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Old 09-16-07, 06:52 PM   #1
Monoborracho
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They just showed up at the door

One thing we do on Sunday morning is to feed donuts and sausage biscuits to the teenagers at church. I overheard one 14 yr old freshman telling my wife about biking around town and out in the country with friends and riding almost 15 miles yesterday. I overhear her say "ah, you should talk to my husband, he does that all the time". The long and short is that I invite them to ride anytime, even this afternoon.

In the middle of my nap (after some fine Italian dining) the door knocker jolts me awake and there are two teenagers standing at the door wanting to check their bikes and go ride 20 miles Another teenager is on his way. I do a quick tune up on two mid-grade (Shimano Alivio grade) mountain bikes (Iron Horse) and one Wal Mart bike. One kid's rear brakes are dragging all the time. All the chains are filthy or rusty and have trouble shifting. None of them quite understand about gear ratios and cross chaining. One has no brakes that really work. We finally give up on tuning the Wal Mart bike and I offer one kid my spare 90's Schwinn Mesa 7-spd Shimano STX cro-mo to ride. I take my other Schwinn Mesa (now 9 speed LX equipped with 1.9 inch Specialized hemisphere treads, just right for dirt roads). No one has any water bottles. I dig up bottle holders from my bin and from an old hybrid as well as one large water bottle for each.

No one other than myself has a helmet. They are afraid they'll look like geeks, being local athletes and all.
One kid is the son of a local football coach and "my Daddy rides Harleys and doesn't believe in helmets". I promise to ride with them one time, but not again without helmets. The coach's kid was the last to arrive and is a little skeptical about riding with an old man, and also a little bit of a wise a**. Not to worry, I've raised four boys.

Off we go from the driveway and up the hill. I'm climbing at about 13 mph, my usual speed up the 1/2 mile hill from the house, and they can't keep up. We stop and talk about how to utilize all those cogs. No one is talking about the old man now. I make them ride no more than two abreast and also stop at all signs. We head out of town toward the real hills. They have trouble keeping up. Five miles later we stop and they are all nearly out of water. The temp is mid-90's. I drink a bottle every ten miles or so and they each drank a bottle in less than five miles. I give them my bottle of water to divide among themselves (I also have one of Gatorade) and tell them we're turning around. I hear them talking about the Camelbaks they saw hanging in my garage and I promise we'll do it again and start early and take plenty of water. We get back to town, stop at the first opportunity for more water, and then head back home.

The one kid who took my old Schwinn was amazed that he could hit nearly 30 mph on the downhills, something his Wal Mart bike wouldn't do, and with knobbies no less. The coach's son wasn't making any more remarks about old men. The other kid promised to come back.

I have offered the old Schwinn to the kid who had the Wal Mart bike if he will only buy a helmet and ride with it. It's too small for me, I was going to sell it on Ebay, and I would just as soon pass it forward. He saw my road bike and touring bike and seems to be taken with the sport, particularly when I told him I've been riding bikes since the early 70's, and have always had one. Keep in mind, these kids are waiting for their first car. Then they ask about prices and when I tell them what my touring bike is worth they realize how serious I am about this stuff, and the bike is worth more than that old pickup truck they are going to get to drive.

