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Whatever happened to the laid-back days of old?

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Whatever happened to the laid-back days of old?

Old 05-13-19, 07:15 PM
  #51  
eja_ bottecchia
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Originally Posted by PaulH View Post
This is how the world should look. Changuards, fenders, decent geometry. The absolute worst thing that befell cycling was becoming a sport.
Really?

Cycling has been a sport since nearly Day One.

The beauty of cycling is that there is something for everybody.
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Old 05-13-19, 07:21 PM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Thank you for that.
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Old 05-13-19, 07:26 PM
  #53  
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Bermuda shorts and Kingston Trio shirts notwithstanding, I don't remember many riders riding into their 70s and beyond like today. If it takes a little spandex to keep one moving, count me in. I'm riding exactly the same bike I rode back in the 60s, and I'm almost into my 70s. I didn't wear Bermuda shorts and Kingston Trio shirts on the bike then, and still don't. Graduated from wool kits to spandex and never looked back. Put the toe clips away (except for Eroica), and gone clipless, too. Some day these will be the good ol' days, to somebody.


This is how I remember those days, skinny me on the right.

Last edited by Slightspeed; 05-13-19 at 07:35 PM.
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Old 05-13-19, 08:26 PM
  #54  
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This will be something of a 'mosh-pit' of ideas but:

Probably started with the introduction of European-brand bicycles in the 1960s that were much lighter than the Schwinns that were so popular at that time, then the eco movement of the 1970s/1980s that emphasized bicycling as an alternative transportation method. Then the heavily televised 1984 Olympics (both mens and womens road races won by Americans), then the 7-11 team at the Tdf (televised bits of it, including on the nightly news, and the team included camera-comfortable gold medal skater Eric Hieden), then Greg Lemond winning a few TdFs, then Lance winning all those Tdfs on a bicycle sponsored by the USPS (I remember his image on posters in the local post offices). Also throw in the rise of MTBs starting in about the mid-1980s,

These days I'd say there's been a slightly gradual decline to a plateau of sorts, and all the bicycle companies are trying to figure out the next niche. A new American TdF champion would help, too. And an unscientific observation of mine is that far fewer kids ride bicycles to school or around the neighborhood; mom and dad think its just too dangerous so the kids get driven everywhere. There's also an emphasis and proliferation of youth organized sports (soccer, football, basketball, baseball/softball, lacrosse, etc); supposed to be good for developing 'team building skills'? or some crap like that?

Last edited by skidder; 05-13-19 at 08:29 PM.
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Old 05-14-19, 02:51 AM
  #55  
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Another article on the history of cycling ... racing. Not from the 1960 ... from the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Early History of the Racing Bicycle


Some of you might have just got into cycling, but cycling has been around a while.



Me personally ... I've been cycling since about 1971.
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Old 05-14-19, 03:17 AM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by skidder View Post
This will be something of a 'mosh-pit' of ideas but:

Probably started with the introduction of European-brand bicycles in the 1960s that were much lighter than the Schwinns that were so popular at that time, then the eco movement of the 1970s/1980s that emphasized bicycling as an alternative transportation method.

Then the heavily televised 1984 Olympics (both mens and womens road races won by Americans), then the 7-11 team at the Tdf (televised bits of it, including on the nightly news, and the team included camera-comfortable gold medal skater Eric Hieden), then Greg Lemond winning a few TdFs, then Lance winning all those Tdfs on a bicycle sponsored by the USPS (I remember his image on posters in the local post offices).

Also throw in the rise of MTBs starting in about the mid-1980s,

These days I'd say there's been a slightly gradual decline to a plateau of sorts, and all the bicycle companies are trying to figure out the next niche. A new American TdF champion would help, too. And an unscientific observation of mine is that far fewer kids ride bicycles to school or around the neighborhood; mom and dad think its just too dangerous so the kids get driven everywhere.

