My name is Bernie and I discovered this site the other day through a Google search and am happy to be here as there are many like-minded and friendly people.
Originally from northern New Jersey (Jersey City) just outside New York City, but now live in Gaithersburg, Maryland, which is just north of Washington DC. Also lived in Chicago for a year.
I've been cycling since 1977 when my uncle gave me his department store 10-speed bike as a grammar school graduation present. Used to sneak out of the house with this heavy steel framed monster and ride north through the city streets of Jersey City and head up into Fort Lee and points north on Route 9W. Would come back home exhausted, but loved the experience and freedom the bike afforded me.
Bought my first real bike in 1980, a Peugeot UO9 10-speed. Used this bike for years including a stint as a bike messenger in NYC during the winter months of 1982. Around 1983-84 I was really into cycling and plopped down a then large amount of cash ($800.+) to buy a Bianchi road bike in the famous Celeste green color. Had a VW microbus hit me in 1986, which totaled the bike so I bought another Bianchi (Trofeo), which I still have and use.
In 1997 at the age of 33 I decided to quit my job of almost eight years to embark on a solo self supported bike ride of the US. Bought a Cannondale T-2000 touring bike fully loaded with Blackburn racks, Jannd panniers... and took off. It's a long story, but you can read about it on a website I set up for it.
Since the 1997 bike trek I've done Seattle to Vancouver, Canada with friends in 1999 and Bike Virginia in 2004. I'm embarrassed to say that I have not ridden any of my bikes this year :-( Just been busy, but I should be back on soon before it gets too hot here in Maryland.
Although I've lived in Maryland since 2001 I still find it strange to bicycle around here as I'm so used to the New Jersey and New York congestion. If anyone is into casual riding in the Gaithersburg area then please let me know as I would love to hook up with other riders.
Look forward to joining in on all the great topics and discussions!