Unfortunately the battery in the camera was dead so I don't have a picture of the Pied Piper (me) with the little rats. But I think I struck a blow for cycling for the next generation, at least with one kid, and we had a lot of fun in about 12 miles.
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Old 09-16-07, 07:08 PM   #2
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The last time I rode with my 15-year old son he called me "Steroid Man." It's great to show kids how good you can be at our age. You did a good thing today, Mono.
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Old 09-16-07, 07:09 PM   #3
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That's a great story. I think you accomplished a lot with those kids, and you managed it all with a load of pasta under your belt. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 09-16-07, 07:10 PM   #4
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Good on you, Mono.... You may have just changed a life or two. If kids aren't kept busy, they can fall into all sorts of bad habits. Who knows, perhaps you have just planted seeds for a future TdF rider.
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Old 09-16-07, 07:16 PM   #5
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Good on you, Mono.... You may have just changed a life or two. If kids aren't kept busy, they can fall into all sorts of bad habits. Who knows, perhaps you have just planted seeds for a future TdF rider.
Thanks OHB. The coach's kid (aka the wise a**) asked me why I didn't ride the TdF. I told him those guys can climb hills faster than I can go down them.
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Old 09-16-07, 07:20 PM   #6
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What a great story. I'm sure the boys learned a lot about biking from you....hope to hear more about rides with them.
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Old 09-16-07, 07:25 PM   #7
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Good for you. Sounds like a fun time for everyone who was involved. Maybe not quite as much fun for the ones that couldn't climb with you, but still fun nonetheless.
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Old 09-16-07, 07:31 PM   #8
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Keep in mind, these kids are waiting for their first car.... But I think I struck a blow for cycling for the next generation, at least with one kid, and we had a lot of fun in about 12 miles.
Hopefully, when they do get their first vehicles, this experience will give them a little more respect for the geeky-looking cyclists with the dorky-looking helmets.
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Old 09-16-07, 07:32 PM   #9
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Great story, fantastic ride. Hopefully those guys get hooked on riding, you did a great service!
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Old 09-16-07, 07:59 PM   #10
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Great story. It made my day!
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Old 09-16-07, 08:06 PM   #11
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A good deed indeed! Well worth interrupting your afternoon nap.
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Old 09-16-07, 08:08 PM   #12
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Love the story!! Hopefully you've sparked some interest that will last for a while in a least one or two of them.
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Old 09-16-07, 08:23 PM   #13
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Thanks OHB. The coach's kid (aka the wise a**) asked me why I didn't ride the TdF. I told him those guys can climb hills faster than I can go down them.
I was asked a few times, "why I wasn't riding in the Tour of Missouri?" My response was, "I am holding out for more money."

Great job as a bike ambasador.
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Old 09-16-07, 08:47 PM   #14
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Wonderful story! I think you made a couple of good impressions ("old" <> "out of shape/slow", cycling is something you can do as a kid and as an adult).

Our Cub Scout pack does a bike rodeo, it's always interesting to see what some of the boys bring when they show up to ride. I've done the C&O Canal (184 miles) with my son and his troop two years ago and joined up this summer with a friend's troop for their last day. The look of pride on the boy's faces when they reach Georgetown and line up for the group photo at the "Zero Mile" marker is priceless.
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Old 09-16-07, 08:54 PM   #15
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Wonderful story. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 09-17-07, 04:02 AM   #16
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Way to go "old man". It nice to hear that people still take the time to interact with kids. Wasn't that the way they used to learn about the real world.
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Old 09-17-07, 04:48 AM   #17
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Old 09-17-07, 05:37 AM   #18
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Good stuff. Very fun to read.

My wife and I were at a lunch yesterday. When she told the other ladies she rode 10 - 20 miles regularly, they absolutely couldn't believe it!
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Old 09-17-07, 05:54 AM   #19
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Good Job man! It is fun to make new devotees to cycling. For many years I could drop any of my kids on a bike. I took a few years off the bike, and when I got back on this Summer, my son asked me to go on a ride. You guessed it! He Dropped me! Of course we went on a ride yesterday and Ol Pop had his game on. Took this one trail that came up the escarpment of the river and climbed almost 1.5 miles which isn't much, but I'll take the win light anytime!
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Old 09-17-07, 06:28 AM   #20
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Nice post. Many more young men would benefit from such mentoring. I'm always surprised at how easily cycling can help bridge generation gaps.
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Old 09-17-07, 06:49 AM   #21
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Good stuff. Very fun to read.

My wife and I were at a lunch yesterday. When she told the other ladies she rode 10 - 20 miles regularly, they absolutely couldn't believe it!
I told someone once I rode 20 miles, and he was astounded. "In a day?!?" he said. Automobiles have indirectly taught us that mankind is a fragile, weak organism.
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Old 09-17-07, 06:58 AM   #22
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The Boy Scout Troop 1701 out of Troy, MI is going to ride the trail from Pittsburgh, PA to DC next year in 6 days, for a high adventure trip. We ar starting training this week with a Mt. Bike campout at a local trail. It should be fun too.

