Tuesday, February 14, 2017

1989 Schwinn 564 Aluminum; The bike that made the first trip...

At the first sign of my fathers illness I left the homeless shelter.  With my belongings in hand, a duffel bag (Sea Bag for you Navy folks), bike, and dog, I hitched a ride to California.  After his passing is when the idea for Tour De PACLANTIC blossomed.

You will notice that I am going back in the past a ways.  I am leading up to stories of my current bike and my attempts at planning.

This post is about the bike, so I will try to stick to the subject of the 1989 Schwinn Aluminum 564.  The bike at that time, was a wonderfully well designed road race bike and still gets the job done to this day.   It was produced by Schwinn in Chicago Illinois and I used for endurance training while suffering from running induced injuries.

My first concern with using this bike, other than the fact it is not a touring bike and was never intended for trailering, was the transmission.  Originally the bike was geared with 14 speeds, 7 rear and 2 chain-rings on the front cranks.

Just prior to the first tour in March of 2015

Original Front Crank and chain rings
Knowing that my trailer load would be a considerable amount of weight to be towing, I purchased on Ebay this crank set.  This crank set, from a mountain bike that after much research, educated guesses, and a fair amount of luck, would fit my ride thereby giving me an extra 7 low gears.  Pictured above is the original crank set and below, the one I converted to.

A life saving Ebay purchase..
This crank set certainly helped make Tour De PACLANTIC do-able.  To give you all some idea of the significance of how this item helped me, you should know that the majority of my cross country tour, 99% of the way, I used nothing but the lower 7 gears.  Thank goodness for planning ahead.

I thought it best to purchase this new square taper bottom bracket to install with my used crank set.  Might as well while I was making other adjustments in this area of the bike.  I certainly would be giving this bottom bracket  a work out.

At the time of this crank set add on, the only part of this bike that was not original equipment was the front derailleur.  This later would prove quite useful in the transition to accommodate the third, additional chain ring.  The aftermarket front derailleur was made to accommodate three chain rings with a deep reach for catching  the chain.

Without the money to make changes to my rear derailleur that would enable a full range of shifting throughout all of the gears, I was forced to make do with what I had.  A close eye had to be kept on the chain for too low of gear, the OEM derailleur would be inadequate to wrap up the loose chain and keep it taught.  On more than one occasion, in moments of complacence, the swinging chain would jump off the chain ring.  Fortunately I never had the pleasure of wiping out from one of these incidents.

Training tire to be replaced prior to the tour.
 The above photo, taken prior to Tour De PACLANTIC (I) shows a training tire that is near spent.  I would end up shrink wrapping and securing this and the two original tires to the bottom of the trailer for use as back-ups.

The other struggle that I would have to face along the way is spoke and rim issues.  This potato chip of a rim is the result of overloading and over riding.  There were indications of pending failure leading up to this incident for which will become a blog post in a future post.  Notice how it's shaped like a Pringles Potato Chip.

Cyclery USA helped get us back on the road.  The following photos show how I used the trailer as a rickshaw, with the bike strapped on top as Daisy and I walked about 20 miles looking for a bike shop in San Bernardio and eventually walking to Redlands California to Cyclery USA.
Wandering around San Bernardino, California

 I met this lady at a local hospital introducing Veterans and Their Pets while a replacement rim was shipped.
Our visit with the VA in Redlands, while bike repair are being done

April 2015 at a coffee shop in Tempe AZ, fitted with Panniers.

Pictured here, above, the bike came in handy as a jack stand, so that the trailer tire could be changed.  Moments before I had spent a few hours under an overpass to wait out a rainstorm in the Raton Pass at the New Mexico Colorado border.  I was making a dash, down hill (an extended down hill) and quite thoroughly trashed the inner tube as well as crushed the valve stem by the time I became aware of this flat.  This photo was taken on July 15, 2015 just south of Trinidad Colorado.

 July 18, 2015.  Total and catastrophic rear derailleur failure.  There are only a few times where I thought this trip would be over, this is a photo of one such time.  Yes, the rear derailleur is sheared completely and can simply be replaced, but more importantly, the frame mount itself is bent severely bent and thereby weakened.  Ultimate Sports in Trinidad Colorado got us back on the road, as well as Little Stinker Septic that had a hand in helping.

Post trip photo, above and below, of my ride at Jekyll Island, Georgia.  It was here that I had dinner with a friend that I met at Massengale Park, St. Simons Island GA.  Dave, brought out a gently used bike as a gift.  It is the bike that will be used on the next Tour De PACLANTIC

My Schwinn was retired in St. Simons Island in favor of a gift that I received there.  As near as I can figure it is a 2004 or 2005 Specialized, Crossroads sport.  I will write about this project shortly...

People are often impressed with this tour and my attempt to raise money and awareness for Veterans and Their Pets.  All I did was share my story and ride my bike.  Personally, truthfully, and factually, I attribute the successful completion of this tour to each and every one of the kind and generous contributions by folks and companies I met along the way.  If it were not for them, this tour would not have made it very far.  I am so very thankful and very aware that this trip was a group effort for which I view my part as minor in comparison to the whole.  I thank each and everyone, especially Veterans and Their Pets(SM), that made this trip possible.  Thank you, thank you, thank you all.

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