I originally bought this bike new in the very early 80's to ride from my home to Tallawarra Power Station a distance of about 6 km on, what was then, a dirt road over Mount Brown.
The Cruiser is a horror of a bike, it has 26" alloy wheels with 2.25" tyres,
five non indexed gears and a one piece crank. It sits unused in my shed at the bottom of
the garden, occasionally taken out for a spin by my daughter - the frame is much too big
for her and I can't believe I used to wear that helmet.
Purchased for about $100 from a Warrawong secondhand shop to replace the Bennett when I started cycling regularly to Port Kembla steelworks. Fitted with 26" steel rims, steel cranks this was no lightweight either however it had 10 gears (non indexed) and was more suitable for riding on the road. Using this bike knocked a couple of minutes off my 11 km journey time.
After neglecting this bike for a long while I recently fitted some cheap ally wheels,
1.5" slicks and replaced the steel cranks and chainwheels with the lighter ones from
the Repco Pro Sport. I also added some mud guards so I could use this bike for commuting
on wet days. It weighs a ton and rattles like a tin can but this bike does get used even
if it is only for a ride on the cycleway with the kids. Unfortunately my son or his mates
recently decided to wreck it so now it is another ex-bike
secondhand bike, 27" steel rims, 1.25" tyres, 10 non indexed gears, and a frame
which twisted and whipped. No lightweight but compared with anything I'd had before this
fairly flew - another couple of minutes off my commuting time. I completed two Sydney to
Gong rides on this machine and had a lot of fun with it but now the frame sits discarded
at the bottom of the garden only ever used occasionally as a truing stand while the wheels
and other components have become part of other bikes (not all mine). I affectionately
refer to this bike as the 'monster'.
When I saw this bike in the cycle shop I was hooked, brilliant white with RSX gear/brake levers (14 speed), 700 by 23 mm tyres, double pivot brakes, it just looked fast. What a machine! once round the yard and it was on lay-by. This machine took another 4 minutes off my journey time to work. Without a doubt this was my favourite bike, easy to ride, very responsive, always felt confident on this machine; too confident as it turned out.
Early one sunny October Sunday morning in 1997 I was happily cruising along the cycleway past Tom Thumbs Lagoon near the steelworks, watching the birds and the trees, just generally enjoying life on a lovely morning. I was probably travelling just over 30 kph when I rounded a sharp bend and realised that I was going far too fast to get round the next bend and across a narrow bridge. Unfortunately I had my hands on the top of the drop bars, my old Repco had brake levers which extended along the handlebars and it was these levers I tried to employ to slow down the progress of my beloved Wheeler. By the time I realised my mistake the corner was on me and try as I might I missed the bridge by about a foot and slammed into the railings.
I suppose I was lucky I didn't go over the railings and drop the four metres onto the muddy creek bank below, I wasn't hurt but my bike was mortally wounded, the front forks were bent as were both front frame tubes. A very sad and sorry me rang my wife on my mobile phone to come and rescue me.
Some weeks later I had the bent tubes replaced and the forks straightened by a local frame builder (CMW Specialist Cycles - 02 4256 6872) so the Wheeler is back in use though now a rather drab blue but still a nice bike to ride.
The Wheeler was damaged just two weeks before the 1997 Sydney to Gong Ride in which I had entered the 'Ride against the Clock' for the first time. I spent a week visiting just about every bike shop in the Illawarra looking for a replacement bike. There were just no road bikes available, all the shops said they would have new stock arriving in the middle of November. In desperation I drove up to Parramatta to see what was available there, at the first shop I visited I found the Shogun Samurai with the right frame size and on special at $50 off - just what I wanted.
The Samurai had similar specs to the Wheeler but I had only one week to get used to it before the 92 km Gong ride. In the end the 3 hr 34 min 57 sec ride (yep, I know the time to the second) was the best I could do and, boy, was my backside sore but it takes longer than a week to break in a new saddle and being rather dumb it never occurred to me to replace the saddle with the one from the Wheeler, Doh!
I replaced the standard brakes with RSX double pivot callipers and swapped the 14 - 26 gears off the Wheeler (the Shogun's 13 to 21 was far too high for me) but otherwise it is still much as I bought it.
After a back operation I decided I needed a more comfortable bike to get about on, there was also the need for a much lower range of gears as my damaged left leg would not 'push' so up any sort of climb one leg was doing all the work. I decided on something along the lines of the Apollo Leopard but with some 1990's technology and a lot less weight. There were several options but the Shogun Metro SE hybrid was the model I finally settled on. I preferred the Acera gear change over a twist grip and this model was much better equipped than the cheaper AT. Buying at the end of the 'season' I also was able to buy the bike locally for what I considered a reasonable price - about $100 off the list price.
I had only one complaint about the bike - the supplied pedals were cheap and nasty plastic affairs which, after nearly 18 months, I finally got round to replacing with a better pair, however on the plus side it was supplied with Shimano STX-RC cranks and chainwheels, a much better set than those in the specs for the bike. I also fitted Post Moderne seat post suspension and just recently replaced the saddle with a San Marco Rolls which has to be one of the most comfortable saddles ever made.
An old bike picked up for a song. I had intended to use this bike for riding to the library or shops. I think one of the cranks has seized onto the bottom bracket and a tooth on the middle chainwheel was badly bent out of shape. The latter was easily fixed with some firm blows with a hammer and copper drift, the former is not a problem (yet).
No sooner had I started to use this bike when the opportunity to buy another occurred...
Didn't really need another bike but Subway had this special offer of a bike for $50 plus three tokens. One of my kids gave me the three tokens and I just could not resist. Of course I rationalised that at $50 I could sell it and not lose out but it will do for travelling to the shops and library (oops, where did I hear that before?).
Anyway it is a super cool black, even has a bell and a stand, I will be the envy of the library crowd...