05 September 2010

Remembrance of Bikes Past

Funny how, after getting a new bike, I'm having a remembrance of bikes past.  Not that the new bike makes me wish for the old ones.  Rather, I think it has to do with the fact that Helene is my first new bike (and the second bike I've bought) since my surgery.  

Perhaps one day I'll sit down and list, and possibly write remembrances of, other bikes I've owned and ridden. 

While searching for something else on the internet, I came across this photo in ratrodbikes .  

My very first bike (that I can recall, anyway) was the diamond-frame version of this bike:  a Royce Union three-speed.  

The bike was my grandfather's last Christmas gift to me.  I was seven years old, if I recall correctly, and it would be another three years before I could ride the bike!  Being the eldest sibling, and growing up in a time when adults (including my parents) rarely, if ever, rode bicycles, I had no worries about my treasure becoming a hand-me-down.  

I rode the Royce-Union until I got my first ten-speed at age thirteen:  a department-store Murray that I managed to wreck within a year.  Then, with money I saved from delivering newspapers, I bought a Schwinn Continental for the princely sum of 105 dollars, including tax.  The shop in which I bought that Schwinn also sold Peugeots, including a PX 10 for 250 dollars.  Then, I thought it utter decadence to spend that much on a bike.  Three years later, I would pay 350 dollars for the very same bike--used!  

I hope that one day soon,  I will list all of the bicycles I've had--or, at least, the ones I recall.  Until then, consider this the "down payment."  In a sense, that's what my Royce Union three-speed was.


  1. How bizarre! As I clicked the link to this blog, I was thinking to myself "I wonder what Justine has to say today. There is so much remembrance of the past along with the present observations, it's as if she's a sort of (less windy) Proust with a bicycle..."

    And there you go.

    I will see if I can find a good Madeleine recipe to share.

    Beautiful little three speed, by the way. There are some interesting differences between makers that I'm just now learning.

    Happy Labor Day.

    Corey K

  2. I would love a post listing (and analysing!) all the bicycles you've owned. But for now, thanks for the downpayment!

  3. Corey: Thanks for the compliments and your offer. I have yet to make Madeleines, though I'd like to.

    When I was in Toulouse (where I began and ended a cycling trip I took through the Pyrenees from France into Spain and back), I visited a cafe that was supposed to be the one Proust frequented and that served "authentic" Madeleines. Whatever they were, they were delectable!

    Velouria: I'm wondering whether I could or should analyse them all in one post: I think I've had about 50 bicycles in my life! Also, I may not undertake such a thing until the weather turns bad.