There's also an emphasis and proliferation of youth organized sports (soccer, football, basketball, baseball/softball, lacrosse, etc); supposed to be good for developing 'team building skills'? or some crap like that?
I posted to this thread, "How Many of You People Are Baby-Boomers?"
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
… Back in the 60’s in the Motor City, I had an “English Racer,’ and longed to tour at about age 14, but then joined the car culture. In Ann Arbor MI in the 70’s I really realized the utility of bicycles for commuting, and began touring on a five-speed Schwinn Suburban, but soon bought a Mercier as did my girlfriend, later my wife.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Actually though, as noted above that while I may have had a predilection to get involved in cycling, the boom was already in progress, and did not necessarily entice me to become one of the small percentage of those who bought bikes at the time to become a life-long cycling devotee.

Actually perhaps a stronger prompt might have been the Aerobics phenomenon (by Dr. Ken Cooper) which I recall preceded the cycling boom in 1968
Nice review of the Bicycle Boom of that era, and I think it ended with the development of mountain bikes thus fragmenting the cycling world into special interest groups.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
...I posted earlier on this thread: That cross-country trip was one one year after Bikecentennial started, I believe the forerunner of Adventure Cycling.

Being in college in the 1970s, I think I perceived of a Bike Boom as a distinctive phenomenon, as cardio excercise became more acceptable / desirable than in the 50’s; e.g.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
the Paul Dudley White bikepath named for Dwight Eisenhower's personal cardiologist and an early advocate of exercise for cardiac fitness
That Boom preceded the mountain bike fad of the1980’s.

And now I’Il politely ask you to get that MTB contraption off my lawn.
Kind of like the fragmentation of communications from the established three TV networks into what we have today. I can spend hours trying to decide what to watch, certainly not "laid back."

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 05-14-19 at 03:52 AM.
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Old 05-14-19, 05:12 AM
  #57  
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Yeah, I still cruise about, upright. I like to see the world. It's not a workout for me.

But I still enjoy the benefits of modern technology. Air suspension, hydraulic brakes, even regenerative energy return. But it's all for a bike that makes leisure riding more.. leisurable.

Some people like setting themselves goals. Getting that sub 4hr marathon time, whatever. For the roadie who's into cadence and distance time chasing, road bikes have naturally come a long way too. Better materials, better designs.

Mountain bikes now are literally for mountains, allowing riders to achieve things they couldn't on a '70s hack.

Whatever your flavour, bikes are better than ever. I guess that's why it's carbon this, grams that..
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Old 05-14-19, 05:22 AM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
What did Hinault ever do to you?
The 1985 Tour de France. Badger wasn't healthy enough to win and LeMond saved him. Hinault wasn't true to his word in '86, and really didn't help LeMond win. I guess that he's still a bit sore about that...
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Old 05-14-19, 05:26 AM
  #59  
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Well here's a couple of tattered, coffee stained souvenirs from the "laid-back days of old"... American Cycling magazine covers from 1966 and 1967. The publication evolved from a smaller format called American Cycling Newsletter, a small regional California journal. Had you kept your subscription to American Cycling you'd now be getting Bicycling magazine.


April 1966 ^


August 1967 ^


August 1967 index ^
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Old 05-14-19, 05:34 AM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
The 1985 Tour de France. Badger wasn't healthy enough to win and LeMond saved him. Hinault wasn't true to his word in '86, and really didn't help LeMond win. I guess that he's still a bit sore about that...
Paul Köechli lied! The team was supposed to work for whoever got the best results.

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Old 05-14-19, 07:07 AM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
A good reliable street bike that was nearly impossible to screw up, and heavier than just about any comparable bike. Among the non-racing types in those days, heaviness often denoted quality because it meant they were solidly built. Hard to believe now.

Schwinn was the brand you bought if you wanted it to last forever.
Originally Posted by Hiro11 View Post
"Quality" of these Chicago Schwinns is tough to define.

On one hand, the Varsity is likely one of the most durable bikes ever made. The electro-forging techniques used in the frame are both an amazing advance in mass production techniques and an engineering milestone. The resulting frame is (almost literally) bombproof while being extremely easy to manufacture by the truckload. The electro-forging process was so capital-intensive that no brand has tried anything similar since. The components Schwinn selected for the varsity were similarly practical, functional and tough. The bike was far more durable and reliable than similar offerings from other department store brands. If you see a bike as a mode of transport, a 70's Schwinn Varsity is tough to beat. You still see lots of them in daily use today. Let's see where a modern carbon wonder bike is in 40 years.

