By Mark S. McDonald
First, you should know that I’m no Bob Vela with my hands and quake in dread fear at two things — the next bill out of Congress and the words “some assembly required.” To my sheer surprise and utter joy, the cardboard shipping crate carrying my Schwinn Runaround Cruiser arrived on schedule, with all the parts intact.
Even still in parts, the bike, in form and function, appeared to be a 10-speed version of the Schwinn that friends and I rode through the outskirts of Houston, long about the time Spring Branch (now almost inner city) was a little bit country and a little bit rock n’ roll. Back then, our fat-tired Schwinns had two speeds — fast and tired. Better yet, the instruction manual did not require an emergency call to a structural engineer.
Where one customer assembled his bike in 30 minutes, I needed 1 hour, 40 minutes and just one BandAid for a busted knuckle. Don’t go by me. Tools-challenged, I stare at a 5 mm hex-head wrench in wonder. The very function of a screwdriver eludes me.
Once I took a couple test drives, I realized two things: 1. Mr. Wizard here had the handle bar upside down (derrrrr, no wonder my back was stiff); 2. I thought my body came with a padded seat as standard equipment. Not so. Forty-five minutes on board gave this wimpola the early stages of saddle chap. My next purchase will be bike britches.
One cautionary note: As a newbie returning to the bike lane after 50 years in a car, I did not realize that size matters. At least in fitting to a bike, it does.
I stand 6-2, weigh 260 and wear a 34-inch inseam. I am barely — and I do mean barely — long enough in the rise to tame an XL Cruiser. Make sure you buy the right size.
Not the bike’s fault, not at all. Indeed, I gauge my Schwinn Runaround Cruiser — made in China, distributed through Wisconsin by a retailer in Maine – to be a strong value for the dollar.
Godspeed and a tailwind !