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Old 09-20-06, 11:28 AM   #1
cyclintom
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Why I Cycle

Apparently when I was a small child my parents gave me a tricycle. While riding it around I ran off the curb fell and hit my face pretty hard. Knocked out a couple of front teeth.

So my mother wouldn't let me ride that tricycle anymore. No problem since I can't remember it anyway.

When I was about 7 my father was doing something down in the garage and I wasn't allowed to go down there. When my birthday arrived, he took me outside and showed me a balloon tired Rollfast that he'd found somewhere and reconditioned.

It was far too big for me but he put me on the saddle and gave me a push up the sidewalk.

I was flying! The feeling of riding that bicycle was so intense that it was almost orgasmic! I had to lean back and forth over the top tube to pedal the bike. I turned out a driveway, did a u-turn and rode back to the house where my father caught me and I could get off. These days I'd probably be run over by a car but in '52 or so cars weren't much of a problem.

Then it was almost misery since he told me that the bike was too big for me and it would have to stay in the garage until I was big enough. Strangely enough by the next summer it was just the right size and eventually it was sort of small.

But that feeling of being released on two wheels is with me today after 55 or so years. Every time I get on a bicycle I have a little of that same feeling. It's something I love and can't live without. I love to just look at bicycles. Working on them is heavenly. And riding them supplies a surcease from life's less than admirable qualities and makes you believe in life again.

Whoever invented the bicycle is sitting at the right hand of God this very minute and being told by everyone that walks through those Pearly Gates that he made a difference.
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Old 09-20-06, 11:34 AM   #2
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I have enjoyed bike riding since I was a child. I have been hit by cars on two separate occassions, while walking a block from my home. I did not make a big stink out of it because it would have meant that I could not ride my bike that day. At night I have several cycling books and magazines by my bed so I can go to sleep dreaming about bikes. Yeah, I have it bad.








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Old 09-20-06, 12:47 PM   #3
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I really started riding when I was in High School, and we moved out into the country. Then my older brother fell in with a crowd of serious cyclists. They all convinced me to start cycling, so I bought a used Raleigh Record and started to ride about a bit, 5-10 miles at a shot. Then, on my 16th birthday the local cycling club had a overnight ride, 60 miles each way. So I convinced my parents to allow me to go, and it was, to paraphrase, the best of rides and the worst of rides. I had never tried anything like that before. In the middle of the ride there was a 10 mile stretch of road that was tron up to mud (can you say rain?). we walked, slid and slimed our way through. Then a "kindly" gent let us use his hose to wash the mud off us and the bikes. Heck it was 1972 and he only charged us a buck each! Onwards, I bonked big time, but turned down any ride offered by the sag wagon, and got to the campground at least 1 hour later tan anyone else. Then, after a night of cold and frost, and my no tent and only a light sleeping bag, we started home. An I kept up with the group paceline all the way home! And I was Hooked! And the rest is history!
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Old 09-20-06, 02:26 PM   #4
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When I was young, a bike got me from A to B. Then I got a car.

15 years ago I realised that I was losing my fitness faster than I wanted to. Running was out of the question and The wife had a bike that got her from A to B as she did not drive. Borrowed it- liked and got told to go and get my own. Have kept buying bikes since. Incidentally the wifes bike is now at the back of the bike shed as she now has a car. No more A to B for either of us but My wife has a demanding physical job that keep her fit and no wish to cycle. I have 3 main bikes that keep me fit and no wish to work.
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Old 09-20-06, 03:08 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyclintom
Whoever invented the bicycle is sitting at the right hand of God this very minute and being told by everyone that walks through those Pearly Gates that he made a difference.
Perhaps he is not sitting at the right hand of God, but is his stoker on a tandem?
God to inventer "Since you invented this bicycle thing, I haven't created a thing"
Inventer to God "You have created some pretty awesome quads, keep 'em working, we have a ways to go before we get to the top of this hill and can see the Madonna del Ghisallo!"
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Old 09-20-06, 03:21 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by sauerwald
Perhaps he is not sitting at the right hand of God, but is his stoker on a tandem?
God to inventer "Since you invented this bicycle thing, I haven't created a thing"
Inventer to God "You have created some pretty awesome quads, keep 'em working, we have a ways to go before we get to the top of this hill and can see the Madonna del Ghisallo!"

