My first road bike was a 1973 Schwinn Varsity 10-speed and it has been hanging in my parents garage for the past 40 years. I brought it home today to hang in my garage for the next 40 or so years.
I remember the day I got it. My dad had worked overtime all summer and one day out of the blue he took my brother and me to the bike shop. We were floored when we found out he intended to buy us each a brand new bike! I knew he’d never had a new bike, heck, I don’t even know if he knew how to ride a bike but he wanted his kids to each have one. We wandered up and down the isles looking at the assortment of jelly bean colors and shiny chrome everywhere. In those days there was no such thing as a ‘bike fit’, you just got on the bike and if your feet touched the floor your bike fit. The biggest decision was choosing a color!
My brother chose a lemon yellow because he thought he’d look good on it and the girls would notice him. I don’t know if I’ve ever had a favorite color, I like them all, how I could chose just one? This was quite possibly the biggest decision I had ever made in my young life. And now with this spectrum of truly beautiful bicycles displayed before me I needed to decide. My dad’s favorite color was orange (once he had wanted to paint the front door of our house orange but my mom put her foot down and nixed that). I choose orange for my dad.
He loaded the bikes into the station wagon and drove toward home. When we were still a few miles from our neighborhood, he let us out to ride our bikes the rest of the way. I can still remember the first time I rode it – that sense of freedom, of riding just to see what was around the next corner, and the excitement of an open road – I still feel like that every time I’m on a bike.
It’s still in great shape and has all the original equipment – it’s like a museum piece:) I’m sure it weighs at least 30 pounds, is made of solid steel, has full pedals, leather saddle, chrome everything, and a kickstand! It’s incredible to look back and see how far bike technology has come compared to today’s carbon frames, disk brakes, quick shift, and clip pedals…