Like most people, I have known how to ride a bike for a long time. I remember my first hand-me-down, yellow, girl-tubed Schwinn I learned to ride on. The red Schwinn Stingray I inherited from my cousin. I have fond memories of my first dirt-bike with the Enduro number plate on the front my brother and his friend Darren painted and put together for my birthday. That was followed by the black and white Toys R’ Us Huffy 10spd with spongy grips on the drop bars (I thought the Team Murray was stupid and the Stu Thompson series even worse.. Stu-pid). I got that because that is what I saw Jim Murray, the paper-boy riding. That bike sucked. As a pre-teen I bought the neighbor’s 1980 chrome Mongoose BMX and tried to polish it up to look as nice as the new Fisher, Haro and Diamondback BMX bikes that were popular at the time. At the same time we dredged up the great Clipper by Columbia, a massive early 29er with super-fat tires and coaster brakes; the precursor of the mountain bike. That thing had no end to its crank range. These were all tickets to childhood independence and misused as a means to sneak off to the store to blow pocket money on: doughnuts, Laffy Taffy, Red Vines, Shasta, Fruit Pies, Hostess-anything for that matter, Fruit Rollups, Charleston Chews, Powdered Donette Gems, Nestle Quick, A&W Root Beer, Runts, Fun Dip… crap! It was wonderful. Income from becoming a paper route mogul made the issue of biking to the store a more serious enterprise. Once I bought a car I put the bike down and would drive or skateboard. Finally before moving to Taiwan when my car was no longer insurable, I used a Specialized Rockhopper that was about 3 sizes too big.
Now I am a quasi-roadie who is totally addicted to cycling and everything about it.
It is amazing what we become. Ten years ago I would never have thought I’d be lusting for bikes and following the Giro every night. These surprises make life so worth it!