My name is Eric, I live in the Village of Line Lexington, New Britain Township, Central Bucks County, PA, USA. I'm new the bikeforums.net but not to cycling. Here's a brief (I'm a very verbose individual) background.
I remember the first time I rode a real bicycle. I'm not counting those old banana seat kids bike bought from Sears by grandparents to replace the one I had with integrated training wheels. I was at said grandparents home and being that this was the central familial meeting place, there were usually several cousins over at any given time.
I don't recall as to whom it was to which the green three speed Schwinn belonged, but I do recall that I was roughly 5 years old when I first rode it. One must know that I was exceptionally tall as a child, due I believe to my Dutch genes (I'm 189 cm at age 35, and have been that height since I was 15). I do remember quite clearly that no one thought I'd be able to ride this teenager oriented machine (at the time) given that my previous experience was rather limited. I loved the feel of the three speed, even though I didn't understand gearing at the time. This was the beginning of my appreciation of bicycling.
Flash forward 9 years to the age of 14, circa 1987. Years had passed and I was still riding hand me down bicycles when all of my friends were riding brand new Mongoose and BMX style dirt bikes. I wanted to get a new bicycle, but was never into the whole dirt bike scene. I wanted a road bicycle, a sport one at that. So I went to what is now called (and maybe was called then) Bustleton Bikes and purchased my first real bicycle meant for serious riding. A Raleigh Grand Prix 10-Speed, 22" frame which in retrospect was far too small for my tall stature.
I used to ride my Raleigh bike as if there were no tomorrow. It wasn't only ridden to school every day, and to my friends houses on a very regular basis but was so well liked by my best friend at the time that he too went and purchased the identical model from the same cycle shop. We would bike together through the once beautiful Pennypack Park in Northeast Philadelphia. The asphalt bike paths led from the Far Northeast entrance(s) to the park to within 2.5 km from the Tacony Palmyra Bridge linking Philadelphia, PA to Palmyra, NJ. We must've ridden this path up and back 4 out of every 5 week days for a year. I would even get up at a rediculous hour just to go ride to the park (7 km away). This was an average 40 km ride daily, not including goofing around with friends.
Time progressed and I stopped riding with my friend, but I end up riding with my new best friend (now my wife) but even that ended abruptly once I acquired my driver's license. It sadly ends this way for many people, but I'm glad to see that this isn't the end. While I do not live in the city of Philadelphia where bicycling is a far more viable form of transport, I do live in beautiful Central Bucks County and it has a bountiful supply of roads as well as trails.
Where things stand as of today: I recently was fitted for, and purchased a 2007 Schwinn Voyageur GS XL from Scooter's Bike Shop in Souderton, PA. Needless to say I've returned home again to not only a mode of transport on which I used to depend soely, but I've returned to that mindset and community which for so many years I've considered family.
Well, that's enough writing for me tonight, I have to be up early as I have a busy day tomorrow, capped off with my weekly 32 km ride in the afternoon from New Britain to Holland.
Eric G. Elinow