There are many parallels that can be drawn between the financial histories of Harley-Davidson motorcycles and Schwinn bicycles.
They were both started by innovative and entrepreneurial citizens who sought to create an essentially American vehicle, in doing so created a legend, have both experienced vast wealth generated by their brands and the lifestyle their cycles offered.
Unfortunately, neither has been able to successfully move their brands into the 21st century — providing their current market with new, authentic models or generating a fresh market. Sometimes it’s better to enjoy specimens from their heyday like this Schwinn Pea Picker.
The Pea Picker was one of the numerous models Schwinn released during the 60s, in the midst of the muscle car and bike era. In California, kids were emulating bobber-style motorbikes by customizing their bicycles with ape hanger bars, a dragster-style wheel configuration, sissy bars, and low-rider saddles.
In 1962, Schwinn sent engineer Al Fritz west on a reconnaissance mission, and by 1963, the Sting-Ray entered the market and the legend was born.
There’s another interesting correlation residing within this bike. It’s in the private collection of Milwaukee Bicycle Co, the product arm of Ben’s Cycle and Fitness, a local bike store located, coincidentally, in Milwaukee.
The fine frames they purvey are manufactured by Waterford Precision Cycles who is owned by Richard Schwinn, whose family founded the Schwinn Bicycle Company. What do they put in the beer in Milwaukee?
Check out the rest of the MKE Bicycle Co archive on their flickr set, after being in the bicycle retail business for 80 years, you can expect that they’ve amassed quite a collection.