I first saw Cathy and Jimmy while browsing Pinterest for pictures of Schwinn bikes. While scrolling down an endless feed of pictures I couldn't help but pause when I saw a beaming bride and groom standing in front of a blue Schwinn. I had to know more! I quickly contacted the photographer, Jill Corona, from her blog, The Little Crown, and asked if she could get me in touch with Cathy and Jimmy.
A few weeks later I was on the phone with the energetic young couple.
I have to ask you guys my favorite question to ask all married couples! How did the two of you first meet?
Cathy: Do you want the long version or the short version?
Oh, definitely the long version!
Cathy: Jimmy and I had this mutual friend, Kim who had always wanted to set us up, but it never really worked out until a Halloween party in 2010. Jimmy had gotten really into it that year and had spent all day trying to create the most realistic zombie costume possible. He went all out, white contacts, gloves, everything.
Jimmy: Cathy was at the party with some of her friends and when our friend went to introduce us...
Cathy: I said, “I’m sure you’re a nice guy, but I can’t even look at you!”
It wasn't until 6 months later when they would see each other again at another party hosted by a mutual friend.
Cathy: He came up to me and told me a joke and we both ended up knowing a bunch of them in the same genre. We spent the rest of the night laughing and sharing the ones we knew. At the end of the night, Jimmy asked if he could call me and I told him he could get my number from his friend Kim, but really I thought that would be the end of it.
But the next day I couldn't stop thinking about him. I knew he was hanging out with our friend Kim, so I found a way to set up a time for us to walk our dogs together the next day. We haven’t been apart since.
Within a few months, Jimmy’s dog moved in with Cathy, then Jimmy moved in, within a year they were engaged, and they married less than 10 months later on January 5th, 2013.
Did you ever have any worries about it moving so quickly?
Cathy: No, things moved quickly, because we both knew what we were looking for and we found that in each other. Even after being married for a year we still feel like we are in the honeymoon phase.
How important was biking to both of you before you met?
Jimmy: Less than a year before I met Cathy my good friend got me into bikes, I had Schwinn bikes growing up, but I treated them hard like any boy does. My friend had a garage full of vintage Schwinn bicycles. I bought one from him, and then I bought more on my own. I currently have about seven vintage Schwinn bikes in my garage. The first bike I got Cathy was a '66 Schwinn Starlet with a tank; she fell in love with it!
Cathy: When we first got together he had maybe three, and I liked them too, but I didn't know what it was all about.
Jimmy: At one point when we had moved in together I had 11!
Cathy: I have started to get into it too, when we went on our vacation in Tucson we found a copper tandem Schwinn, and this time I decided we needed to have it.
The thing with Jimmy is that he has this strict philosophy that you should respect the original bike. He never replaces the paint of a bike, instead he buffs it until it shines, because he loves the character of it. Sometimes I try to describe the pros and cons of each Schwinn bike, but I almost always refer to Jimmy.
Jimmy: Most of the bikes I've refurbished. I’ll buy them in really terrible condition, rusted, oxidized, and I’ll just slowly start cleaning it. Part by part, often times while on the floor watching TV. I would just use some Coca Cola and aluminum foil and just start buffing it to fix the chrome and make it shine like new again.
Cathy: His favorite bike right now is his '57 Schwinn Spitfire. When he first got it, it was brown; it was supposed to be red.
Jimmy: I just kept buffing it, removing the rust with a deoxidizing compound, and re-waxed it until it finally came back to this really radiant red.
Cathy: Oh, before we got married Jimmy’s favorite was this Black American Tank Schwinn.
Jimmy: (laughs) They’re both my favorites. I found the Black American Tank with a working light, I didn’t even chance the bulb! It is the original, and it actually still works. That doesn’t usually happen!
Why did you decide to incorporate biking and Schwinn into your wedding?
Cathy: We were really trying to find a way to put our personality into our wedding and biking is such a big part of our lives. We asked our wedding coordinator if bikes would even be allowed to be incorporated. Her first comment was that no one had ever asked her that before, but then she just said, "What do you want to do?'"
I saw a picture of the wedding party with Schwinn bicycles as well. Was everyone on board?
Cathy: Kim was a bit nervous. She was Jimmy’s 'best woman' and was worried, because she was supposed to ride the bike in public while wearing her dress. Dresses and bikes don’t seem like the best combination. But we got her a long dress and it all worked out.
There is a picture of Jimmy riding a Schwinn down the aisle. How did the crowd respond to that?
Jimmy: It actually wasn’t just me, but all the best people did.
Cathy: The crowd was really surprised. Before they came out the song, ‘Bike’ by Pink Floyd started playing. We chose it because there is this one line that goes…
Jimmy: (starts singing the song) ‘You're the kind of girl that fits in with my world. I'll give you anything, everything if you want things.’
Cathy: The rest of the words are a bit odd, but that line is perfect and it’s a great song to ride a bike down the aisle to.
Jimmy: It just fit the theme. The crowd didn't know what was happening right away when they heard the song, but when the bikes came out it made sense and they loved it.
The bikes stayed parked outside the reception area which was held in a barn to complement the couple's New England roots.
What role has biking played in your life post-wedding?
Jimmy: We frequently ride especially if we want to get out of the house, check out the neighborhood and houses for sale, or go to the local farmers market. We were going to yard sales on bikes for a while.
Cathy: That ended up getting hysterical! We started with just buying small things that we could put in our baskets, but then Jimmy bought a Rototiller! He had to balance it on the bike all the way home, because he refused to go get the car. We have found ways to carry a lot of things on our bikes.
Cathy: A lot of our friends are getting bikes now too. Recently we went and checked out Christmas lights together. Jimmy also got one of our friends set up with a double basket in the back and she had to go to the grocery store right away to try it out!
Jimmy: There is also a bar just 3 miles away that we will often meet friends at.
Cathy: We go out bar hopping on the bikes, or we've gotten involved in events like the Tour de Fat.
Jimmy: It’s always something more fun than serious and often there is some kind of drinking component.
Cathy: This year at the Tour de Fat we wore Handlebar mustaches!
So you just celebrated your first anniversary; congratulations! What kind of advice would you offer other newlyweds?
Cathy: We weren’t expecting a question like that. Let me think…
Jimmy: Live together first!
Jimmy: You get to really know the person you will be with that way…
Cathy: Marry someone who makes you happy, while you’re dating. My mom always used to say that when you are dating is when you’ll be happiest, but we actually keep getting happier. The person you are with should make you happy, make you laugh, and always support you no matter what, they should be your best friends and your right hand.
Jimmy: Marry someone who is also not completely like you, but has different interests and likes different things than you. Like you need to find the balance of differences and similarities to keep things light, fun, and interesting.
To see more photos by Jill Corona, head over to her blog and don't forget to peruse through the Schwinn site for some vintage inspired cruisers! From the Krate to the original Sting-Ray and the Classic 1, there's something for every Schwinn enthusiast. As Jimmy and Cathy have shown, you never know where a Schwinn adventure might lead!