12 February 2013

A Rescued Bike

Today my far-flung adventures (ha, ha) took me through downtown Brooklyn and DUMBO.  They included a stop at Recycle-A-Bicycle, where I donated a rack I wasn't using after I decided that whatever I'd get for it wasn't worth the effort of putting it on Craig's List or eBay.

While at RAB, a seemingly-friendly woman named Holly brought in this specimen:

It's a Schwinn Varsity from, I believe, 1967. (Check out the Paramount prices!)  At least, that's what the "sky blue" paint and white panel on the seat tube seem to indicate.  Also, it has shift levers on the stem, and 1967 is the first year Varsities came with such a configuration.  The frame is really the same as the one on my Collegiate, except that it's built for 27 inch instead of 26 inch wheels.

Holly said she found it in the trash by the curbside.  That's not surprising, given the condition of the paint.  She was able to ride the bike from her neighborhood to RAB but, she said, she had no idea of whether the bike is salvageable.  

The handlebar was badly bent, which she noticed.  However, my quick glance at the bike could find nothing else that couldn't be fixed.  The wheels spun:  If I were to keep the bike for myself, I'd probably clean and re-grease the hubs.  The tires will probably, and the tubes will almost certainly, need replacing.  But the front wheel doesn't need more than a touch-up truing.  The rear seemed to need a bit more work, but looked usable.

If nothing else, the bike will make a useful local errand or short-commute vehicle.  Some tanks are lighter than it; I might actually classify it as an "ironclad" warship.  (If a Civil War historian takes it, he or she should call it "The Monitor".)  But it's lasted more than four decades; with proper maintenance, it might last that much longer.

When folks like Holly bring in bikes like that, I'm really glad that programs like Recycle-A-Bicycle exist.  After all, seeing a bike like this one turned into someone's coffee crate or bagel bomber is better than seeing it end up in a landfill.

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