Friday, March 9, 2012

Ride Down Memory Lane, Part One

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment