Eighth Grade and the '68 Varsity


This ad disappears when logged in

harpon

Finally riding a big boys bike
Jan 8, 2012
100
56
Jacksonville FL
#1
From my earliest humble roots in front of the ancient television on my tricycle (cica 1955)
I guess I was somehow destined to pedal
trike.JPG


By no means my early childhood bikes- a 20" JC Higgins converted in 1965 to a "sting ray" with a white banana seat, high bars and knobby rear tire, or the 26" Old Green Clunker (a Western Flyer balloon bike I think) that Dad had painted and reconditioned for me a couple of years before I could actually fit it. No particular photos of these have survived these many years.

68 Varsity.jpg


This 1968 Schwinn Varsity then shaped my younger days. I was in Eighth Grade and it was shortly after my first windfall of Christmas tip money delivering the Indianapolis Star in the early mornings that I was able to buy myself this new ten speed getting so popular among my young friends. It was $70 and the 40 or 50 in Christmas tips put me in range. I think this picture was in February- I recall the time but not the date- my sister took the picture with a old Kodak 126 cartridge film camera- and snow still appears in the shadows. I was by then 14 and small for my age for another couple of years. My group of friends had been known to ride out to the reservoir- some 11 miles round trip- on our old middleweights, or to Matthews bikes on 38th Street, or distant Glendale shopping center- lesser rides of single digits-but with this bike I started soloing on my own longer forays.

That first summer of '68 I rode on many carefree days up the cemented main lanes- yet not completed leg- of I 465 from 56th Street up to Castleton to swim at Northeastway park. I rode my first Century ride on it, a CIBA club affair the Fall of 1970 and , eventually captured second place in the Indiana state road race Junior division of 35 miles on the Varsity in 1971- while my cross country partner and I went undefeated in our high school race, where I was founder and President of the Bicycle Club.
Lawrence50.JPG


The Campus Green bike was eventually stolen in 1971 and yet still has a place in my fond memories.

But beware! Varsity riders often graduated to stronger stuff!
track bike.jpg

'74 Paramount, circa 1980
 
Last edited:

GTs58

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
Sep 2, 2012
7,883
5,269
Central Arizona
#2
Looks like that Varsity was two sizes over your crunch limit. :D
 

harpon

Finally riding a big boys bike
Jan 8, 2012
100
56
Jacksonville FL
#4
Looks like that Varsity was two sizes over your crunch limit. :D
Yes in fact- I bought it large expecting to grow into it, and I did though not quickly. While getting more savvy to bikes then, I took off the rear pie plate and the front outer chain guard, and put some rubber Weinmann hoods on the brake levers, and eventually only put Schwinn Puff gum wall tires on- 1 1/8" wide instead of the 1 1/4 that came on it- yet I never had anything but the original heavy steel rims.

I finished second in '71 in the Junior division to Wayne Stetina, who as you might know won a number of National Road Race Titles through the '70's and was on three Olympic squads. So I and my Varsity had no chance toward the end when Wayne on his chrome Cinelli put the hammer down and left me at will !

After it was stolen late in the summer of '71 I ended up getting my first full campy bike, a Gitane Super Corsa with a 60 cm frame available 100 miles away in Dayton, and by then I was at or close to the 6 feet of height I am still. Eventually , racing on I found a 59 cm frame to be my best fit, which is closest to the 23" Varsity..

wow- I see a very same patch I once had below in the ebay ads- a 1977 Tour of Brookside-the rider wears a Speedway Wheelmen jersey which was the first club I trained with and rode for: https://www.ebay.com/itm/152856254327?rmvSB=true
 
Last edited:

This ad disappears when logged in
Most Recent BUY IT NOW Items Listed on eBay
$30.00
eBay Auction Picture
$29.50
eBay Auction Picture
$275.00
eBay Auction Picture
$26.80
eBay Auction Picture
$6.99
eBay Auction Picture
$124.99
eBay Auction Picture
$9.95
eBay Auction Picture
$39.99
eBay Auction Picture
$20.00
eBay Auction Picture
$325.00
eBay Auction Picture
$160.00
eBay Auction Picture
$1.99
eBay Auction Picture
$30.00
eBay Auction Picture
$69.00
eBay Auction Picture
$15.00
eBay Auction Picture
$44.95
eBay Auction Picture
$199.00
eBay Auction Picture
$175.00
eBay Auction Picture