The yellow fenders. These are the first things you notice on Annie Adams’ 90’s Schwinn Highplane, that has, to the surprise of Annie, survived far longer than she expected. Even the former owner, Annie’s mother, can’t believe it.
“That’s not my old bike,” Annie’s mother has said.
“It is, Mom. I swear.”
“It can’t be.”
“I just added yellow fenders. It is.”
Her mother still hasn’t been convinced.
The incredulity from Annie’s mother makes sense though. Annie has transformed the Highplane into a highly personalized primary mode of transportation. When you see Annie on her bike, it’s hard to believe it ever belonged to anyone else. They are perfect for each other. Both you can see from hundreds of yards away: Annie’s bright blond hair and the Highplane’s bright yellow fenders. Both are incredibly hardworking.
When not riding her bike, Annie works as a graphic designer, marketing specialist, and bike advocate. She works on Urbana’s Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Committee and she and friend Cynthia Hoyle have started the monthly event Lunar Cycle Ride that promotes casual, fun cycling for all ages. Annie rides her Highplane during the event.
A lot of cyclists would consider the Highplane an odd choice for Annie’s purposes of commuting and exercise. There are a lot of other bikes that can go a lot faster.
Annie explains her decision and how she modified the bike to fit her needs:
“When I was commuting with it 18 miles a day on the Chicago lakefront I added wheels that made it somewhat faster. But the main reason I got the bike, was I wanted to slow myself down on the mixed-use, totally packed, lakefront trail. I also discovered that I enjoyed riding more slowly, more upright and looking around at stuff. I also got in a better workout, because it was so heavy and not designed for speed.
“I added front and back lights and bright yellow Planet Bike fenders to keep dirt off and create higher visibility on the road.
“I added a couple Crane brass bells. Turns out people don’t mind moving out of your way, if they think an ice cream truck is behind them!
“When I moved to Urbana I added a heavy metal double back basket to carry stuff around in.”
Due to its resilience and versatility, this bike has become a surprise champion for Annie. Look carefully and you can see them working and enjoying life all around CU, even in the winter!
“This is my winter riding bike. I can destroy the bike and not feel bad. When I got it, I thought it would last about 50 miles. But, this thing just keeps on going!”