Tell me more about this bike, and where you got it?
I found it on Craigslist here in Milwaukee after a lengthy search for a new winter bike project. This 1982 Schwinn Super Le Tour wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, but I couldn’t pass it up after seeing the color in person, and discovering its wonderful original condition. I initially planned to just upgrade the wheelset, and retire the old steel rims in order to increase my braking capabilities. After visiting Ben’s Cycle, I ended up ordering a new Sturmey Archer S3X fixed 3 speed hub for the rear, a Milwaukee Bicycle Co front hub, and a pair of Velocity Razors. After subsequent visits to Ben’s, Earl’s strongarm sales tactics, and my sweetheart’s insistence that I spend as much money as possible, the only original parts left are the frame, fork, headset, seatpost, BB, crank, and stem. I am particularly fond of the chainguard, which came from my stash of 40’s balloon tire parts, and was badly rustified and damaged . I fixed it and painted it to match the original paint. I really like the way the chain can be seen through the holes.
What are you wearing?
Santa-red Dickies, tailored w/ reflective cuffs. Big Smith thrift store vest, vintage green tonal plaid Woolrich shirt, bandana for santa’s beard, glasses that would make Bono jealous, and gray leather Pro-Keds.
It feels good. I often find myself whistling unconsciously whilst pedaling. Not so much when driving.
How long have you been painting bicycles and how did you get into that?
Not including the Quadangle I painted for myself as a kid? I was working in Autobody and Paint, but was collecting/ restoring old bicycles. I started painting for friends in 1996, then for framebuilders ( Jonnycycles in Madison was the first) in 2004. I opened my bicycle specific shop in 2007.
There have been a few….the first time I tried to commute to work I overheated in January and I thought I was going to pass out. The 2005 Frozen Snot to Chicago with you and Pete, etc., which was my first century. Nowadays, any ride in which I am exposed to something that would otherwise go unnoticed if I was in a vehicle. This can be something simple, like seeing the bold, chubby groundhogs sunning themselves at the Greenfield Park Golf Course, or shocking, like stumbling upon completely nude sunbathers a few yards from the bike path.
How can Milwaukee improve bike infrastructure or become more bike friendly?
I am pretty happy with the improvements I’ve seen over the last few years, and we’ve seen increases in bicycle usage as accommodations have improved. I’d like to see that trend continue. The recent Hoan Bridge Bicycle Pedestrian Path debate is a good example of how attitudes and perceptions may slowly be changing as well. It was encouraging to see so many cyclists, Alderpersons, and businesses turn out in support. I think we need to work harder to to educate our neighbors, lawmakers, and the DOT to show that investment in bike infrastructure benefits everyone, not just a select few , and certainly not just 3 months out of the year. I’ve yet to attend a Brewer game, but I appreciate that we have a stadium that I helped pay for. I think it’s important for Milwaukee to have transportation options, whether it’s public transportation, bicycle, train, or car. It’s really about freedom, which we all know isn’t free.