Hello, and welcome back to your favorite Sunday afternoon show on NPR, “Other People’s Bikes”.* I’m your host, Ira Glass.
Today’s specimen comes from yesterday’s visit to ye olde coffee shop. As I was locking up my beloved Raleigh Crested Butte, a woman was also locking up her bike on the next rack. And what was that bike? An 1980’s Schwinn High Sierra.
|Page from the 1985 Schwinn catalog. Don’t know if the bike I spotted is from this year, though.|
The High Sierra was a good basic mountain bike made in Asia for Schwinn, pretty similar to the bikes that Raleigh USA was putting out. I believe the High Sierra was lower down on the lineup, and had Suntour/DiaCompe componentry. Not as covetable as their top-o-the-line Cimmaron, but nothing wrong with them either, nope. They’re fine bikes with an old school geometry that works well for touring purposes. Heck, it’s got braze-ons on the fork! And of course Nick from Gypsy By Trade used one, so you know they’re good.**
What really stood out about this bike was the way it was dressed up. Like my bike, it has a Wald 139 front basket. The big differences are: the High Sierra has a fancy wood-floor basket, and it’s mounted with the traditional struts and handlebar clamps vs. my rack mounted deal. The High Sierra also has a rear rack with collapsable Wald grocery pannier baskets.
All in all a great bike. Another 80’s mountain bike converted for town use. The only thing I would change to it (if this was my bike) would switch the knobbies to slicks. (Though admittedly these tires look original and in good condition.) I could have said something to the owner, but what was she going to think about some random weird guy giving advice about her bike, unsolicited advice? Heck, if she looked up from what she was doing in the coffee shop, she would definitely think I’m weird, snapping photos of her bike.
*Don’t you wish?
**This is known as Nicholas bait.