USA visit including some cycling and a vintage Schwinn!


Über Member
Not in the same league as others (@HobbesOnTour @cwskas) I'm afraid, but I will take some inspiration from their threads to add some modest stories of riding in (for me) foreign lands!

I recently had 2 and a half weeks near Dayton, Ohio visiting my daughter and her husband. Now whilst this was mostly focused on spending time with them, I knew there would also be the chance to get out and cycle a bit, so with a couple of months to go before I left I started trawling Craigslist for the Dayton area to see if I could get them to pick up a suitable two-wheeled wonder for some fun miles :okay:.

Bike criteria was pretty simple really - not expensive, as I don't know how often I'll get out there to ride it so it'll spend much of it's time hanging in a garage. Ideally ridable with only a minimum of work, so I could get straight out as soon as possible after arriving. Something vintage and American would be quite apt I thought. I only 'do' (apologies to our off-road compadres) road bikes so that narrowed it down enough for me to start looking.

Over the course of a few weeks I watched bikes come and go and noticed there was a Schwinn Continental in a very fetching 70's brown that seemed to be hanging around and was only 10 miles away from where my daughter and son-in-law live. So I asked her to check it out (slightly risky as they aren't cyclists!). They duly picked it up for the vast sum of $80 (£65). I only had to hope it was going to be rideable when I got there!

This is the photo she sent after picking it up:


Looking pretty original to me!
A whole 10 speeds and that colour :wub: (forgive me, I grew up through the 70's - what can I say!)

Next up... first ride in the great USofA and some fettling...


Über Member
Central Texas
Looks to be in pretty good shape from the picture.


Accra, Ghana
Nice buy but I think you was done on the price. Yard sales and thrift shops are the place to pick up bikes, most go for very low prices. That one is quite low spec but should clean up and ride nicely. I used to have a Schwann Traveler (one L’ ) a bit later than yours which was the equal of many European bikes:
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Über Member
Connecticut, USA
Bike looks good. And Ohio has done some pretty good work on their biking network. I do not know about Dayton, specifically. But, next summer when after my move closer to Ohio, I plan to find out for myself. Enjoy your stay on this side.


Über Member
So, suitably recovered after being left to sleep in Chicago airport by BA after my flight was delayed causing a missed connection, and then my only choice apparently being to fly to New York and then back to Dayton the next day (thanks BA and American - you have both lost a customer!)...

It was time for a quick check over of the bike, and a shakedown ride to see what needed attention.

Noticed this and filed away the info for checking into later...

My only initial worry was the tyres as they looked quite old and the sidewalls didn't fill me with confidence! But, I thought, what the heck, bit of air in the front tyre and away we go...

I'd noticed on the way in to Springboro from the airport that some of the roads near where I'd be staying had decent cycle lanes, so it was off out to have a look.

6.27 miles
262ft Elevation Gain

First impressions were very good - either paths beside the roads, or dedicated cycle lanes and everything was so nicely tidy and clean! Forgot to take pics on this ride so have enlisted a little help from Mr Google's maps!

The bike was trundling along nicely so far. Had stayed in the big ring so far, tyres were holding up for now. Brakes were poor as I expected they would be!

Nice to see signs of the area being bike friendly too... and I really must say I was very pleasantly surprised by how cyclist-friendly the drivers were - not a single close pass on short stretches without bike lanes - moving right out to give me plenty of room... not something I'm used to in the UK I have to say! We'll see if that continues!


I took the bike route for another couple of miles and then looped around to head back. As I did I found my first reasonable climb and then found that I didn't have a functioning front derailleur, so no small ring! Cue some creaky knees and burning thighs 10 minutes later! ^_^

The bike had done well and delivered me back safe and sound - not bad considering it's almost as old as me! Only issues were the front mech being seized up and a regular bomp, bomp, bomp from the front wheel every turn - my guess was it was out of true round-wise, so time to investigate...

On looking at it back at base, the wheel actually looked ok, but I could see it appeared that the tyre maybe wasn't seated on the bead properly - you can just make it out behind the frame here;

So, whipped the tyre off to see if it was worth trying to re-seat, but on seeing the state of it, decided I'd better order a couple of replacements...

Final job today was to check the serial number and date the bike...

And here's the page from the catalog;


So, nearly 52 years old and in 'Sierra Brown'. Held it's value pretty well too :laugh:

Looked up what was Number One in September 1970 (in the UK) and it happened to be a song I love - Band of Gold by Freda Payne - so, the Schwinn has a name... Freda!



Über Member
Central Texas
whipped the tyre off to see if it was worth trying to re-seat, but on seeing the state of it, decided I'd better order a couple of replacements...

Wise move, it appears!

Glad you made it through the shakedown ride.


new tyres are a must looking at state of the one photo'd. new brake blocks too as they will be dried and hard. I always re-cable a new "old" bike, although not always strictly necessary. re the FD, is the mech seized, i.e does it refuse to move when disconnected from cable, or is it a cable issue. a good soak of the mechanism and spring in GT85 may bring it back to life, and as said new cables may also help if the inner is sticking in the outer, again easy to check if you disconnect cable from the Mech end.

do the dynamo / lights still work?

good luck!


Über Member
By the next day the new 27 x 1 1/4 tires (y!) had arrived - slightly sad I couldn't get hold of gum walls but black will have to do! Managed to get a pair of Innova's from Walmart for $15 each so not bad.

Chucked the front tyre on (with a new tube as well) and decided to leave the rear for another day. Freed off the front mech with lot's of lube and shifting back and forth and it was off out in the couple of hours I had spare.

13.42 miles
404 ft elevation gain


Those paying attention earlier may have noticed that Freda was originally sold by The Schwinn Center in Centerville nearby, so a quick bit of sleuthing and I discovered that the bike shop was still there and is now called K&G Bike Center, so that was my destination - why not take Freda back to her roots eh?!

Arrived, took the obligatory photo and then had a great chat with Justin who works there - a fellow cycling enthusiast who'd spent time in Europe and was looking forward to a trip to Majorca for some great cycling soon.


Cadillac sir? Nah, I'm ok as I am thanks :laugh:


Final call before heading back was a Goodwill store - why? Because I'd heard of them but had never been in one! Turns out I found a bargain new pair of padded undershorts for $5 - handy as I didn't have any with me on this trip :ohmy:


It was a pleasure to have all 10 speeds once again and I stayed in the small ring most of the time, spinning to let my knees have it easier. Back to base for some family time.

*Edit - Oh, I changed the front brake pads and adjusted the front brake too - more chance of actually stopping as opposed to squealing now!
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