The above image is what the Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 originally looked like - not mine, you understand, but out-of-the-box "New". "New" back in 1981, the same year I was born."
The "Shiny Frenchman" term is my loving combination of the fact that the bike is chromed steel and bears as a name, the term often associated with the French-Canadian trapper/explorers of days gone by... and this cultural/historical fact is best noted by the additional 'u' in 'Voyageur'. (If my history is bogus on this, please don't burst my bubble - frankly, I just like the name.)
There's also the sideways reference to the great cycling movie, "The Flying Scotsman" mixed in as part of the mystique.
Anyhow, I've found that fixing up and dealing with American steel beasties is a fun little game of conversions and mix-matched parts... what a joy! (sarcasm mixed with scent of challenge)
The parts for this bike have been selected and gifted me as Christmas presents and the like, and my hope is to create a fun all-weather bike with capabilities of following 'real' trails as well as going on commutes and family rides. Certainly I've got bikes enough for most of these endeavors... but the Shiny Frenchman will be my well-loved 'beater' bike that I won't feel bad taking on the trails, or be worried when I go over a curb or two.
Its been a lesson in plan-adaptation in getting things to 'go' for this bike.
I want it to be 'right' and everything to work, but the facts of age and non-standard parts (read: not parts made once the European size systems had taken over) has made this project a little more involved than I'd like.
But since I daresay that no one who will likely read this will share enough interest to invest the minutes necessary to read of the trials involved, I will simply post a photo of the (nearly) finished product...
Since this picture was taken, I've switched out the regular platform pedals for my platforms with clipless adapters built in, and I changed the seat out for one that's much more 'dashing'.
The only other issue is that I believe the brake pads are original to the frame, and therefore it stops like the Titanic turns... not so much. This will be remedied soon, since I've also hooked up my son's biketrailer-hitch, which only adds to the stopping conundrum.
However, I'm really pleased with how things are turning out on it. Its comfortable, utilitarian, and has a semi-vintage 'flash' to it... ah, how nice.
(Many thanks to Michael and his "Carbon Rocket" for making all of this a possibility.)