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My Schwinn with Bendix automatic shift

Today as I was biking to Rec Hall to play basketball, I thought about the second bicycle I ever owned. I saved up for this bike the summer after we moved to State College. We lived in a big, red house owned by the Lutheran church at the corner of Beaver and Garner. (They tore it down to build the church that now stands there, forcing us to move into the brown brick house down the street on the corner of Foster and Garner.) My father had my brothers and I engaged in various landscaping activities on the property. At the end of each day we found our "pay" under our pillow: one silver dollar. I kept my silver dollars in a glass jar until I had 35 saved, at which time we went to Sears so I could buy a new Schwinn bike. The most marvelous thing to me about this bike is that it had what was called a "Bendix Automatic Coaster Brake."
(from http://www.bunchobikes.com/auto.htm)
Bendix Automatic Coaster Brake

With the Bendix Automatic system, pedaling backward not only put on the coaster break but also shifted from low to high or high to low gear. Some of my friends had the fancier "English bikes" with three speeds on the handle bar, but I was very happy with my two-speed.

When I was in second or third grade I entered a "bicycle rodeo" sponsored by the State College Optimists Club in the parking lot of the Westerly Parkway shopping center. They had all sorts of fun contests, including a kind of maze where to goal was to get through the maze as quickly as possible without your tires hitting the lines on either side of the track. I won third place in that event, which earned me a spring-loaded carrier for the back of my bike. One of my great childhood thrills.

I rode the bike all around campus when I lived in West Halls. I never bothered to lock it to a rack; I just locked the back wheel to the frame and leaned it against the outside of Hamilton Hall, next to the driveway between that dorm and Waring. Three years I parked it there without problems.

After I graduated and moved to Rochester, New York, I took the bike with me. I lived in a house on Lake Avenue which has since been torn down to build a MacDonalds. (Story of my life: institutions tearing down my home.) I kept the bike chained to a pole in the basement of the house, which was locked. Someone somehow got into the basement and stole the bike. I miss it.