Thursday, May 19

Chris & His Schwinn

Today, we are excited to to share a guest post from Chris Magee-Jenks, Tina's husband and Linh's former co-worker. Chris is part of the "Green Team" at work, advocating sustainability efforts for the entire company. He shames his co-workers into recycling and reusing whenever possible and sets a great example by riding his bike and taking the bus to work whenever possible.

This is my bike. 
It's a 1976 Schwinn Varsity.

I have only been riding to work for a couple of years, not daily, but as much as I can. It's old, heavy, and riding it is a good workout. I found it on Craigslist back in 2008, but someone bought it before I could. Turns out, it was my wife who bought it out from under my nose and gave it to me as a wedding present! I love it. I'm a pretty big nerd, so prepare yourself. And thanks to Tina & Linh for letting me crash The Lounge!

I've learned some things riding this bike. One is that it sucks to carry stuff on my back. I used to bring my work clothes, lunch, shoes, iPod & a sketchbook in a backpack... it got old fast. So, I got this rack trunk. It's really great for holding all the crap I just mentioned, and it helps to keep me visible because it's an outrageous yellow color. I always go with the "safe" choice when buying gear, and it usually ends up being the ugly & dorky choice. That's how I roll.
Dork Points: 3

Growing up I had three bikes stolen out of my parents garage.
This lock isn't great, but it will hopefully deter thieves in the future. 

Another thing I learned about this bike is that it's old and there aren't many "cool parts" out there for it. After I got the bike, I started upgrading what I could. These brake levers are a more recent design that looks better, stops better and offers more riding positions. One thing I love about my bike is that I can tinker with any part of it and upgrades are accessible and relatively simple compared to say, my car.
Dork Points: -3

These tires (old school 27" diameter gumwalls) have a kevlar tread backing to help prevent flat tires from debris you'd find on a commuting route. I don't carry a backup tube, so fingers crossed, these tires hold up!

These are the shifters... they're in a bad place. I seem to accidentally shift with my knee at least every other day...

Yep... A headlight in front, a mirror, and two blinkies (white forward, red rear) ALL on the helmet. I got hit by a car while riding my bike when I was 12. If I hadn't been wearing a helmet, it might have been my skull that shattered instead of that Subaru's windshield. I ALWAYS ride with a helmet. Have ever since.
Dork points: 8

I also wear this insane yellow jacket to make sure drivers don't miss me. I try to ride like I'd drive a car, so I stop at stop signs and at lights, use turn signals, ride with the direction of traffic, etc. Mostly I feel like drivers see me, and they don't seem to have any problem with me riding on the street. Which is good, because legally, bikes are vehicles that are required to use and obey laws of the road, just like cars.

That's the stash pocket.
Dork Points: -5

I always rode mountain bikes or BMX bikes when I was a kid (in Denver) so when I finally made the switch to a bike with these tires, I was shocked at how smooth and fast they can be. The Varsity is an old fart in the world of road bikes, but it feels like a race bike compared to every other bike I ever rode.

And that's why I love it. It doesn't matter to me what kind of bike it is, so long as it's fun.
So when you ride be safe, and be creative.


steffylove said...

Great crash post Chris! Love all the details, makes me want to ride my bike thats been in storage ever since I moved to the burbs :(

be safe, be creative! couldn't let that one slip past me :)haha.