On the other hand, the Schwinn Varsity weighed 50 lbs, was not particularly stiff, handled atrociously, didn't shift very well, didn't brake very well, all of the parts were proprietary and in weird sizes, it wasn't comfortable for long rides etc. By any "performance" standard, the Varsity isn't great. Compared to a Campagnolo-equiped European racing bike of similar vintage, the Varsity is a dinosaur.

Of course, competing with (rare at the time in the US) European racing bikes wasn't the Varsity's intent at all. That comparison is meaningless. For its intended market: a durable bike you could use to get around, never maintain and leave out in the rain without issue, it was just about perfect.
Somewhat comparable to modern $200-$300 bikes, I do suppose, based on my prior experiences with some. I don't think modern bikes in the $500-$600 wouldn't be described as many of those!

M.
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Old 05-14-19, 07:58 AM
  #62  
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I was recently introduced to another cycling enthusiast in town because I am "in to cycling". After talking to this guy, I quickly realized he was REALLY into cycling and in a competitive sort of way that was almost obsession. Crit racing CAT 1&2, shaved legs, Strava KOM's. This will never be me. I just enjoy getting out away from things, in to nature, and getting in shape. I do use Strava, but mainly to see how my pace compares to past rides and to add up all of my miles. I enjoyed some mountain bike racing back in the '90's, but it was a very casual gathering compared to today.

I think there's room for the spandex-clad "performance" riders, and the casual weekenders. The more people who get out on bikes the better, and no one should be intimidated by the wannabe racers. Do what makes you happy, and don't get caught up in things that don't.
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Old 05-14-19, 08:32 AM
  #63  
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I was in DC last month for a fun weekend. I was surprised at how many different kinds of cyclist were out there. There were the tourist on share bikes. Utility cyclist on low end bikes. Commuters on high end and vintage bikes. Even the spandex crowd was out on the roads. Seemed like a full range of "laid back" to "serious" cyclist.
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Old 05-14-19, 10:16 AM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by HarborBandS View Post
I was recently introduced to another cycling enthusiast in town because I am "in to cycling". After talking to this guy, I quickly realized he was REALLY into cycling and in a competitive sort of way that was almost obsession. Crit racing CAT 1&2, shaved legs, Strava KOM's. This will never be me. I just enjoy getting out away from things, in to nature, and getting in shape. I do use Strava, but mainly to see how my pace compares to past rides and to add up all of my miles. I enjoyed some mountain bike racing back in the '90's, but it was a very casual gathering compared to today.

I think there's room for the spandex-clad "performance" riders, and the casual weekenders. The more people who get out on bikes the better, and no one should be intimidated by the wannabe racers. Do what makes you happy, and don't get caught up in things that don't.
I say this as a joke on myself, but there's a certain amount of truth to it: Normal people have no idea how much work it takes to be a mediocre bike racer. So, if your new friend races, especially as a Cat 1, he's likely putting in hundreds of miles a week and following a structured training plan. It's the minimum buy-in just to sit at the table, if you will.

But that doesn't mean that he doesn't enjoy getting into nature and riding his bike. Every racer I know, self included, just loves to ride bikes. All kinds of bikes, all kinds of places. And it's been my experience that the higher up the racing food-chain you go, the friendlier and more enthusiastic about riding they are.
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Old 05-14-19, 10:43 AM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
I say this as a joke on myself, but there's a certain amount of truth to it: Normal people have no idea how much work it takes to be a mediocre bike racer. So, if your new friend races, especially as a Cat 1, he's likely putting in hundreds of miles a week and following a structured training plan. It's the minimum buy-in just to sit at the table, if you will.

But that doesn't mean that he doesn't enjoy getting into nature and riding his bike. Every racer I know, self included, just loves to ride bikes. All kinds of bikes, all kinds of places. And it's been my experience that the higher up the racing food-chain you go, the friendlier and more enthusiastic about riding they are.
Exactly. Well said. As an old ex-racer, I still enjoy zipping up the spandex and zipping along the road. If the sun is out, wildflowers are blooming, birds are singing, and monster pickup trucks and SUVs give us a break, so much the better. It's all good, just get out and enjoy the ride.
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Old 05-14-19, 11:10 AM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
I say this as a joke on myself, but there's a certain amount of truth to it: Normal people have no idea how much work it takes to be a mediocre bike racer. So, if your new friend races, especially as a Cat 1, he's likely putting in hundreds of miles a week and following a structured training plan. It's the minimum buy-in just to sit at the table, if you will.

