The big Fuller Center Spring Bicycle Adventure begins with orientation on Saturday, and we ride out of Nashville toward Jackson on Sunday. In anticipation of spending a few hours on a bike over the course of a week, I started thinking about all the bikes I've ridden.
1) I remember seeing a photo of me on a little (probably red) tricycle, but I don't actually remember that one. I may have had another bike or two when I was very young ~ if so, that's lost to my memory.
2) The next one I remember is a single speed, bmx-style bike with coaster brakes. I rode that one around and around on the gravel road on the property where we lived. On that bike, I learned to ride a wheelie, 'peel out', and lock the brakes in a long skid.
One day, I tried a big jump of a little hill. The jump was great. The landing, however, found me on my butt on a flat slab of rock immediately before the bike found itself on my head. Fifteen stitches later and a few weeks of healing later, I was back at it. I believe the scars are still visible.
I rode that bike from the time it fit me 'til I had extended the saddle too far out of the seat tube that it bent backward. Before long, my butt was only a few inches above the rear wheel ~ before long, it was time for a different bike.
3) I was jealous of my friends who had bikes with gears that they could change. One Christmas, I'm sure after my parents got sick of me incessantly bugging them about it, I came out to find a shiny new 10-speed ready for me to ride. I learned to shift gears, work the brakes with my hands, and manage a much higher center of gravity.
4) I rode that one around for a while, until I outgrew it ~ but I still wanted to ride. I wanted to ride like Connie Carpenter, who had just won the Olympic women's road race. My dad knew a guy who spent a lot of time cycling, and who was willing to sell us a road bike that he had rebuilt. It had good components, was in good condition, and had a very cool paint job. While most bikes are smooth and shiny, this one was textured and painted matte black. Of course, I was a growing teenager and couldn't ride that one forever.
5) I inherited the bike my dad was riding, got geared up with a Campagnolo cycling hat, padded gloves, and cleated shoes. I was big-time, riding miles up and down the country roads. I kept that bike for years, riding it regularly in high school and occasionally in college.
It was on this bike that I began to discover the wonder of the freedom of urban cycling. I rode around San Antonio some, one summer evening listening to a free Stray Cats concert for a while before riding around again on empty downtown streets.
6) I still rode that yellow bike in seminary, but discovered that it was inadequate for singletrack mountain biking. There was a bike shop about a mile from my apartment, though, that was happy to sell me a relatively inexpensive mountain bike. I took a couple months getting that bike set up exactly like I wanted it. It worked well on mountain trails, and it worked well as a commuter bike. The yellow one didn't get much use any more.
Both the mountain bike and the yellow road bike moved with me to California; but neither got much use. After a couple months, we moved from a terrible apartment to a lovely little cottage. However, there was very little room in that cottage for two bikes that didn't get used. I put the yellow bike outside, and within about 5 minutes, it made its way down the street with someone who would get more use out of it than I was at the time.
I rode the mountain bike as a commuter vehicle while we were in Eugene, OR. I rode it to the nursing home where I was a chaplain, and later I rode it to the group home where I worked between internship and my first call as a pastor. And when we moved to Longmont, CO, with only one car, I rode that bike as a commuter vehicle.
That's enough for one blog post ~ I'll put the rest of the bikes up later.
Let the adventure continue.