My wheels

If you are what you ride, I am often in need of adjustment and repair. Wheeled history listed in order of acquisition. Asterisk indicates current possession.


Child’s red wagon (stenciled with kids’ names by Dad)*

Unknown red tricycle

John Deere pedal tractor (babysitter backed over it and broke the body in half. Lesson: don’t let babysitters operate cars in driveways)

Unknown blue bicycle (16-inch solid tires and convertible top tube)

1966 Sears Hawthorne (red, coaster, 26-inch wheels, first bike repaired by me)


1974 Collegiate (from Illinois Cycle, Peoria, Illinois, first derailleur-equipped bike, 5-speed, upright bars)

1975 1977 Motobecane Grand Touring (first drop bars, from Competition Cycles, Peoria, Illinois, original Michelan √Član tires were flat prone)

1972 Motobecane Champion Team (bought used, orange, first sew-up tires, first Campy-equipped bike, though I replaced the rear derailleur with a Sun Tour for much-improved shifting, installed chrome fork after exiting apex of corner at speed and dropping into plowed cornfield)

Schwinn 20-inch unicycle

Unknown giraffe unicycle (unbelievable cheap construction; never successfully ridden)

Assorted 1950s/60s Schwinn cruisers (with Bendix coasters, two-speed kickback hubs and one with a manual, cable-actuated Bendix two-speed hub)

Crescent road bike (converted into “sidecar-style” trike for high-school tricycle race against Joe Russell, later of Russell’s Cycling & Fitness Center, Washington, Illinois)

Big helmet. No cattle. 1984. Big helmet. No cattle. 1984.

1979 Guercotti (painted in Florida by 10 Speed Imports, purchased through college bicycle co-op, Columbia, Missouri, later sold to Rocky Zahner, Madison, Wisconsin, rode 200 miles on 1983 Litchfield ride in 11 hours, 1 minute, after being dropped by 26-rider pack, including Lon Haldeman and Susan Notorangelo, through a flat S-turn after first [4-hour] century. Rode 247 miles between Peoria, Illinois, and Columbia, Missouri, in 17 hours. Won only USCF race, Category 4)


Late 1960s Peugeot. (First 4-speed freewheel, first 650B tires, first guidonnet brake levers, first cantilever brakes [ridged steel rims ate brake shoes with alarming regularity, college transportation]

Unknown single-speed (coaster brake, ex-Peace Corps, ever so slightly out-of-phase cranks, college transportation)

Raysport (track road bike from A-1 Bicycle Sales in St. Louis. I sold the frame to central Illinois rider Denny Tresenriter, who rode it as a fixed-gear bike before converting it to cyclocross and using it to win the 1987 Iowa State Cyclocross Championship in the Masters category. Somewhere along the way Denny painted the frame red–before he “scrunched the frame beyond repair” while crossing it.)

Trek 720 (steel frame touring bike from Vitesse Cycle Shop, Peoria Heights, Illinois. First triple crankset. For a few years after I sold the 720, I’d see it on the Bob Galloway Memorial Amish Country Bicycle Tour in Arthur, Illinois. If the lady I sold it to reads this, could you contact me at bike writer cat at gmail dot com?)


Kennedy Ordinary (high-wheeler made for me in Indiana, rode several years on PACRACC, a three-day newspaper-sponsored tour around Bloomington-Normal, Illinois. Later sold bike to buy Burley tandem)

IMG_0482Paisley tricycle (built for me in Ohio, repainted, originally had Phil Wood disc brake. Rebuilt in 2012/2013 after having the ends of the Higgins axles machined so the back wheels wouldn’t fall off in a corner)*

Recumbent tadpole tricycle (homemade with direct steering off the front kingpins; horse cart front hubs)

Raleigh 20-inch folder (first folder, rebuilt with alloy rims)

Blue Sky trailer

Mid-1970s Raleigh International (originally belonged to central Illinois’ 12,000-miles-a-year rider, Don Eberle. Added cantilever bosses, painted orange and converted to 3-speed Sturmey Archer hub)

Honda Kick n Go scooter (one of the ones that got away and then came back after Denny Tresenriter pointed out that his son, bodybuilder Jacob (posing at 3:40), had long outgrown it. Of course, with a maximum rider weight of 85 pounds, the scooter doesn’t fit me either, by a long shot)*


1950s Peoria King (dealer-branded Schwinn; later sold, refinished by CycleArt in California and reassembled by me for Peoria telemarketer Charles Ruppman. I sold Charles the first Kestrel bicycle I’d ever seen. I wonder whether his family still has either bike)

Burley Duet tandem (first tandem, possibly first year of production. Homemade receiver-style stoker stem accepted 40mm SR stem. Sun Tour freewheels lost bearings three or four times during roof rack transport)

IMG_1159Trek 2300 (from Champaign Cycle, Champaign, Illinois, first non-ferrous frame, main triangle carbon fiber tubes glued to aluminum lugs and rear triangle. As of April 2014, set up with single-speed White Industries Eccentric Eno flip-flop hub, MKS Lambda pedals, Cinelli Giro bars and Nitto Dirt Drop stem). Later went to recurved mountain bike handlebars and Deore brake levers. Installed randonneur handlebars and sold to a coworker in summer 2019.

