Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Vintage Bikes In The Parents' Garage

After floating through the interwebs for two years and reading various personal accounts on bike blogs, it seems a common incident, at least within the last couple decades, is for a person who newly discovers cycling as a hobby to unearth a reasonably well-preserved vintage relic from their parents' stash of forgotten belongings.

Well, I can assure you that this is most definitely not the case for me (not immediately, at least). My parents immigrated to the U.S. in the 1980s, leaving behind whatever could not be carried by hand or stuffed into a small luggage. In our case, it appears that rather than having vintage bicycles emerge from the garage, the advent of my cycling hobby has put a few in

Sunday, December 27, 2015


The past month has been a surprising whirlwind of activity regarding my stable of bikes. Despite having almost no time to do anything non-school or work related during the last semester, I managed to squeeze a surprising amount of thinking into the mere hours I had.

Surprise! Yes, this is the bike from my Mr. and Mrs. Schwinn post. Shortly after I overhauled his 1964 Racer 3-speed, my friend's dad found a green '72 Speedster with a larger frame that he liked even more. Pretty much a twin of mine, or at least what mine was originally. It was much nicer with a nice original seat and shiny chrome. Anyway, Mr. Schwinn told me that if by chance I ever decided that I wanted the red one, I could get first dibs. I pushed it off for months, thinking that it would be unwise for me to buy another bike. In the meantime, Mr. Schwinn did not find a buyer. 

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Ebay Finds of the Scorching Kind

Those who know me or have been following this blog for a while will be familiar with the fact that I am not only into bicycles and cars, but also collecting toy cars. I am not the type of collector who takes into account the future value of the car for resale or bragging rights: I simply grab what I like and what I can afford and that's that.

To give some background, Hot Wheels first started making toy cars in 1968. Seeing a potential market for 1:64 scale die cast toys that rolled as fast and looked as nice as their full-size counterparts and the lack of such a product in the height of the muscle car age, Mattel seized the opportunity, hired a few custom car fanatics and designers, and that was that. The original line included 16 cars, all of which had red-lined tires (hence the nickname "Redlines"), suspension made of "music wire" that prevented axle damage in the event of accidents, "frictionless" wheel bearings, and "Spectraflame" paint. Most models also included opening hoods, exposed engines, or removable parts. The goal was to extract the maximum "play value" from a toy car while still keeping retail price under a dollar. In the years immediately following, Hot Wheels also released "Sizzlers," which were electrically-powered 1:64 cars designed to propel themselves down sections of the already-famous orange track. Through the 1970s, Mattel gradually cut costs by removing the suspension and red tire lines, reducing the number of cars with opening or removable parts, and downgrading to regular enamel paint. While the novel features definitely set the cars apart in the beginning, there is no doubt that children and adults enjoy new Hot Wheels cars today just as much as they have been for almost the last 50 years.