What souped-up, smogfree, quiet-riding dream machine has two wheels, one sprocket, and a subculture all its own?
What souped-up, smogfree, quiet-riding dream machine has two wheels, one sprocket, and a subculture all its own?
THE SLEEK, BLACK limousine pulled up in front of the bike shop. A grey-haired man, looking fat and prosperous in a Savile Row suit, stepped out and walked into the store. He stood at the counter, pulled out $350 from a wad of orange bills. Along the wall, bicycle spokes glistened like diamonds. He turned back, leaned heavily on the counter and invited the confidence of the shopkeeper with a wagging finger. “I never had a bike when I was a kid. In fact, I don’t even know how to ride one. The money from my paper route went to help the family. But I had this dream last night, you see, and it was all about this big, beautiful bike.”
Well, this big, beautiful
dream machine is the flower child of 1971, creating a whole new subculture of health buffs, anti - pollution
riders and five-bike families. Cycling cultists become indignant over poor parking,
clamor for bikeways, wear knickerbockers and boots, and buy tubular tires. They have their own fads, etiquette, exercises and even clothing.
And their numbers are increasing; Tom Nease, president of Canada Cycle & Motor, says adult bike sales have risen over 400% in the past year. So, for those of you planning to cycle this summer, Maclean's has provided a complete guide to the newest “thing” since Day-Glo buses and love beads.
First, you need to know how to buy a bicycle. It’s a delicate business, since there are collapsibles, sports models, touring types and racers, at prices that range from $60 to $525. To be the envy of neighbors, consider a French Peugeot, or an Italian Cinelli or Garlatti. (Highrise fastbacks and banana seats are just for the kids.) But if you’re not interested in status, the most popular of the wide range of machines now available is the 10-speed touring bicycle.
Whatever you buy, treat the transaction with the seriousness you would bring to buying a Ferrari. Remember what one of the early cycling manuals said: “Nothing is so satisfactory as a chosen mount of your own, adjusted to suit your individual needs and kept for your own exclusive use. A bicycle exactly suited to your liking should be jealously devoted to your individual use.”
Specialty shops carry the widest selections of models, but you will find a good varicontinued on page 44
Wouldn’t \fou Really Rather Have A CCM? _
More than ever, the CCM Grand Touring Deluxe Sport remains the Number One favorite with Canadian nationalists (CCM is the only Canadian bike maker), suburban housewives and one-child families. A bicycle built for families. Matching models for both men and women, the Deluxe Sport ($89.95) features console-type “T” bar (threespeed) gearshift, reflector pedals and generator light. Chromium-plated wraparound chain guard and mudguard. Spring color: Gemini green. Optional traveling bag or baby seat ($8) to fit rear metal carrier (with spring clips).
Fold Has A Better Idea
Go one better. Go fold-up. The city cyclist’s dream is the collapsible bike. Sturdy. Compact. Convenient. Packs into the back seat of a car. Folds up behind a filing cabinet. Easy to carry and easy to ride. Adjustable handlebars and seat to fit any size (from 56 inches to 80 inches). The newest item on this continent is the Yugoslavian Rog Pony ($79). The model features a refined braking system, threespeed Sturmey-Archer gears and quick-release handlebars and seat. Thick whitewall tires fitted for 20" wheels. Multispring saddle for comfortable riding. Colors: red, white and blue.
The cellar favorite among students, hippies and 80-year-old grandmothers. The Secondhand bike.
It’s reliable, cheap and can stand up to rust and repair. It is the only bicycle that can guarantee itself against theft. If lost, it can be replaced with a $20 bill. To soup up a secondhander, remove fender frames, mudguards and paint bars fluorescent colors. This serviceable machine can be bought at any secondhand bike shop or police auction. To keep the bike in running order, clean the cycle chain once a month and keep the tires full of air.
Always A Step Ahead With 10 Speeas
A royal line for bike barons. Refined over the years in the designing houses of Peugeot. The ultimate experience in cycling. A Cadillac performance. This bicycle is for the sport and the stylist — the man who cares to ride with the best of them. Fitted with 10-speed Simplex Dérailleur Alpine steering gears (to handle any terrain), Mafac centre-pull brakes and rattrap pedals. Taped racing handlebars and leather racing saddle. A special feature is the dural high flange hub with Simplex quick releases (the wheels pop out). Thin high-pressure tire tubing fitted on a 27" x 114" rim provides excellent traction and smooth country riding. The Peugeot Caravan costs about $135.
ety in any sports store. Know why you want the bike, whether it’s for cycling to the plaza, to the office, or just to tour the countryside. The use determines the weight, style and variety of speeds you need.
All bicycles should be test run. Check the wheels by spinning them. Put a finger or pencil on the tire while the wheel turns and watch for out-of-roundness on the rim. Pluck the spokes (they should give the same musical pitch all round with the same degree of tightness). Test the brakes. The brake block should grab the wheel rim squarely and evenly. Fenders should be on tight. Pedals should turn freely, not bind, and have no side play. Above all, nothing should rattle.
The next step is learning to ride. The act of balancing on tires (particularly, if you’ve spent the past 10 years behind a steering wheel) won’t be easy. A quick backyard session should familiarize you with the bike and save undue embarrassment to your kids. (In the early days, bike-riding academies assured the beginner of privacy.)
For the beginner-sans-instructor, a few tips from Bicycling For Ladies (a 200page book on how to ride published in 1896) will be helpful.
