I thought I’d share some pics of my “new” bicycle. This is a Craigslist purchase I picked up over the summer – a 1980 Schwinn World Tourist five-speed. I wanted something I could have fun setting up as my ideal commuter/carrier/city bike without spending a fortune, and I’m quite happy with how it turned out.
I haven’t found much info on this bike, but it was evidently intended as a successor to the ubiquitous and indestructible Suburban after Schwinn began moving production to Taiwan. Given that it’s about to turn 32 years old, I’d say it’s proving every bit as solid as its predecessor.
It’s an absolute joy to ride. The bike itself is entirely stock: Giant-built lugged frame (mine is 23.5″), a mix of Shimano/Sugino components, 27″ wheels, fenders, chainguard, sprung saddle, tourist bars. It weighs in at a pretty reasonable 33lbs. It’s an incredibly comfy ride, and surprisingly fast.
I added Velo Orange racks front and rear. Though the geometry is not low-trail, I was encouraged by articles here and elsewhere to try a front porteur rack anyway, and I’m very glad I did. Initially, I thought I’d use it as a secondary rack on those occasions when I need to carry a little extra to/from work, for errands or shopping, etc. (and I do). But even when traveling light, being able to throw a regular old backpack or messenger bag on the front and strap it down is incredibly convienient. It hasn’t seen really heavy-duty loads yet, but thus far I haven’t experienced any issues with handling. Naturally, having the front rack was the perfect excuse for a Pletscher two-legged kickstand, and I added the wheel stabilizer for good measure.
Planet Bike flasher in the rear, and a USB CygoLite in the front – via the Gino Light Mount, which accepts the handlebar clamp (I have to mount the CygoLite upside-down, but the beam is uniform, so I don’t think it matters much). The bag is a Minnehaha Utility Pannier, which has D-rings for a shoulder strap, and is generally non-descript enough to be mistaken for an ordinary canvas messenger bag.
The tires are Michelin World Tour gumwalls, which – although labeled/spec’d as 27″x1 1/4″ – are considerably beefier than any other tire of this size. Anyone riding an older road bike with 27″ rims who’d like a slightly wider, more cushy tire would do well to give these a try. (Just be prepared to spend an extra few minutes wrestling them onto your rims.) They hold up well over city streets, have a classic look, and are quite inexpensive.
Speaking of which, after tallying up every dollar spent here, I’ve arrived at a grand total of $405.00 (excluding the front headlight and the bag – which I already had – but including absolutely everything else, from the bike itself down to the straps on the racks). In other words, over a single summer/fall of bike commuting whenever possible, the project has essentially paid itself off with respect to the cost of car/bus/train alternatives.