this bike, so I`ll just name a few. The paint color is excellent (sort of an English racing green) The triple triangle frame is legendary for it`s durability. The disc brakes provide excellent braking. I like the look and functionality of the fenders. The gold anodized rims compliment the paint perfectly. And the old style toe clips fit in perfectly with this blend of old style and modern era technology. And the bar end shifters are very retro-cool. I love the touring bars as well. I am picturing this bike with a Brooks coil sprung touring saddle and a set of old style riser handlebars. Although that might require changing the shifters as well. In that case I would probably install Shimano SIS top mount thumb shifters.

Above: Photograph from the 1974 Schwinn catalog. I owned 4 or 5 unicycles in my life time but never a Chicago Schwinn Unicycle. The last time I rode a uni it did not go well. One of the pedal spindles was bent and it really threw me off. (not literally) My first uni was a Montgomery Wards and it actually performed really well. The others I really don't remember. And the one I have now (bent pedal spindle) is of lower quality than the others.

Above: A 1977 Schwinn Approved Volare. I would love to own one of the Schwinn Approved Lightweights with chrome lugs. I have recently learned that Schwinn had more than one model that sported the chrome lugs. I think I would prefer the Schwinn Approved World Voyageur with the bar cons. But there might be other models that also have the bar cons. I am by no means a "Schwinn expert" and do not claim to be. I just love to restore and recycle old bikes. And I am also a big fan of some of the new bikes as well.

Above: The Firestone 500 bicycle. My friend Mike had one of these when I was a kid, although it might have been his brother Ron's bike. I remember riding on the handlebars trying to keep my feet out of the spokes! It might have been purchased at Ned's Firestone in my hometown of RoyalOak Mi. The "space age" tank bikes were the last of their kind until they started building retro tank bikes latter on. They typically had the tapered tank with the dual headlights. Not unlike the Roadmaster "Star Rider" I restored a while back. This Firestone 500 is not all that remarkable, but it does bring back some fond childhood memories.

Above: A homemade tall bike. photo courtesy of desertnewsdotcom. The design of this homemade "tall bike" is different from the ones I remember seeing around Metro Detroit when I was but a wee lad. The bikes I remember were built on an inverted frame (upside down) and involved lots of welding. I think I like this design better. Why do I want one? I have no idea. It just looks like fun.

From a dialog I had with reader/follower Abner M on the Blog's Face Book page.
At one time I thought the high-wheel or penny farthing riders were showing off when they coasted down hill with their feet up and over the handlebars. It turns out, they do this for safety. If they strike an object that stops the front wheel, they are catapulted forward. With their legs up and over the bars they can at least hit the ground running. As compared to being pile driven head first into the pavement. After I heard that, the idea of owning one did not sound all that wonderful anymore. There is a reason the bicycle evolved

As this "Bicycle Bucket List" is constantly changing, I will at some point post a part two. Until next time...Please RIDE SAFELY and Remember to Always RESCUE, RESTORE & RECYCLE
Cheers, Hugh


  1. Thanks Dan.
    I like your new hair.

  2. Great list Hugh and thanks for the plug and the kind words. Don't let the Peugeot's scare you, there are reasonable remedies for most french thread/size issues but I agree a complete one with re-useable parts is best. I also would love a high end Raleigh but what I really want is a red and black Motobecane mid to high end road bike that fits, that would be sweet.

    1. Hey Ryan,
      You are very welcome. Scare me? huh! Nothing scares me except my "Mother in law" of course......ltms. I agree, there is always a solution. Like when I sanded down the GB stem to fit my Motobecane "Special Sports". But given a choice, I would rather clean-up the original parts. Well... unless they are "suspect" like the "Stem of Death" that was original equipment on the 72 Motobecane Special Sports.
      Good hearing from you my friend. I hope all is well with you and yours. Hey, the photograph of you and your daughter Kayaking at sunset is awesome! A great Dad moment for sure. Cheers,Hugh

  3. Why the "Competition" rather than the "Professional?"

    1. Hey Steve,
      Purely sentimental, one of my brothers rode a Competition.
      Also it was the first "better quality" road bike I ever rode, the experience really stuck with me. Not to say I would walk away from a professional if I found one. I would certainly be ecstatic if I ran across one at one of my usual hunting spots.
      Cheers, Hugh

  4. I didn't know there was a GT Tourer. I've been admiring GTs Mountain bike frames for years. There is something captivating about that little triangle near the seat tube...with upright bars, I see this bike as a swanky commuter.

    1. Hey Annie,
      I do not recall seeing a GT road bike before this one. Although it is hard to believe GT ignored this segment of the market. Although I have seen a few GT hybrids or comfort bikes. Could this be GT's first real touring bike? I`ll have to check into that.
      I too am a big fan of the triple triangle frame. The t.t. design been described as indestructible.
      Cheers, Hugh

    2. After a quick image search it appears GT does indeed build road bikes, including carbon fiber racers. I guess "at least around here" they are better know for the t.t. frame mountain bikes.

  5. Hugh, You and Jennifer Aniston rolling down the road on his and her Gazelle's. I can totally see it!!
    I have a few bucket list bikes, not that I really need them but it would be cool to walk into your garage in the morning and remark, "ok, which bike today?"
    I also would like a top end 70's era Raliegh, hell even a run of the mill Raliegh. What was the model that was positioned above the Grand Prix?
    I have this romantic vision of a Co-Motion tandem. Alas, my wife also does not you think Jennifer would try that out with me after she is finished riding with you???
    Fun post!

    1. Hey Jim,
      ltms...You do not pass a woman around like a bowl of chip dip! Especially one as lovely as Jennifer Aniston.
      :) I am glad you enjoyed the post.
      Cheers, Hugh

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