Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Gone with the Schwinn

Last year, I had to let go of a body board that I had enjoyed since middle school. This morning, I had to retire my mountain bike.

I've had this Schwinn Frontier since 1991. It got me from my house to seventh and eighth grade every single day without any issue. When I was struck by a slow-moving small truck while going through a crosswalk, there was no significant damage to the bike or me (aside from a sprained ankle and the chance to tell a story that starts with, "Did I ever tell you about when I was hit by a truck?") When some kids up the street thought it would be funny to chase after me a few times (including the day I was hit by the truck), it got me out of harm's way.

After middle school, the bike sat in my parents' garage until last year. My parents were kind enough to get new grips, seat, and tires. I enjoyed the hell out of riding that sucker, but I knew it couldn't last for too much longer. The brakes were failing, rust was here and there, and the front tire kept losing air.

During the past 19 months, I took this out on average of three days a week and cycled 10-15 miles a week. It survived two 15-mile trips between my house and White Rock Lake, as well as a handful of trips just around the lake.

This is the epitome of something serving me well. But when I found a 45-degree-angle tear in the base of the handlebars this morning, I knew the cost of repairs (coupled with new brakes and a new tire) would be as much as buying a brand new bike.

So I bought this Huffy . . .

. . . for $90 at Academy.

While I'm fully prepared for an onslaught of criticism from my hardcore biking friends, I have to point out how I am not a hardcore bike fiend. Doing either 15 miles in one week or 15 miles in one morning is enough for me. And I sure as hell don't have $500-$1,000 to drop on a bicycle. I'll leave that for the 80-miles-a-week folks.

I gave the Huffy a spin once I got home, and I have to admit, it was like taking a walk in a new pair of shoes. There's some kinks to work out with the feel of the pedals and the various speeds, but at least the brakes work, there's no rust, and the tires are incredibly durable. I'm happy.

I shall give this new bike a full spin tomorrow morning, hoping I won't have to replace another bike for another 21 years. It was a good ride with the Schwinn, inspiring me to keep going and enjoying the art of biking.

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