Looks like I can check one thing off my 2009 To-Do List, as I am now the proud owner of a bike that's older than me thanks to Peoria Pal Steve K.
Part one: The box. I kind of scampered around this monolith like a monkey from Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. Of course, I normally act like a hairy primate (hey, I yam what I yam), so this wasn't terribly unusual.
Luckily, this particular primate can use rudimentary tools. I kept to the theme and cued up Also Sprach Zarathustra on the stereo, struggling mightily during the tympani player's moment of glory (ever try opening a box sealed by an engineer?), and finally raising the mummified frame in triumph just as the signature power chords came crashing down.
Did I mention that Pal Steve is an engineer? This thing would have survived a mission to the moon with nary a scratch. For my younger readers, that substance wrapped around the frame is called "newspaper." It's where news came from before The Daily Show. Imagine a cross between the internet and toilet paper, and you sort of have the idea.
Happy, happy monkey. That's a remarkably well-preserved (considering its age) 1971 Raleigh International frame in the foreground: Reynolds 531 tubes, Nervex lugs, long horizontal Campy dropouts, and scads of shiny chrome. Fork's not shown, but it too has a nifty chrome crown, 531 blades, and chromed tips that are raked out to next week. (In the background is a not-so-well-preserved lug made in 1972.)
In keeping with the British theme, Pal Steve also included a stack of Cycling Plus magazines that he'd finished. For my American readers, Cycling Plus is a glossy color magazine that's actually about bicycles -- unlike our own Bicycling, which uses tiny chunks of advertiser-stroking copy as a binding agent to hold together all the full-page SUV ads.
Okay, you got me. This is just another gratuitous shot of the frame, this time clutched by a headless oaf. I'm only including it in the hopes that someone will recognize my 1999 Smicksburg (PA) Century t-shirt and congratulate me on completing that particular wheeled death march without vomiting (much). Shout out to the former Laurel Highlands Schwinn team from Latrobe, the cycling scourges of western Pennsylvania! Bill, Chadolini, Hutch and Tinky, how are yunz doing?
I'm going to be on a little riding sabbatical for the next couple weeks, but believe me, I'll be plotting the build of this retro beauty while I'm out of the saddle. It will probably suck up plenty of blog bandwidth as it comes together, too. I have some ideas about how I'd like to set it up, but if you want to play along with me and offer suggestions, I'm all ears.