12/71 Cotton Picker

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Sep 4, 2023
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Belle Vernon, PA

What began as a random and miraculous find quickly became a tedious resurrection as I strived to bring this last month of production Cotton Picker back to its former glory by preserving as much originality as possible but somehow making it appear new again (at least in shine and presentation. To me, every nick or scratch of an original bike is part of its history and the story of how much it was enjoyed, and although I could have stripped it down and completely repainted and rechromed it, at least I know there is not another exact identical one like mine out there in the world

I purchased this gem on August 23, 2023 after stumbling upon the listing for it in FB Marketplace. I knew I had my work cut out for me, but as with any challenge, I welcomed it, especially since it is my first (and most likely only one I will get my hands on) "krate" style Schwinn.

Upon getting it home, I hit the ground running by beginning disassembly, but then unfortunately was diagnosed with Lymes Disease which unknowingly was plaguing me most of September and October until it was discovered. So even though the final result was delayed due to this I am thankful to have stayed on task and met my goal of completing this by the contest deadline. I really enjoyed this contest as being a finish line for me to plan for.

The seat, tires, grips, brake lever covers, brake pads, and streamers are new. Everything else on the bike is original to the bike itself aside from the light kit and speedo which were purchased from other time period correct bikes. I'm most pleased with how well the paint and chrome shine now after hours and hours of hand polishing with various brands and types of cleaners.

I had the custom license plate created to showcase its build date as well as where it was originally sold (Franklin County, PA is where the town of Grove City is located and this bike was sold at a bike shop near there named Wardle's and it remained in the purchasing family's possession since) as a nod to where it spent its entire life until this point.

Thank you for following along with the Cotton Picker's journey from being forgotten to now being celebrated as a cherished and completed project.




Now it resides as a focal point of my mancave: 😎
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@barbedwire , I was already into 26" bikes when these Krates came out, but I remember staring at them in my local Schwinn shop when we'd go in for a spare tube or new tire. And I'm staring at yours right now, just like I did when I was a pre-teen! Excellent vintage-clean refresh on this Cotton Picker. I like everything about it!

RaT oN~!

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