Vintage Bicycles Part 5
By Scott Strenzel, aka Scooter
Hey, with this vintage bicycle thing going on, all we gotta do is open the 3′ service door to get our old pedal bike into Scooter’s Garage to check the air in the tires and tighten that loose left hand mirror. No need to run the big door up and down, which always seems to make Harv nervous. Let’s get on with this groovy bike thing.
Next up is the most popular style of vintage bicycle there is in the hobby. The balloon tire bicycles. These can be anywhere from before WW II, to the early 1960’s. As with old cars, the most popular seem to be the 50’s and 60’s models. These things can be very sedate and plain. However, these bare bones models can be dolled up to garner all the thumbs up’s you’ll be able to wave back at. But if you can get into this with the typical gung ho Scooter attitude? Find! Buy! And cruise on a loaded up one! Just figure the amount of work, money and time you can or want to spend getting ready to go cruising. Then go green! No OPEC fuels and you can shed some calories in process! Besides, if you and your offspring or buddy get into a drag race, you’ll never get a ticket.
A word here on typical prices at all levels of models. Boys bikes are typically more money than girls models. This just might be the right time to step back and do ladies first! Now, if you are not a female doing this bike thing, it would still be a good idea to read on. Because some of the info will cross over to the men’s models we’ll cover later. If you want the better half and/or your daughter to ride in style, there are some very unique accessories. A ladies’ model can be as loaded up as any boy’s bike. Plus, they tend to be in better shape as the same boy’s model. Gee, does that mean boys tend to tear up their toys more than girls? Wow, who knew? Pedaling on. If you can find a skirt shield, grab it or seriously consider that bike if it’s in the condition of the level of work (or lack thereof) that you wish to partake in. I’ve even made an offer ($30) on a junk bike just to get the shield. Skirt shields are made of approximately ½” wide strips of chromed steel.
They bolt on the rear fender or frame bar at the top front 1/4 of the rear wheel. With this accessory, back in the day, your skirt wouldn’t get wrapped up in the rear spokes. Plus, it looks cool, even if you never ride in a dress. If you want to paint a ladies bike, pink was big back then, yellow works too. Light or baby blue was hot, too. If you need to or want to, these things can be rattle canned to show condition, but don’t tell any one deep into the hobby.
You can buy brand new white or in some cases black, (more for boys bikes) front and rear fender mud flaps. And dual square or round chrome mirrors with reflectors on the front are a must. The mud flaps can be anything from mild to wild. I’m likin’ wild! Either buy them with the stuff I’m about to mention, or you can go out, buy the stuff and install them easily yourself. This is an ideal job for a young child to be able to design and do his part of the dad/mom and child bike thing.
Mud flaps are screaming for red, blue, green, or amber screw-in reflectors and screw-in chrome bullets. Be sure to go to a boat supply place like West Marine or a Home Depot type store and use stainless bolts and nuts to fasten the flaps onto the bottom of the fenders.
Each to his own on this installation. Some like to use the bolts, nuts, and washers in a way that the flap can swivel a little without scraping the paint off the fender. Others bolt the flap on solid so it never moves. Ladies’ bikes like a different sounding or different type of horn, if they don’t already have one inside the tank. I’ll cover the types of horns in the boy’s/man’s models next time. Streamers tend to be made up of what we used to call “girl” colors (yep, in the days before political correctness) that match the bikes color. The same goes for the new handle bar rubber grips that everyone should buy for that exciting vintage cruiser bike.
You will find at Google, online, or in books. There are many suppliers of every accessory there is for any old bike. Just go find what gets it done for you and those you wanna’ go pedaling with. Just picture this. You, the wife, the two rug rats cruisin’ up to the local cruise night on these attention getting bikes. I’d bet you’ll get as much attention as that numbers matching 1966 Corvette Coupe (no nasty letters, please…I owned and loved a Nassau blue one myself).
Well, Harv is itching to chase me on my old blue and cream Monarch. So, the door is locked and the garage is officially shut down for now.
Originally posted on Friday, June 24th, 2011 at 1:23 pm
Category: Auto Round-Up News