Driving the old Continental


Second try …

I attempted without success to blog yesterday about media changes and what those mean for journalism education, but I failed somehow to save the blog entry and all my words were for naught. I’m sure I come back to that topic, but today I’m randomly wanting to write about bikes.

I rode my Continental to work today. It was an invigorating experience. Normally, I commute on a newer Trek, but some fat old guy got the back wheel all out of “true” and it has to be fixed before it’s ride-able again, so I broke my old bike out of mothballs this morning.

The 30-year-old Schwinn gives a different riding experience. It’s the difference between driving a Taurus (the Trek) and a Miata (the Schwinn).

To elaborate:

The Continental has 10 speeds to the Trek’s 15 (although I can’t use one of the Trek’s front gears, so it’s really just a 10 speed, too). The “hill climbing” gear, or granny gear, on the Schwinn is not as “granny” as the Trek, so when I get to Mount Mercy, riding the Trek is a lot easier.

But ho man—the ride there on the Schwinn. Yowza! Steppenwolf should have been playing the soundtrack. The narrow tires made for a much bumpier ride, but the slightly bigger wheels and slightly more aggressive 10th gear made for a fast ride. Fast for an oldie like me, anyway. I ran several 4-way stops because I wasn’t used to 20 mph on a bike anymore, and you can’t stop like you’re tooling along on a slow Trek.

My legs were much more worn out, too—did not realize I was pumping so much harder.

My usual commute is around 30 minutes, but I think I finished in just a little over 20 on the Schwinn. Took the trail home, which involves extraneous travel east and west—the trail route is almost an hour-long ride on the Trek, but was a 40 minute ride on the Continental.

I bought the Schwinn in 1974 and used it to commute to my first job at a Dairy Queen in Muscatine, Iowa. Now, 35 years later, I’m commuting on it to Mount Mercy.

Well. What a bike. It’s uncomfortable, a bit rusty and ugly, and man oh man, is it still fun to ride. “Born to beeee wiiiiiiild!”

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1 Comment

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One response to “Driving the old Continental

  1. Heh. Rock on, easy rider.

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