Schwinn Varsity Party Bike

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Ulu

Stinky Old Fish
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When I was going to college in the Rocky Mountains there was an awful lot of snow and I didn’t get to do much bicycle riding.

It was a school where people went if they liked to ski.

I sold my bicycle then, and I did not own another one for 14 years. I bought a used Schwinn Varsity and fixed it up, but I gave it to my son-in-law right away. I probably only put 20 miles on that bicycle.

So really, until this year, I haven’t been a cyclist of the type that has pedals for 50 years.

It’s amazing that the world has changed so much and bicycles have changed comparatively little, until the age of carbon fiber.
 
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Okay, all this “party bike“ talk happening so I had to chime in about what kids in SoCal in the 80s referred to as a party bike. (None of this is to say that I don’t love yours- been looking for the right clean met. green Schwinn for years to no avail).

So you know those years where your starting to venture out in the world- parties, HS sports ball, parks, whatever, and you’re too old to ride your BMX bike, but still a year or two from getting your license- and maybe traveling a little too far for a skateboard? Our solution to fill the gap was a party bike. Basically, something that cost no money and was personalized with supplies from mom/dad/grandma/uncle Bob’s garage. These bikes were almost exclusively 60s and 70s cruisers and lightweights/townies (we called them granny bikes). And while no one I knew ever outright stole anything, all were either found, given away by neighbors, 5 bucks at the garage sale, or maybe even borrowed from the side of a relative‘s house.

From there, everything that could be stripped off - was! leftover BMX grips were usually added (strandie style), then whatever spray paint that could be smuggled out of parents’ garages was used for personalization and easy identification (Spray bombed- no disassembly) The goal, I think, in hindsight, 35 years later, was to have something that you didn’t really care about losing, yet was still cool. Or if you made it ugly enough no one else would steal it- I’m not sure. Mine was a Huffy or Murray ( cruiser, blue, 70s, def not a Schwinn) that I painted white and gold with black polka dots. I recall a lot of Eddie Van Halen attempts and a lot of florescent safety paint! For a while, it seemed like these bikes were everywhere!

So sorry to hijack, I just wanted to share that AND would love to know if anyone else ever did anything similar. I know all of this would be lost on kids today- they’d just ask why we didn’t rent a scooter on the corner or call an Uber!
HA! This is an AWESOME story! I love it!!! Thank you so much For your insight here! I actually now feel like i have incorrectly named my thread and bike!!!!

when I was growing up we had a similar thing…. we called it a moped!!!! Age 14 you could get your license -So you had wheels and an engine (1 cylinder!) for 2 years ! Lol

the dude on the bongo tandem on my first SBP ride sounded like it was pretty close to what you guys were doing.

thanks so much for your story! Hijack anytime!

if you have any old pics, examples or have a friend that has a TRUE party bike, I’d LOVE to see it. -actually sounds a lot like a cafe racer, and if I could ever pull my self away from bikes, I have one of those sitting to build too!

do good!
 
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When I was going to college in the Rocky Mountains there was an awful lot of snow and I didn’t get to do much bicycle riding.

It was a school where people went if they liked to ski.

I sold my bicycle then, and I did not own another one for 14 years. I bought a used Schwinn Varsity and fixed it up, but I gave it to my son-in-law right away. I probably only put 20 miles on that bicycle.

So really, until this year, I haven’t been a cyclist of the type that has pedals for 50 years.

It’s amazing that the world has changed so much and bicycles have changed comparatively little, until the age of carbon fiber.
great story! I had a similar gap: i basically went 20 years without touching a bike…. In year 21, I was in a professionally sanctioned bike race on a bike I built by hand. Long story but I’ve been working on or riding a bike the following 18 years!

I’m glad you’re back on 2 wheels! Have fun and stay safe.
 
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Here we go; finally moved my bike stand from the basement to the yard!!!
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So….. for all my west coast brethren…..

I’m an east-coaster!!!!! And this red was not flowing too well with my green!!!!

I tried to get this DANG west coast tag off my bike, but I wanted to save it and give it to someone who liked ‘em or collected them.

Unfortunately, getting the thing off was going to destroy the tag…. So I guess I’m stuck with it on there!
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Stripped. Well…. Mostly stripped.

Honestly, I wanted to pull off the crank: much like the seat post and the handlebar stem, this thing was greased and tightened to perfection and literally spun like a new road bike.

I’ll clean it again, but I’m not taking it out and re-greasing as the functionality is literally perfect

-I also got the tires and tubes off the wheels. I’m going to clean the chrome again as well, then put the new rubber back on.
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So: early morning bike party ride!