But that doesn't mean that he doesn't enjoy getting into nature and riding his bike. Every racer I know, self included, just loves to ride bikes. All kinds of bikes, all kinds of places. And it's been my experience that the higher up the racing food-chain you go, the friendlier and more enthusiastic about riding they are.
I was flattered that our mutual friend thought we could ride together, since he heard I was training for a Century (which is more than most people do, but not anywhere close to as demanding as a competitive racer). But yes, this guy was on a level I couldn't even touch. And even then, still not even close to the upper echelon of the sport. Even among "enthusiasts", there are huge variations within the sport of cycling. And then there are the hoards who just own bikes, commute a couple times a month, or ride with their kids from time to time. There's room for everyone.
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Old 05-14-19, 12:00 PM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by bikecrate View Post
I was in DC last month for a fun weekend. I was surprised at how many different kinds of cyclist were out there. There were the tourist on share bikes. Utility cyclist on low end bikes. Commuters on high end and vintage bikes. Even the spandex crowd was out on the roads. Seemed like a full range of "laid back" to "serious" cyclist.
Indeed; I was there at the beginning of April and took a scope around what people were riding. Lots of variety! Ultimately gave me the push to pick up cycling a bit again (and buy the folder I have now - lots of those locked up outside offices).

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Old 05-14-19, 04:30 PM
  #68  
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IMHO, the majority of riding is still done for recreational, practical and general fitness. Competitive riding gets a lot of the hype and publicity but when I look at what's actually happening in the streets, I rarely see new high-end bikes with people training on a competitive level. Most are commuters, college kids, and recreational/fitness riders on non-competition bikes. I see a lot of flat bars and plump tires out there.

Kudos to the elite riders for their accomplishments, but the biking masses aren't out to win anything, they just like to ride.
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Old 05-14-19, 05:45 PM
  #69  
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Wait. No country for old bicyclists?

I think not good sir!
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Old 05-14-19, 07:50 PM
  #70  
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
I don't know.




The photos in the first post show one token older guy and one token female, riding a bike in a dress. The rest are young white guys who look like they may have just graduated from the Hitler youth. I'm sure there wasn't a single black guy, Asian or Latino in America in the 60's.

It's all very disturbing, actually.

Fast forward to 2019. Seems pretty chill.

LOL..............I totally agree. American Schwinn probably went out of business back then because of their weird uptight image. Nobody likes elite bike riding snobs wearing dumbass tennis shorts.
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Old 05-14-19, 08:26 PM
  #71  
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Hondo, Texas has the most chilled out riders. Whoever is riding a bike around town has no other choice Because they got too many DUIs and got their driver license revoked. I’m the only serious rider here it can get lonely out on the back roads I see no one riding a bike. But that is ok I kind of like it like that.
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Old 05-14-19, 08:36 PM
  #72  
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This was my neighbor a few weeks ago.

Y'all come down.

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Old 05-15-19, 01:42 AM
  #73  
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Post that Schwinn catalog on the C&V subforum, and they will hoot and holler with glee -- almost as much as when one of their posters restores a rusty hi-ten frame that he pulled out of a dumpster.
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Old 05-15-19, 05:56 AM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by ramzilla View Post
LOL..............I totally agree. American Schwinn probably went out of business back then because of their weird uptight image. Nobody likes elite bike riding snobs wearing dumbass tennis shorts.
I don't have a problem with the people in the ad.

My problem is with advertisers who exploit stereotypes and prejudices for profit and I find it disturbing that people look back at these things with nostalgia. Those ads don't represent real life for 99.9% of America, now or at any time.


-Tim-
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Old 05-15-19, 06:07 AM
  #75  
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
This was my neighbor a few weeks ago.

Y'all come down.

Might want to check applicable laws/ordinances. Many limit the number of riders to the number of seats the bike was designed to have.
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