“1. Attend to the bicycle and nothing else. Don't attempt to talk, and look well ahead of the machine, certainly not less than 20 feet. Remember, the bicycle will go wherever the attention is directed.
2. The bicycle can be kept from falling by a wiggling movement of the front wheel, conveyed by means of the handlebar.
3. Take the wheel for a walk. Learn to stand it up, to turn it quickly and back it up in
a limited space.
4. Choose for a practice session, a pleasant day with little or no wind.
5. Clothing should be loose at the waist to prevent giddiness.
6. If tired after the first day’s practice, do not attempt to resume it until entirely rested, even if it is necessary to wait two or three days.”
Cycling is an excellent health conditioner that can pleasantly burn off 1,200 calories in an hour. Competitive cyclists rank among the top three endurance athletes in the world. (Gordie Howe is never without a bicycle in the summer.) As well, this simple machine can add five years to your life expectancy.
But if you’re over 40 and it’s your first time out — it may be your last, unless you’ve been doing precycling exercises. Lloyd Percival, director of the Fitness Institute, insists that a checkup with the doctor is a prerequisite to a spin around the block: “Cycling is the best exercise for strengthening the heart and improving the blood circulation. But overdoing it can do more harm than good.”
He suggests a two-week course to loosen muscle tension and prevent straining the back and legs.
Shoulder Shrug: Keep the shoulders loose by lifting them up to the ears and then relaxing. Do 10 times, pause and repeat.
Head Roll: Rotate the head slowly to strengthen neck muscles.
Knee Bends: Bend knees halfway with arms outstretched in front for balance. Do 10 times, pause and repeat. Box Step: Use a box 16 inches high. Step up on one leg to stand on box. Then step down on the same leg. Do 10 times, pause for 30 seconds and repeat with the other leg.
You can wear blue jeans and a sweater cycling, or you can spend a lot of care and money rigging yourself out in high fashion. For the Sunday afternoon ride or country tour, a pair of knickerbockers (about $30), stockings (thickness depends on season) and soft leather shoes are fashionable riding gear for both the man and woman. Fingerless
motoring gloves with chamois palms (about five dollars) and tarn or cap complete the outfit. City riding requires more ingenuity and less fashion. Crash helmets are sensible (although not obligatory). Metal clips should be used for flared pants and thigh-riding minis should be worn only over a pair of long red bloomers (a gust of wind can make it more of a spectacle than a sport).
Because cycling is a sport of social etiquette and pleasure, rules insist that the man who rides abreast with the woman should always be on the outside. If riding single file, the man should remain behind. (The same rule applies for tandem bicycles.) Lady cyclists enjoy the right of way at all times.
BEATING THE JAMS
Rules for city riding vary to accommodate pressure of rush-hour traffic. A certain degree of dexterity, alertness and courage is needed to survive the first three days. But the summertime pleasure of leaving behind a steaming herd of five o’clock motorists is well worth the risks, even for the odd fume in the face.
One daring cyclist (who rides with the millions) has found 10 successful ways to defeat the jams:
1. Leave the office at the usual time but head to the nearest bar.
2. Have a scotch on the rocks. Wait 15 minutes. Have another.
3. Enter the traffic flow with Toad of Toad Hall arrogance.
4. Play gutter roulette. (The game is to ride within five inches of the curb and passing car. If you get to the next stoplight without being knocked off, crashing into
a rear fender or hitting a pedestrian, you’ve won.)
5. Keep a constant eye out for the Scrambler,
the motorist who opens car doors without looking.
6. Stay at least 10 feet behind trucks and buses to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
7. At stoplights or intersections, stay close to the curb. Many motorists make right-hand turns.
8. Stay in the left lane to turn left.
9. When passing another cyclist from the rear, ring bell.
10. Under poor cycling conditions, take a taxi.
Bicycles can be converted, souped up or stripped. Converting a secondhand cycle is simply a matter of buying accessories. Racing handlebars wrapped in adhesive tape with handle plugs cost about six dollars. Mafac centre-pull brakes (used by competitive racers) can replace the sidepull for about $15. Rattrap
Handlebar horn, cable combination lock and tool kit are a cyclist’s basic accessories.
racing pedals with toe clips and straps (about four dollars) will give a better cycling performance (you have to pedal with the ball of your foot). Feeding bottles, kickstands, speedometers and cyclometers are available for the gadget fiend or sporty cyclist. The average rider need only invest in a combination lock, tool kit, tire pump, horn and light.
Along with the bicycle boom has come a renewed interest in competitive racing. Last year, the government established cycling as an A priority sport, along with swimming and hockey (cyclists now have a federal office and representative). Internationally, Canada won a gold, two silver and a bronze medal at the 1970 Commonwealth Games, and the Cycling Association is sending teams to represent Canada at the World Championships in Italy this year (in preparation for the 1972 Olympics in Munich). The National Track Championships will again be held in Winnipeg’s veliodrome in June, while Quebec is initiating its first professional Tour de la Nouvelle France next September. Those interested in competitive cycling should contact Ken Smith, Executive Director of the Canadian Cycling Association, P.O. Box 2020, Postal Station D, Ottawa. □
The story you want is part of the Maclean’s Archives. To access it, log in here or sign up for your free 30-day trial.
Experience anything and everything Maclean's has ever published — over 3,500 issues and 150,000 articles, images and advertisements — since 1905. Browse on your own, or explore our curated collections and timely recommendations.WATCH THIS VIDEO for highlights of everything the Maclean's Archives has to offer.