Monday, September 20, 2010

Bikes Outside: High Plains Drifter Makes My Day

As autumn comes and the weather gets cooler, my attentions must turn to battening down the battered hatches of Casa 'Statement before pipe-freezing season. While I am partial to more specialized establishments for supplies (lumber yards for lumber, plumbing supplier for pipes, etc) sometimes time and availability constraints find me begrudgingly shopping at the big home improvement center on New Park. On nearly every occasion, mine is the only bicycle locked up outside, so seeing another is a rare treat.

This Schwinn High Plains retains ties to the day when the Schwinn name, regardless of model, meant you could count on a certain level of quality. The mid-and-downmarket models weren't the lightest things around, but they were plenty solid. This well-preserved bike shares with most of its contemporaries the role of commuter bike in the oughts, and it's well-qualified for urban service. I realize I'm probably in the minority here, but Biopace cranks are an indicator of velo-coolness. My first new road bike rocked the oval chainwheels, and the mountain bikes of that era that I pined for but couldn't afford were elliptically equipped.

The unusual valve stem caps could also be indicators, in that I have seen such devices on cars function as low-pressure warnings. Viewed at very close range, one could also be led to believe that a robot dog has become excited. Perhaps they serve as counterweights for the large reflectors on the spokes. Regardless, the High Plains is getting the job done many miles away from its regional namesake.

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