-this was a Syracuse Classic Bikes club ride: “summer solstice sunrise ride”

You guessed it!!!! We hit the bricks @ 5:24 AM!!!!!

Sort of a lean crowd due to the early morning.

definitely some cool bikes. If you look close, there’s a pink Peugeot BMX bike in there…. Never seen one of those before !
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I took the yella Ross: we met about 1/2 through my regular ride route, so I just rode to the meeting spot. It was dark when I left at 4:45, so I threw on a headlight and taillight.

-the headlight is actually going onto the varsity somewhere!
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… and of course, 500 bike Bruce showed up on a u-haul bike, which I guess is pretty rare.
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Good morning Jude!
@Couch tater had one of those u haulers if memory serves me correctly. That Peugeot is a freestyler, used for a sort of flat land stunt riding. All the doohickeys and platforms are used to do the tricks.
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Good morning! Sweet! I have never seen a 20” Peugeot in any way shape or form. I’ve really only seen that brand as a road bike. -2 Guys there said the 20” Peugeot was pretty common. Had no idea!
 
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The little jive on your rear brake cable is a cable housing keeper, usually found on the front of a bike where cables cross. It keeps things neat and also reduces housing rub and the wear that goes with that phenomenon.

Early morning party bike rides may wish to start at 0420.
 
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The little jive on your rear brake cable is a cable housing keeper, usually found on the front of a bike where cables cross. It keeps things neat and also reduces housing rub and the wear that goes with that phenomenon.

Early morning party bike rides may wish to start at 0420.
I thought it may have been some sort of cable router deal, but there‘s only 1 cable there, so threw me for a loop.

our ride missed the sunrise regardless of time as we had clouds. -still a glorious ride. I’ve been around that lake about every other time of day, but never that early. I had my 17 miles in by ~0730!

I thought I’d see some critters…. Nope. Even the ducks were sleeping in the marina as I went by.
 
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I’m not sure I’m doing everything in the right order, but I just did another “rust detail” and put on a light cutter wax and a regular wax.

Don’t tell @OddJob !!!

I used to work in the car cleaning business and don’t have a ton of fear with non base-coat/clear-coat paint.

I applied the light cutter and the wax with a scotch brite pad!!!!!

The paint was pretty trashed as could be seen with the head tube pic’ with the badge removed.

Here’s the turtle wax light cutter
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Here’s the rain dance wax: boom and into the shed you go for the night!!!!
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So; here are the tools and process so far:

I went to the store to buy paste wax per @OddJob and @Wildcat .

Spending ~5 years in car care, and knowing the paint was literally rough to the touch after 2 vigorous washes, I knew the paste wax was at best going to shine dirty paint.

I’d done some research online and came across this turtle wax product that looked strong enough to remove paint but gentle enough to not cause any damage.

I tried a few sample spots with the turtle wax cutter and a rag. The inside forks were pretty rough. 2 applications and removals had little to no impact on the finish.

I went to try the sponge with cutter: better, but still, meh. I could do that, but it looked like a 3 day project!!!!!

Flip the sponge to the scotch brite + cutter. JACK POT

A scotch brite pad is basically 600 grit sandpaper, so, in essence I’m just increasing the turtle wax cutting power.

I did use the cutter liberally. So, like a weird wet sanding???

I did one complete application of cutter and scotch brite and a test spot removal. Pretty Good, but not quite what I had hoped. -still some dirt and oxidation in the paint.

So, without removing the product already applied I went back over the whole thing, with cutter and a scotch brite again, “Mr. Miyagi” like!!!!

I removed the dried cutter with a soft rag. Great. But this is cutter, not wax, so, I’ve got clean green, and a little shine, but not a ton of glossy shine.

I had this rain dance car wax in my garage that came with the house when I bought it 15 years ago that looked like it would fit my budget nicely!!!!!

I shook the tarnation out of it and it looked ok to me!!!!

Like the cutter, I put the rain dance on with the scotch brite pad to really work it into the paint. Done!!! I’m Letting it dry thoroughly in the shed (out of sun/UV) until I find time to remove it.

Last note, I avoided the decals as much as possible: the checker board decal in test was ultra sensitive, so I avoided that like the plague. The others I avoided as well, but if I got some product on them, I quickly removed. With exception to the checkerboard, the other decals responded well to the little product that got on them.

Can’t wait to pull this stuff off and see what we got!!!!
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This late 1980's Marin was from the backyard haul I had last Summer. The paint looked like chalk until some Meguiars liquid cleaner wax was applied two times with a metric ton of elbow grease yesterday. If working on something closer to show quality, I finish up with Harly brand paste wax.

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