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Old 09-17-07, 07:42 AM   #23
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One thing we do on Sunday morning is to feed donuts and sausage biscuits to the teenagers at church. I overheard one 14 yr old freshman telling my wife about biking around town and out in the country with friends and riding almost 15 miles yesterday. I overhear her say "ah, you should talk to my husband, he does that all the time". The long and short is that I invite them to ride anytime, even this afternoon.

In the middle of my nap (after some fine Italian dining) the door knocker jolts me awake and there are two teenagers standing at the door wanting to check their bikes and go ride 20 miles Another teenager is on his way. I do a quick tune up on two mid-grade (Shimano Alivio grade) mountain bikes (Iron Horse) and one Wal Mart bike. One kid's rear brakes are dragging all the time. All the chains are filthy or rusty and have trouble shifting. None of them quite understand about gear ratios and cross chaining. One has no brakes that really work. We finally give up on tuning the Wal Mart bike and I offer one kid my spare 90's Schwinn Mesa 7-spd Shimano STX cro-mo to ride. I take my other Schwinn Mesa (now 9 speed LX equipped with 1.9 inch Specialized hemisphere treads, just right for dirt roads). No one has any water bottles. I dig up bottle holders from my bin and from an old hybrid as well as one large water bottle for each.

No one other than myself has a helmet. They are afraid they'll look like geeks, being local athletes and all.
One kid is the son of a local football coach and "my Daddy rides Harleys and doesn't believe in helmets". I promise to ride with them one time, but not again without helmets. The coach's kid was the last to arrive and is a little skeptical about riding with an old man, and also a little bit of a wise a**. Not to worry, I've raised four boys.

Off we go from the driveway and up the hill. I'm climbing at about 13 mph, my usual speed up the 1/2 mile hill from the house, and they can't keep up. We stop and talk about how to utilize all those cogs. No one is talking about the old man now. I make them ride no more than two abreast and also stop at all signs. We head out of town toward the real hills. They have trouble keeping up. Five miles later we stop and they are all nearly out of water. The temp is mid-90's. I drink a bottle every ten miles or so and they each drank a bottle in less than five miles. I give them my bottle of water to divide among themselves (I also have one of Gatorade) and tell them we're turning around. I hear them talking about the Camelbaks they saw hanging in my garage and I promise we'll do it again and start early and take plenty of water. We get back to town, stop at the first opportunity for more water, and then head back home.

The one kid who took my old Schwinn was amazed that he could hit nearly 30 mph on the downhills, something his Wal Mart bike wouldn't do, and with knobbies no less. The coach's son wasn't making any more remarks about old men. The other kid promised to come back.

I have offered the old Schwinn to the kid who had the Wal Mart bike if he will only buy a helmet and ride with it. It's too small for me, I was going to sell it on Ebay, and I would just as soon pass it forward. He saw my road bike and touring bike and seems to be taken with the sport, particularly when I told him I've been riding bikes since the early 70's, and have always had one. Keep in mind, these kids are waiting for their first car. Then they ask about prices and when I tell them what my touring bike is worth they realize how serious I am about this stuff, and the bike is worth more than that old pickup truck they are going to get to drive.

Unfortunately the battery in the camera was dead so I don't have a picture of the Pied Piper (me) with the little rats. But I think I struck a blow for cycling for the next generation, at least with one kid, and we had a lot of fun in about 12 miles.
A wonderful story. Thanks for sharing it.
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Old 09-17-07, 09:12 AM   #24
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Great story! I work with teenager everyday so I see some interesting points in your story.

The kids felt comfortable enough with you to show up at your door,

You let them ride this one time without a helmet (good choice).

You showed them how to fix their bikes.

If more people spent the time time doing what you did we would have many less "trouble teenagers".
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Old 09-17-07, 11:01 AM   #25
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Good on you, Mono.... You may have just changed a life or two. If kids aren't kept busy, they can fall into all sorts of bad habits. Who knows, perhaps you have just planted seeds for a future TdF rider.
At worst, in 35 years they'll show up in the 50+ forum telling about this guy they knew, and how they are so glad to be back into biking.
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