What's your Urban Cruiser? Urban cruisers tend to come in the shape of rude, sexy ugly bikes that have fond memories of days already gone by with not much practical use other than to ride to get the milk. Those that were comfortable ten plus years ago, or from a distinctive era but now you wouldn't be caught dead riding on it in a training bunch. Unless of course it was a retro ride of less that three-digit figure distance, or you might be sore for weeks. Akin to the vintage car collection collectable bikes are becoming valuable assets to hang on to or hunt down. A Raleigh 20 recently sold on Trademe for nearly $200, when five years ago people had them under the $1 reserve category, or "free to a good home, just pick the piece of crap up."
And so it is the trend for retro bikes as each decade turns over the definition of retro, and antique changes and so do those clicking "bid now" on Trademe or Ebay. Online forums, and second hand websites such as these have opened up a whole host of opportunities to hunt down your former two wheeled love. The chopper was perhaps the first little gem sought after but was originally released in the 60's with the distinctive banana seat and handlebars like motorcycle choppers. Now the low rider versions are everywhere, even in clothing shops decked out with boy bling, along with an estranged version of the 50's Schwinn Black Phantom.
In 1968 Moulton released the Raleigh 20 in the UK, and this slowly became popular once marketed into the 70's and 80's. Morrinson made the New Zealand ones, including my sisters Navy Blue one that I oh so wanted. But instead I went straight for bling with a gold Metro 22 similar to Raleighs version, with white tyres before Stump Jumpers became the new bike to have. That was until recently when I acquired a blue Metro 22 courtesy of Santa Claus, rekindling memories of lapping it up and down the streets with the neighbor hood kids.
Urban cruising isn't just about dinky bikes but also for retro road or mountain bikes. Sticking to sexy ugly bikes that have fond memories my urban cruiser would be the first range of Giant Cadex carbon road frames, with fluorescent blue and purple graphics with Shimano's first dura ace STI (stop laughing…it was the early 90's). It was then my unaffordable dream bike when Miguel Indurain was clocking up his five Tour de France wins and I was just getting into cycling. While the chopper has been added to the collection, along with the track bike, the road bike, the posty bike, and the Metro 22, I can tell you now I won't be hunting down that blue and purple Cadex. The early 90's fluorescence was just plain ugly. Instead I've replaced it on my wish list with a bike that coloured the peloton in the decade I was born: the Brooklyn cycling team Gios, ridden by the legendary Roger de Vlaeminick, and Patrick Serci, equipped with nothing other than Italian Campagnolo.
In twenty years time I will no doubt be watching those twenty years younger than myself ogling at one of Lance's first Tour bikes that is retro to them, and my Metro 22 won't be retro, instead it will be an antique.
Amy Taylor (www.kecycling.com) is a Auckland based Exercise Physiologist and Cycling Coach with a MSc(Hons) in Sports Science. She has been cycling herself for 16yrs and coaches recreational to world champion cyclists, and can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or 021 2888234.