Why a photo of this old bike? Because… – Hasso Hering

HASSO HERING

A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Why a photo of this old bike? Because…

Written September 16th, 2020 by Hasso Hering

This bike has been around a long time and seen different parts of Oregon and California.

Being stuck inside because of wildfire smoke that once again reached the “hazardous” category on Wednesday, I was looking at this old bike hanging in the garage. Then I hauled it out and leaned it against a sequoia for a portrait.

Why? Because 2020, while a rotten year in many ways, also marks a notable anniversary for this Specialized Rock Hopper. It was 30 years ago, in the spring of 1990 that I bought it at Bike ‘n’ Hike in Albany. I needed a sturdy new bike, not too expensive, so that I could join our boys on a loop tour around Mount Hood organized by the Mid-Valley Wheelmen. (That was the name back then. It’s different now.)

Like the bike, Bike ‘n’ Hike is still around, I’m happy to say, keeping this old model going with reliable service every once in a while. If you like cycling, be glad shops like this exist. Support them as a customer. You can buy lesser bikes at big box stores, but forget about getting them fixed there.

I ride other bikes now, but I’m fond of this one. It’s not fancy, but comfortable, forgiving and relatively light.

The frame is made of chromoly. That’s a chrome-alloy steel that’s harder than regular steel and lighter too. Unfortunately it rusts, and this frame shows it.

The bike once rode in the back of my truck, at freeway speed, through a snow and rainstorm in northern California. I can still see the effects of that on the handlebar.

After that loop tour 30 years ago into the Columbia River Gorge and along the back side of Mt. Hood, this bike has been other places too. It’s been ridden in Central Oregon in winter, and it often rolled along the roads near Medford in Southern Oregon in all kinds of weather including blazing summer heat.

It’s gone up and down a segment of the central Oregon coast, and it’s been on the Santa Ana River Trail in Orange County.

One time in California, the saddle wore out and I got a replacement — better than the old one — in Lancaster.  That’s the seat still on the bike.

After 30 years, this old bike is still pretty good, and I hope to ride it again as soon as the air clears up. (hh)


Posted in: Commentary

7 responses to “Why a photo of this old bike? Because…”

  1. HowlingCicada says:

    I wrote a long thing about my bike (1999 steel Rockhopper) and my frustrated desire to buy a new mountain bike (addition, not replacement), but decided not to submit it.

    But, here’s a side note about air quality. If you want the most-recent PM2.5 reading — and not just the AQI hocus-pocus — sometimes the DEQ is up-to-date, sometimes Airnow, sometimes both, sometimes neither.

    DEQ: if you click on a PM2.5 number on the map to see the time graph, some missing points will appear if you mouse-over the graph (don’t know about touch screens). Remember, it’s not on daylight savings time. Also, it re-directs to a non-secure server (in case that bothers you or your browser).

    https://oraqi.deq.state.or.us/home/map
    https://fire.airnow.gov/

  2. Dave M. says:

    I still have my old reliable Rock Hopper from the early 90’s, and still fully functional, although I also have other bikes I ride as well. The RH took took me on self supported camp tours down the Pacific Coast and Oregon and tours in Canada, as well as riding mountain bike tails in the Cascades. A great bike. Thank you Hasso for the ride down memory lane and for your continued perspective from the Mid-Willamette Valley.

  3. Bill Kapaun says:

    I load 60 lbs. of groceries on my 87.

    • HowlingCicada says:

      I do the same, worry about over-stressing the handlebar (aluminum fatigue — good search phrase). My uneducated guess is that downhill braking is worse, but it still bothers me.

  4. Craig says:

    My ol’Waterford was purchased in 1994 from a certain Richard Schwinn. Grandson of Ignaz Schwinn. I was measured by Richard in Waterford Wisconsin. Back then it had all Campy parts.

    I have gone through a lot of wheels and parts. The only thing that is the same is the frame. I rode that bike in 1995 from Bellingham to Gloucester. My Waterford has been all over Oregon. I now consider it my winter bike.

    A good bike is a great investment.

  5. Rebecca Bond says:

    Thank you for the shout out to Bike ‘n’ Hike. A favorite comic depicts a dentist explaining to his patient:, “No, you don’t have to floss between all your teeth…only the ones you want to keep.“ It’s the same with local businesses- patronize them if you want them to be around in the future. A quality bike repair shop is worth hanging onto.

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