SIDE BY SIDEFisher mountain bike (from Vitesse Cycle Shop, Peoria Heights, Illinois, first mountain bike, single-gauge oversized steel frame; installed drop bars and Retroshift levers in March 2013. Main commuting machine through October 2015). Kept the Retroshift (Gevenalle) levers and sold as a beginner gravel bike, summer 2019.

Strida (A-shaped folder; first belt-driven machine)

Trek T200 tandem (from Vitesse Cycle Shop, Peoria Heights, Illinois, steel frame, Phil Wood hubs)

1984 Trek 850 (Tange Prestige tubing. Traded an Avocet bicycler computer for this bike, which was bent after the bicycle, stored behind the cab of a semi, had its rear triangle crushed when the truck turned. Longest chainstays in my historical inventory, though Trek 720, earlier, may have been close. Added Bionx hub motor in 2017. Tired of its tail-wagging-the-dog handling and facing the reality of aging–and therefore range-constrained–battery, I returned to non-motorized bicycle status in January 2019)*


1960s Schwinn Racer (3 speed, picked up in Door County, Wisconsin.)


Co-Motion tandem (ordered through The Hub Bicycle Company, St. Louis, first disc brake of mine [if you don’t count the disastrous Phil Wood on the Paisley tricycle], V-brake, custom build with extended stoker top tube length; moved to bar-end shifters from original STI and then to Gevenalle shifters; switched from 170mm FSA cranks with external bearings to 165mm da Vinci cranks with square-taper FSA bottom brackets; new 40-hole rear wheel sports Velocity Dyad rim, Velocity 9-speed hub; running 32mm Panaracer or Continental tires rather than original spec Continental Gatorskin 28mm Specialized Roubaix Pro (front) and All Condition (rear) tires)*

Bianchi Pista (from Big Shark, St. Louis, track bike, added front brake). Summer 2019: added 4-1/2″ stem riser and Salsa Cowchipper bars. Comfy.*

full size tikit2010 Bike Friday Model T tikit (third bicycle built in Eugene, Oregon, after the Burley and Co-Motion tandems. Ordered factory direct. More pictures and my notes on replacing the folding riser here). During 2019, has become my lunchtime get coffee bike, thanks to Arundel Looney Bin water bottle cage mounted to seat tube.

20131228-132117.jpgDahon Bullhead (from NYCeWheels, New York, last year of production. Sold and shipped via Bikeflights to California, March 2018)

20121120-211618.jpg1972 Schwinn Sports Tourer (first fillet-brazed frame of mine, 22-inch, acquired without wheels). Sold to local musician.

IMG_05201964 Schwinn Corvette 2-speed kickback (presented to me in 2013 by Erik Reader, who found the bike in the basement of a Peoria house he was renovating.)*

Sun unicycle (first 24-inch wheel; interestingly enough, while you may never forget how to ride a bicycle, you can definitely forget how to ride a unicycle. Mastery of this machine is a 2018 2020 goal)*


1980s Sekai 2500. (With 32mm tires and fenders, my choice for any wet day and most of 2017’s 30 Days of Biking. Started with $20 frame from Bike Peoria Co-op. First centerpull brakes since the 1970s, first compact double crankset, first Hollowtech II crankset, first bike with 100-percent zip-tied cables. Given more recent acquisition of the Giant Escape–below–may convert the Sekai to three speed operation)*


Giant Escape on Blue Ridge Road, Peoria County, Illinois

2016 Giant Escape. (With 38mm tires, my go-to rough roads bike. First 1X drivetrain (if you don’t count the Schwinn Collegiate), first bike with SRAM levers and derailleur (and clutch-style derailleur), first Wolf Tooth chainring, first 10-speed cassette and chain)*




Mongoose Deception. (After a lifetime spent riding bicycle-shop quality bicycles, I came into possession of a big-box-store mountain bike featuring the usual one-size-fits-whoever-doesn’t-think-about-it-too-much design philosophy. And yet I somehow decided the only thing wrong with the aluminum frame was everything attached to it and went to work, adding a Surly fork and single-speed rear hub, a Shimano Dura Ace crank from the 90s, rims from a Specialized Sequoia–no obituary of the generation of Sequoia introduced in 2017 is complete without a mention of its heavyweight-class rims–generator hub, 700×50 Panaracer Gravel King tires, fenders, and Shimano SLX disc brakes. This is my first bike with hydraulic brakes. Kids, do not try this at home–or anywhere else, for that matter)*

10 Responses to My wheels

  1. wow, you’ve got it bad. Thanks for visiting my blog. We both like the small wheels, though yours are a bit younger and a bit smaller than mine. What happened to that Raleigh from the 80s?

    • I built up alloy wheels for the Raleigh and wasn’t impressed with the results, probably because of the stiff, heavy tires I used. I’d like to give such a bike another go some day, but that particular machine has been lost to the dim halls of memory.

  2. echo says:

    This list is nothing short of impressive! I love your blue Schwinn. That’s my favorite color, and it’s just such a cool bike!

  3. Mr. CATSOE says:

    Pre-owned bikes are somewhat like pre-owned cars. We never realize the value until years later when they’re long gone. Nice list..!!

  4. jadenotes says:

    Nice Co-Motion!

    • Glad to read that your shop stepped in to bring your Co-Motion back to as-new condition. When you say the inner chainring snapped off, do you mean it broke, or that the bolts came loose?

  5. Jim DeSalvio says:

    Good to meet you today at Jamberry! Long live steel.

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