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  1. #26
    jfh
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    Before my freshman year of high school in the mid-80's, we moved from a flat area to a place 700 ft up in the hills, which was really broken into smaller climbing segments. That's when I came to appreciate the importance of a lighter road bike with a range of gearing. An old garage-sale Raleigh (with stem shifters that I'd occasionally hit with my knees when grinding up a hill out of saddle) with ancient components soon gave way to a more modern Bianchi Brava from the classifieds, which I rode to school, summer jobs, etc. There were a variety of ways to get home from school, going from shorter/steeper vs. less steep/longer distance, and I pretty much tried them all. Many years later, I still typically think of rides in terms of hills. I do some casual rides with friends and my wife, and they laugh about how they have to rescale their expectations if I suggest a ride with "not too much climbing".

  2. #27
    Senior Member vwchad's Avatar
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    Nice story OP. Good idea for a thread too. Here is my story...

    About 5 years ago I decided I was packing on the pounds and was sick of it, but didn't care for the gym and if I'm running, something is probably chasing me. (Just not my cup of tea, though I need to learn to enjoy it I suppose since I'm semi interested in trying a few sprint length triathalons.) Anyway, I convinced my wife to let me buy a Specialized mountain bike. I remebered that as a kid I loved riding my bike. My neighbor had a Specialized Hardrock and I just thought is was the coolest bike around. So, I was happy as could be on my Hardrock for a while. I'd ride around the neighborhood, hitting a few of the short trails that I knew of. My wife thought it was kind of weird to just go for a bike ride, but supportive. Only kids or people who've lost their drivers license ride bikes, right?

    I eventually convinced her and a few family members that riding was great exercise. They all got mountain bikes, because that is what people do, right? Buy mountain bikes, they can go anywhere! The family time was great, I was starting to loose some weight too. I found myself riding 99% on the road and decided to try some slick commuter/city tires on the mountain bike. That was better, but still wanted to go faster and longer distances.

    I had heard about this big bike ride that happened every year call the Seattle to Portland several years earlier. I found it fascinating that people would ride 200miles to Portland on a bicycle. It seemed impossibly difficult to me. I started looking into this ride more. My wife thought I was nuts, but was encouraging. My neighbor caught wind of my plans to try and do this ride. He thought it sounded like fun too. He soon found himself an old Cannondale that a neighbor had sitting around. We started riding together and soon decided I wanted a road bike too.

    I researched the heck out of bikes. That is just the way I do things. I ended up buying a Felt Z85 from this cool little bike shop I found. We started riding a couple days a week and I fell in love with it. I was never athletic as a kid. Sure, I had played the usual sports growing up, football, baseball, basketball, but I was never very good at any of them. Cycling though? It just felt right. I've always been a mechanical, hobby loving, tinkering kind of guy. Cycling offered sport and hobby all wrapped up in one. It was perfect.

    This will be my third year riding the STP. That ride has special meaning to me because, in my mind, it was such a monumental achievement to ride that far on a bicycle. My decision to ride it that first year, pressured by my friend and neighbor to just go for it that year, forced me to push myself more that I thought I ever could on a bike in preparation for that first STP. I learned that first year that it isn't nearly as hard of a ride as I once thought, but still a rewarding and enjoyable experience. I now ride 2-4 times a week, depending on weather and family activities. Being a mechanical kind of guy, I've enjoyed the hobby side of the sport by building up several bikes and buying/fixing/selling a few too. Cycling, in so many different ways, is incredibly enjoyable to me. I'm in it for life...

  3. #28
    Yogi on Wheels schiiism's Avatar
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    So cool to read everyone's experiences

    As for mine, it was by necessity! I didn't even learn how to ride a bike until I was 21. It was the lowest point of my life, I had just left my fiance of two years who had sold my car and spent almost all of my money. After ditching that loser (hindsight is 20/20 right?) and moving back to California, I still had to get around and a car wasn't in the picture for a while. I bought a hybrid off Craigslist and spent several embarrassing weeks learning how to ride as an adult. That one got stolen (way to kick a girl while she's down right?), so I cleaned up my mom's old Univega from the 80's and went from there. It turns out that losing almost everything I had was a blessing in disguise because cycling has transformed my life. I am so much healthier and happier, and I look forward to my ride every morning when I get out of bed. Being in the saddle feels so familiar and comforting; I bought a car a year ago and I haven't put 2,000mi on it yet. My work is a 12 mile commute, school is 7, and I go out pretty often.. but cars just feel like a stuffy prison now