Naaaah. God saying"If you pedal- we can kill this hill" Stokers reply is "If you steer the damn thing- I'll Stop reading the manual on how to get the bike working"
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Old 09-20-06, 03:22 PM   #7
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From the first time my dad let go of the handlebars and let me fly down Madison Street without training wheels, I loved that magical feeling of whee! I always had a bicycle or two until this one stretch of my life in my mid-thirties. I got busy and career-oriented. Too busy for fun, I guess. Then one day right after I got fired from a job I didn't like, suddenly finding myself with a little too much spare time, I walked into a bike shop and bought a cruiser. It was red and heavy and had spongy handlebars. I hopped on that thing and rediscovered my happiness. I about wore that bike out. And I haven't been without a bicycle or two since.
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Old 09-20-06, 05:18 PM   #8
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When I was 14 or 15, my parents signed me up for a Youth Hostel trip on Cape Cod. Maybe a dozen teenagers, riding Cape Cod, Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard, staying nights at hostels. I don't know where Mom & Dad ever heard of such a thing, but I had such a fine time that I was hooked, did more youth hostel trips while in high school, and kept riding afterwards.

BTW on the cycling trip we all had 3 speeds ("English racers"), I was really proud of mine. At one of the youth hostels on Cape Cod, a young woman had the strangest bike, it had external gear sprockets on the rear wheel. She explained to me that it was an Italian bike, and had a derailer (I didn't know how to spell it correctly until much later.) I'd never seen anything like it -- it was one of the coolest things I'd ever seen, so I resolved to get one of them as soon as I could, which I did maybe 3 years later at the age of 18.
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Old 09-20-06, 06:39 PM   #9
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I'm in the middle of a week long trip to No. Cal. and there's no time for cycling, even if I could find a place to rent a bike. I'm soooooooooooooooo missing my bike and this thread ain't helping at all! More!,More!
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Old 09-20-06, 09:03 PM   #10
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I'm in the middle of a week long trip to No. Cal. and there's no time for cycling, even if I could find a place to rent a bike.
Give me a call and I'll see if we can fit you with a bike to ride out to Alameda and back on.
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Old 09-20-06, 11:05 PM   #11
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I had ridden bikes as a kid. When I was ten or so, I delivered papers on a balloon tire bike. When I was in junior high, I had a heavy steel Peugeot 10-speed. I was riding to a friend's house one day; the roads were wet from some rain, and as I went around a corner, the rear wheel collapsed and I went down. I didn't ride any bikes until I was 21, when I bought another heavy steel bike. But something changed. I had a feeling of euphoria on my first few rides. Laying in bed that night, my body could still feel the sensations of the bike, and I dreamed of flying along the road.

Yeah, it really did change my life. I guess some people their kicks from cocaine, and mere alcohol doesn't thrill me at all, but I sure get a kick out of riding the bike (to very loosely paraphrase Cole Porter).

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Old 09-21-06, 05:35 AM   #12
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Man always wanted to fly.........and going downhill on a bike at any speed is about a close to flying as you can get. More appropriate is the comparison to a sailplane. Those who you who have any sailplane time will also know what I mean.

