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1981 Schwinn Town and Country Tri-Wheeler in Sky Blue

Submitted by on July 5, 2010 – 10:52 pm33 Comments

First of all, I think that most people would be surprised that you can put a Schwinn trike in the back of a Scion xB. All you have to do is lower the handlebars:

I know that the guy that I bought it from was surprised. In fact, he said, “No way”. Now, if I had a nickel for every time that I showed up to buy  bike and someone said that, well, I’d have a butt-load of nickels. But I don’t. What I have instead are two Schwinn trikes. This lovely 1981 model is in a color that Schwinn called “Sky Blue”:

I wouldn’t call it “Sky Blue” myself, it seems more like a Royal Blue. But that is what Schwinn called it, despite the fact that they offered the Tri-Wheeler (in some years, not 1981) in a very pretty light blue. Look how nice the chain-gaurd is:

Secondly: can a guy really justify having two of these Schwinn Tri-Wheelers? The short answer here is, “Yes”. It’s simply a matter of displaying the technological advances made by Schwinn over a decade of manufacturing these trikes. My 1970 Schwinn Town and Country Tri-Wheeler in Campus Green had the earliest type of hub made by Schwinn on thse trikes:

The above photo isn’t the best, but it shows how simply the trike was driven. When you pedal it, the chain goes to that rear hub and turns it. There is another chain on the left side of the trike that drives only the left wheel. The right wheel is a free wheel and just follows the bike. The result is an odd ride, and a trike that essentially wants to go in circles. You get used to it, but it’s a very weird vehicle to ride. The upshot of all of this is that Schwinn ultimately introduced a rear differential, which is what my 1981 three-speed model has:

Basically, this one drives both wheels. I was praying that this trike would have the differential when I was driving to get it. The guy that I bought it from didn’t know anything about these vehicles, and I just wanted to pick it up before he changed his mind. He listed it on CL for $100, the exact same amount that I paid for my other one, and I think he got like 100 emails and calls about it. When I got to his warehouse where he worked to pick up the trike, he said, “Do you think that I’m selling it for too cheap?” I said, “Nah.”

The electrical tape is a nice touch.

I’ve already taken the tape off and it looks beautiful underneath. This pic shows the only decal that didn’t survive, the down-tube decal. The worst of the surface rust will come off with no problem:

Nice headbadge, July of 1981 model:

Here is a photo of the rear:

The rear reflectors are both gone, and one of the basket handles is broken. I’m on a mission to acquire these articles, so please contact me if you have them! This trike was as dirty as any bicycle that I have ever encountered when I got it. The basket, which should be white, looked as though it had been spray-painted black. However, as I started to wipe it down a bit, I realized that the paint on this trike is beautiful:

Wait until I get the whole thing cleaned up and waxed:

So, finally, do I need two of these things?

Heck no. Do I love these incredibly ungainly, dorky old-man rides? Yes. There is also the very slight possiblity that my wife might actually ride one of them with me. She thinks that bicycling is unsafe, and I would argue that these are about as safe as you can get, at least as far as just falling over goes.

Plus……how can you have a Schwinn Trike race if you don’t have two of them?


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Michael W. Hubbard

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