So I can't really recall how this obsession with old bikes started. Tho' up to now mine aren't really antique (I do have a budget), but they are vintage nonetheless. At some point I must have mentioned to the Dude that I'd like to have an old girl's bike. Discussion forgotten.
So one day, after going to our favorite deli in old town Jackson, we wander across the street to a favorite flea market/antique shop that I like to go to. Great bargains on stuff that have not been restored or fixed up.
So I notice this old Schwinn girl's bike back behind some old wagons, fishing poles, and other stuff, but as we were still on a tight budget, I pass it by. Rusted, faded, with flat cracked tires, but it's red and has all the original parts! A few minutes later, the Dude says, "Did you see that old bike", I say, "Yes", but move along. The next thing I know, he has the merchant moving things around (things are tightly packed in this little store), to get to the bike. I'm thinking, what the heck is he doing. Next thing I know he is negotiating price with the lady, and we become the proud owner of a Schwinn Collegiate. The merchant throws in a rear basket in the deal.
Next comes the internet research for what year it might be. Lo and behold there are a plethera of sites dedicated to helping poor lost soles like me figure out what I have and what to do with it. So I learn I have just purchased a bike produced in Dec 1970.
Great, now I need to figure out how to get rid of the rust, clean it up, and make it a roller again. I am not looking forward to hours spent rubbing naval jelly onto odd shaped chrome things with steel wool 'til my fingers ache. I'm thinking, 'this will take a year'! But, the Dude mentions he'd seen an ad in his Hemmings Motor News for a new invention rust remover, evapo-rust. We order it from the local auto parts store. The part must be submerged, so it takes me awhile to figure out what type of container I can put a gallon of this stuff into that will fit a bike rim and chrome fenders! Wallpaper tray! Hallelujah!
So now after about a month of carefully taking it apart, derusting, cleaning grease and dried on gunk (all of the bearings were dry!), and reassembling it, it looks like a new bike. I intentionally left the bike frame with it's patina, but cleaned and waxed it. But, after getting it complete and pumping up the tires so I can try it out, I learn it is a little small for me. So, now I think I'll have to sell it to pay for a replacement Brooks saddle for my recently acquired Brit! (Oh, that story's coming soon!)
And, in the meantime, I bought another old Schwinn that is also patiently awaiting revival!