Cycling the Circuit

I know how I go on about my 1988 Schwinn Circuit. Every spring, when it is more consistently in use as my so-called "beater" bike, I marvel over its smooth ride, sleek looks, and its sheer speed. Despite being 33 years old, I would never even think about getting rid of this bicycle.

In its day, the Circuit was a top-quality machine, coming in at just under 24 pounds and featuring such outstanding components as a San Marco saddle and Cinelli handlebar. It also is equipped with Shimano indexed shifting, which was relatively new at the time. This was all before Chicago-based Schwinn declared bankruptcy in 1992 and thereafter, according to people better informed than myself, began making junk for a number of years.

My Schwinn never disappoints.

Searching on Google, I located a number of sales brochures produced by Schwinn and this is what they had to say about the Circuit in 1988:

— "The Circuit is a pure-bred road racer that features chrome aero fork and rear aero stays."

— "Comprehensively designed for lightweight speed and the unique demands of competitive racing. The Circuit blends state of the art indexed shifting with European racing frame tubing for maximum competitive advantage."

— "Built to compete against the Italians (bicycle makers)."

A number of years ago, I was participating in the Seacoast Century that travels through Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. I happened to be riding my Circuit for the 100-mile trek, and this fellow cyclist came up alongside me and said, "That bike is a classic." I couldn't agree more.

During the same Google session I mentioned earlier, I noticed a Circuit on eBay selling for $500. I paid around $1,000 for mine when it was new, so the bike is holding some of its value. But again, you'll never see a "for sale" sign hanging from my oldest bike.

Ride on!

I'm delighted to see registrations popping up for "live" cycling events this year, as organizers are attempting to pedal out of the pandemic. Last year was no fun, with the brakes put on pretty much everything, here in Maine and everywhere else.

The one gathering of cyclists that did take place — which I participated in — was the Cadillac Challenge in October on Maine's Mount Desert Island. To my knowledge, and what I witnessed, health and safety rules were eagerly adhered to and people had a good time ... until the rain arrived. So it can be done. And with people now obtaining the COVID-19 vaccination, one would hope the situation is greatly improving.

Some of the bike bashes slated so far for 2021 include the Maine Lighthouse Ride (September 11) and the Seacoast Century (September 25), both of which I've done two or three times. And the Bicycle Coalition of Maine has three separate happenings: the Women's Ride (June 5), BikeMaine Weekend (September 11-12), and Maine Woods Rambler (September 26). I'm sure more will find their way onto the calendar.

It's nice that a bit of normalcy is returning to the cycling scene. If riders just use common sense and refrain from launching "snot rockets," we should be in good shape. Stay safe on your bicycle!

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