Florida Challenge Triathlon - 56 Mile Bike

This is a photo of me riding my trusty old Red 1989 Schwinn LeTour. I have had this bike for a long time. If I had bought it, it would have been about $325 back in 1989. As it is, it was given to me. (OK, I actually borrowed it from my older brother, who never asked for it back)

The guys I ride with like to tease me about when I am getting a new bike. My trusty Schwinn weighs 27 pounds (fully loaded with spare tube, tools, etc). And to be honest, I have looked at a lot of bikes, I just haven't found one that fits me without costing more than my Jeep did! So every now and again when I mention a new bike while out on a ride, I get the usual comments like "Oh, is Richard talking about a new bike again?". Ah, it's always nice to be appreciated by those around you. But they have yet to drop me on a training ride, so I guess the bike must have something going for it. :-)

The problem is, my old Schwinn still works fine. I have been pretty much exclusively riding some model of a Schwinn since I got a Schwinn Typoon for my tenth birthday. My LeTour is solid, big enough for a 6'-5", 210# guy like me, and has a comfortable steel frame to make the miles easier. And the one other truth is that it goes fast because I make it go fast. It's not the bike, it's the engine. But you never know, one of these years I just may break down and buy a new bike. Of course if I were to just get some new wheels and tires for the Schwinn...

Update: On June 4, 2002 I managed to break the original rear wheel of my trusty old Schwinn. While this would seem to be a pretty simple item to fix, I eventually ended up with a lot more than just a new wheel. It didn't make sense to spend $100 to get the rear wheel fixed, when it was an older style 6 speed wheel that still took 27" tires. Instead it made a lot more sense to just break down and buy a brand new high quality pair of 700C wheels (Mavic Open Pro rims on Shimano Ultegra hubs) for $200, plus another $125 for tires (700x25 Continental Grand Prix 3000 4 Season) and tubes. (I would have had to buy new tires regardless of what wheels I used, so this doesn't really count)

The only other problem then was that the old 6 speed wheel required a different chain and rear derailleur than the brand new 9 speed wheel required. So I ended up buying about $150 worth of brand new Shimano Ultegra derailleurs (Although technically I didn't have to replace the front derailleur, I felt that doing the entire drive train made more sense than trying to go cheap and having mix and match parts) along with Shimano DuraAce (downtube) shifters and a DuraAce chain. (New shift cables came with the shifters) To round it off I added some new cork handlebar tape and a thorough cleaning to make it look it's best.

So my "new" trusty Red Schwinn now lives on quite well with some new parts. Some day if I ever were to buy a spiffy new titanium frame, I could reuse all of the parts I bought for the Schwinn. Of course in the meantime I get the quiet smooth shifting of very high quality parts to make all of my training rides go so much easier until we get our Cannondale Cannondale R-700 USA Edition team bikes in August of 2002. Hmmm, so maybe now all the Schwinn needs is just a good bead blasting and a new killer paint job???

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