The Huffy Project
This is my husband’s Huffy SE road bike. He got it back in 1987 when he was in Elementary School and not even big enough to ride it. The story goes that T’s older brother got a new bike from a store that was going out of business and so T. had to get a new bike as well. It sat in his parents’ garage until he was big enough that his feet could touch the pedals. The Huffy then had an interval of active service, after which it was once more relegated to storage in the garage. Until I found it, fell in love with it, and persuaded T. that it would make for a fun ‘newlyweds project’ for us to restore it. (He’s not so sure, but willing to give it a shot).
I think I mainly love the Huffy for its very perfect size and fit for me. It has a shorter top tube than all of the other road bikes I’ve tried in the past, and, since I have a short torso, this makes a big difference in my riding comfort. And I can’t lie; I also love it very much for its aesthetic appeal. The vibrant yellow and blue combo is bold and cheery and it’s what drew T. to the bike when he was a wee one picking out his new ride to show off to his friends.
The Huffy is the first road bike I’ve actually enjoyed riding and that’s saying a lot for this bike, since it actually doesn’t ride all that well (again, I think it’s a matter of fit that’s really propelling this bike high up on my favorability chart). I realize that when people discuss restoring beautiful vintage bikes, they’re not really thinking of a Huffy. The owner of a bike shop we recently visited motioned to his used Huffies and called them ‘cheap department store bikes’. But this particular Huffy just looks so good and comes with such a beautiful back story (to me) that I want to give it a second life.
And my recent ride on it just sealed the deal; This week, I was having a less than great day, and so I decided to go for a longer bike ride to defuse the funk I was in. I took the Huffy and ventured on my first ever solo road bike adventure. I love the long days of summer and how you can still head out at 8 pm, watching the sun set, and catching a bit of a reprise from the hot weather. There is also something about riding a road bike – that forward leaning posture, the momentum, that rush of speed – that makes you feel like you’re going places. While I love my easy-going cruiser for my daily commutes, that more aggressive riding style of the road bike was just what I needed to work out some of my frustration at the end of a long day. I wish I could ride the Huffy on our upcoming RAGBRAI ride, but it’s nowhere near in shape for that kind of undertaking.
As we see it, the Huffy needs new brakes (it just kind of gyrates and sputters when I press down on them now); a new crank (the current one is bent making for a somewhat uneven pedaling motion); a casette; new tires; a general tune-up; and maybe more. So basically, it needs pretty much everything replaced. But I’m really intent on making this our project and learning how to do bike maintanence while restoring this little guy with my husband.
What do you think? Have you ever undertaken something like this with a partner? Any tips or words of advice? Any sites or resources you’ve found useful for this kind of thing? I’d love to hear anything that might help us with this undertaking, which I plan to post about as it progresses. Thank you!