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The Bike  

Rickdorf 63M
64 posts
6/24/2021 4:15 pm
The Bike

Long, long ago, when I was in the Army, stationed in an armored cav unit just fifteen miles or so from the East German border (during the Cold War), I decided that I deserved a fine bicycle, preferably a Schwinn from Bob's Schwinn Cyclery in my home town of Fort Walton Beach, Florida, so I sent Bob a letter with a certified check for the entire amount of around $300, an entire month's for a PFC back in 1978. He specially ordered a Schwinn Superior tenspeed sports-touring bike, glossy black, with chromed fork tips, quick release wheels (a first for me), downtube shifters, centerpull brakes, leather saddle, and quill pedals equipped with toeclips.

Bob was a good guy, so he stored the bike in his shop's back room for me until I send home on leave and picked it up.

It was love at first sight, and I named the bike Wraith, then, having suffered a broken heart courtesy of Holly Lundstrom, a beautiful red-haired girl I had a crush on, I headed east on US98 to try outriding my sorrow. Ended up making a 150 mile loop in just under ten hours, with a decent load, my longest daily bike ride ever (it stands to this day as my personal best).

Not trusting my mother to store the bike (sad, but I had more than adequate reasons for this at the time), I had Bob keep Wraith, now also equipped with a genuine Blackburn alloy rear rack, until I PCS (Permanent Change of Station) from Germany in December of 1979, boxed up and ready for shipment to my next post.

This turned out to be Fort Riley, in north-central Kansas, so, forsaking grass and booze almost entirely, I focused on riding Wraith long distances (including an 850 mile tour of southwest Kansas/Oklahoma panhandle).

This was my form of escape from the stupidities of military life at the time.

On a visit to a friend in the small town of Wakefield (800 people, 300 of which were Army), I was introduced to Patty Keith, a co-worker of his new wife. We fell in love and were married in December of 1980, seven months before I got out of the Army.

To make a long and bitter story short, I was forced to sell Wraith in Tacoma, Washington for the price of McDonalds happy meals, and a weeks rent in a cheap hotel (the Merkle) in downtown when my brother in law kicked us out of his apartment on suspicion of theft from my oldest sister Pam. . . .

So, for decades I searched for a 1976 Schwinn Superior that actually fit me. A year or so ago, I located a basket-case, and begged my current wife for the funds to purchase it, which I named Shado. Shado now sits, in the process of being restored for eventual sale because, despite being assured by the former owner that it would fit, the frame turned out to be several inches too large for me.

Anyway, I have been working on fixing my credit, and about months ago or thereabouts, PayPal extended credit up $2200, so I immediately searched eBay for a black Superior that DID fit me, and, much my eternal delight, DID find one I could afford using the credit line. It arrived one<b> sunny </font></b>day this past March, and I immediately replaced the standard pedals with larger ones for my wide feet, a Brooks B-17 hand made English saddle, then added a small seatbag, handlebar bag, heavy duty lock, and a cycle computer.

This bike was named Spooky, after a famous gunship aircraft (AC--47) of the Vietnam War.

Spooky is now sitting in a place of high honor, just begging have her tires aired pressure, seat and handlebars adjust, and then RIDDEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Unfortunately, it's been several since I've ridden more than around the block, so I'm quite unsteady, thus have used excuse after excuse NOT enjoy this Way Cool (she's GORGEOUS!) 46-year classic bicycle the way she's absolutely begging do.

Well, those excuses have worn thin, and weather permitting, I have SWORN FINALLY install the bike carrier on one of our cars, load up Spooky, then drive a very short distance a local bike trailhead and RIDE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I can't wait. She's going be the COOLEST bike EVER grace the Cape Cod Rail Trail!


Life goes on.

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