Monday, May 04, 2009

Dear Dr. Wally

Dear Dr. Wally

I still have a Schwinn Varsity that I bought in 1972 for $125. The bike hasn't been on the road for a while, so I'm thinking about putting new tires on it, and maybe aluminum rims and a cotterless crank to make it lighter. My local dealer says it's not worth doing, but he'll give me $50 for the bike in trade. Is he trying to rip me off?

Tightwad in Tahlequah

Dear Tightie,

Take the fifty bucks and thank that dealer from the bottom of your heart! If he were trying to rip you off, he'd agree to make your Varsity lighter. That Schwinn tips the scales at 45 pounds and the fork alone weighs more than some modern frames. It's the Norway rat of bicycles.

If we ever have an apocalypse, the survivors will be riding Schwinn Varsitys while they battle giant mutant cockroaches. So in one sense, it may be a bike you want to keep for a winter beater because it's so durable. Or you can give to someone you dislike intently, like an ex-wife or that annoying kid down the street, and hope they bust a gut trying to ride it uphill.

Next month: Vittoria beetles - threat or menace?

Doctor Walter Crankset teaches at the University of Northeastern Oklahoma extension campus at Broken Elbow. He is a life-long cyclist with extensive maintenance experience. Doctor Wally is presently investigating a 20-million-year-old Schwinn Varsity unearthed with some apocalypse survival gear in Guzikkashistan.



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