Its just W H E E E E E E E........................................
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Old 09-21-06, 07:08 AM   #13
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My father was instrumental in my love of bikes too. He held a part-time job for several summers putting together swingsets for folks who bought them from this particular hardware store (remember when hardware stores sold just about anything?). I helped him one summer, and at the end of the summer he presented me with a brand new red "Ross" single speed with coaster brakes. I was in heaven. After thanking him, showing it to my two brothers, I took off down the alley behing our home. I didn't get more than two blocks, before I thought I'd show off, hit the brakes hard and put it into a skid. Unfortunately, I skid right into the back of my neighbor's station wagon, breaking his tail light and getting a flat on the front tire. I'll never forget walking the bike back to my house with tears in my eyes, fearful that I was a disapointment to my father. He was pretty stoic about it. I remember him walking with me to the neighbor's house to tell him what I had done, and that he would pay for the tail light and I could repay him over the next few months out of my paper route money. He also showed me how to repair the flat. I especially remember him asking how I thought I should get the tire off the rim. I suggested a screw driver. He said I should go ahead and try it that way. Of course, I tore up the tube with the screw driver. It was at that point that he said, "Son, some jobs require special tools, and you just can't do 'em right without those tools." So, we walked to the hardware store and I got my first set of bicycle tire levers. I still have those levers. Compared to the ones you get today, these are pretty close to a screwdriver. So, to me that first bicycle and all that went with it, taught me a lot about growing up and also provided thrill after thrill for the next four or five summers.
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Old 09-21-06, 10:14 AM   #14
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I can remember all of the bikes I have had, from my first 16" wheeled bike with the Vrooom "motor", to the current ones I hae now, and most of the crashes. Most of my early bikes have been hand me down, POS's, probably why I can't understand why anyone would want a single speed.
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Old 09-21-06, 07:06 PM   #15
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Single speed balloon coaster bikes have to be ridden to be appreciated. They ride like GLASS even on bad roads. Well, they do if you only weigh 65 lbs and the tires are pumped up to 75 psi. They really do seem to fly rather than roll along the ground.

Those early Peugeot and other French derailer (OK, derailleur) bikes were cheaply made and all, but they rode like few others even to this day. Try riding one around the block if you can find one that fits you and you'll be shocked at what good ride quality they have. I had a UO-10 that I converted to a "real" bike and man did it ride nicely.
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Old 09-22-06, 09:24 AM   #16
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Bike riding has literally saved my life. It gave me a reason and a way to have a life again. I lost my job due to a mental illness after being in the work force for 30 years. The local (LOCO) mental health center had me so doped up that I was a drooling zombie and slept 16 to 18 hours a day. Also got fat for the first time in my life and you have to stay out of the sun and hot temperatures with the meds. Life was NOT worth living. So I quit the meds after 4 years and went back to bike riding,which I couldn't do on the then current drug regimen I was on, to so called-help- me. I doubt if I ever will return to full time work but I have a lot of time to ride my bike

I don't mean to hijack this thread. Just needed to say how bikes can be a life saver.

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Old 09-22-06, 09:32 AM   #17
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I also cycle because it was one
of the only expressions of power
and freedom I had as a youth, and
one that I almost had to 'sneak' away
to- to find that freedom.

It all works out now for a nice chance
at a get-away now and again in old
age. And I feel just as free and as
empowered at 55 that I did at age 11.

I can't make any pretense of being an
athelete, (never could) but I enjoy the
exercise and the adventure of the thing,
even to this day. Bike riding is just a nice
little joy of life. Beats being starved
to death, or murdered in some
other part of the world.

I am a grateful bicycle rider too!
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Old 09-22-06, 10:54 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by littledog
I don't mean to hijack this thread. Just needed to say how bikes can be a life saver.
On the contrary, this is what this thread, and cycling, are really all about. Many thanks for being so candid and sharing this.
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Old 09-22-06, 11:38 AM   #19
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I don't mean to hijack this thread. Just needed to say how bikes can be a life saver. littledog
Maybe you missed the title of the thread. You provided another reason that is perhaps a great deal more important than my simple joy in cycling. You have my thoughts and I hope you continue to improve.
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Old 09-30-06, 11:51 AM   #20
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Man, what a powerful thread! You've said it well. I was an avid golfer (still like to play) but was getting old, fat and out of shape quickly. I still remember the night I decided to do something about it. It was a friend's Christmas part in December 2005. Too much drinking and eating . . . I've never felt so bloated and fat. It scared me. I think it was two days later I bought decent entry-level road bike. Ten mile rides at 13-14 mph were hard at first. Now I'm much faster, climb better and recently rode my first century. I've ridden almost 3K this year - - not much for some folks - - but considering my other commitments I'm pleased. Cycling is so different from other hobbies or sports. It can actually become an integral part of your life. I still want to lose more weight but at 51 I'm in way better shape than most of my friends!
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Old 09-30-06, 11:55 AM   #21
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littledog you've proven what we all know . . . stress-relief doesn't have to come from a pill bottle (or any bottle for that matter)! Keep it up!
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