Sunday, September 23, 2007

Part V: 1984 Schwinn Traveler 12 Speed

Didn't just go to eleven, this one went to 12 when I needed that "extra push over the cliff".

The Traveler was an 8th grade graduation gift from Dad. I dunno if Dad had sympathy for the pangs of my adolescence he saw me experiencing or that he was happy that my grades rebounded, but there it was: a swift new 12 speeder with my name on it.

1984 Schwinn Traveler 12 speed.

So other than the previous times in which I borrowed mom's Ladies Collegiate, the Traveler was the first multi-geared bike that I rode regularly. Like the one pictured above, it was cordovan brown with tan trim. The Traveler's assets included a chrome-moly frame, SunTour components, drop bars with foam-rubber grips, braze-ons for a water bottle cage and toe clips. Best of all, it came with a quick releasing front wheel for easy storage and transport. The back wheel still required a 5/8 wrench to remove it, and since I never carried that wrench, I always aimed to flat the front.

By 8th grade graduation, the worst of the self esteem issues were behind me. The acne on my face had mostly cleared up and I found out how to use deodorant effectively. I quit playing D&D and focused my energies on studies, sports and social life.

The Traveler played a part in my upgraded social life as I was now able to cover longer distances independently. For example, in the summer I would get up at 5:30 AM and ride the Traveler fifteen miles to deliver Dunkin' donuts to my girlfriend's front porch. Apparently it was a pretty big deal to get donuts delivered to your doorstep. It worked for me at least.

If not for the donuts, then maybe it was my new focus on style that caught the girls' eyes. In those days, my typical riding outfit from head to toe was something like this: Ray-Ban aviator sun glasses with wrap around ear pieces, wide striped polo shirts, Ocean Pacific "OP" brand corduroy-whale shorts, white Nike cross trainers and triple banded tube socks. Dang. I was oozing with coolness and thriving once again.

Although I rode it less after I got my driver's license, that 12 speed Traveler surely was an important part of the renaissance that I went through after the dark ages. Thanks, Dad!

Tomorrow: college commuting on a GT Karakoram.


  1. You could only be cool in that outfit if you looked like this.

  2. Almost mitmoned this, Mike. But fair is fair. You're right, the emperor's new clothes were a tad silly.

  3. Great post. I remember getting my shiny yellow 12-speed on Christmas morning (I think I was 10). I abused that poor thing. Treated it like a BMX bike jumping off curbs and taking it into the foothills. Memories!