  4. #29
    Senior Member pavemen's Avatar
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    The doctor said I have Type 2 Diabetes and I needed to exercise. I started riding my 20-year old poorly maintained mountain bike that I had not ridden in 17 years but hauled from place to place regardless. After hitting 35 road miles on it I realized I needed to upgrade as i could not really go farther or faster. As I don't really have terrain to make full use of a mountain bike around me anymore, I bought me a new road bike and now I ride several times a week, time permitting.

    Weight down, speed up, distance up, sugar levels down. Works for me!

  5. #30
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    As an adult, I bought a $75 bicycle to pedal around at the racetrack. Then, a couple days later I smoked my last cigarette, bought a road bike the next day, and it's been a year since.

  6. #31
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    Running hurts knees ... started riding before getting too fat for other ourdoor activities cuz gravity sucks. Didn't know stuffs (not the bike) can get expensive.

  7. #32
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    as lame as it may sound, but it's the Rapha Continental videos that got me hook on road cycling

  8. #33
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    I always rode a bike my whole life here and there. I was into running and wanted to get a new bike to replace my old tank hybrid. I ended catching a great deal on a road hike and told myself I would cycle on days I did not feel like running. I ended up really enjoying riding my bike and the calories it burned and now I hardly run and just cycle and love it on most days

  9. #34
    Senior Member EnsitMike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SirHustlerEsq View Post
    As an adult, I bought a $75 bicycle to pedal around at the racetrack. Then, a couple days later I smoked my last cigarette, bought a road bike the next day, and it's been a year since.
    I like this one.

  10. #35
    Cycling Anarchist Trsnrtr's Avatar
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    Huge rider as a child but stopped about 15. Then at 31, I took up cycling after quitting smoking.

    Have averaged over 6,000 miles per year for the last 33 seasons.
    Dennis T

  11. #36
    Senior Member fuel0707's Avatar
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    Like many kids, I learned to ride on a Schwinn and a Huffy. In my early teen years, I got a road bike from a Montgomery Ward that had 18 "speeds". I'm certain that the bike was pretty junky but it sure seemed faster than my Schwinn! However, once I got my driver's license and was attending a school with no bus service that was quite a distance from home, my bike sat in the garage, collecting dust.

    It wasn't until my early 40's that I got the itch to start riding again. My first purchase was a Giant fixie and that was a good purchase, as I feel that it focused my attention on pedaling as well as forcing me to develop leg muscles. I've since moved on to my latest bike, a Trek Domane, that I really enjoy.

    But one of the best parts of re-igniting my interest in biking is that I've made new friends and have also been able to help out others with their own fitness efforts. In fact, I recently completed my first century that was planned out as a goal for a few friends of mine who are working to improve their health and fitness. Even my wife has started riding again and she completed that century with me.

  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by EnsitMike View Post
    I like this one.
    It looks like I'm one of many who found solace away from smoking, via a bicycle in my early 30s. My Strava rides from a year ago are pretty funny in comparison to today's.

  13. #38
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    Sorry for this longish post, but it was fun taking the trip down memory lane when I should probably have been working. And I'm new to this forum, though I've been active in the commuting forum for a while.

    Growing up in small town Kentucky, biking was my freedom. It was how I got to friends' houses, the corner store and the pool. I rode with friends on their paper routes. When I turned 10 years old, my dad picked me up from school and handed me a thin piece of oval, slightly curved metal with the word "Schwinn" on one side. He took me to the local bike shop and I learned that the piece of metal belonged to the rest of my present: a BMX bike. I spent much allowance money adding a race plate with the number "10", mag wheels, free-wheel, cool pads... Neighborhood kids met at "the trails" to ride and jump our BMX bikes. Then I got a driver's license and stopped riding during most of high school.

    My second year in college I bought a Schwinn hybrid to get around campus, my first adult sized bike. I had a car, but parking was limited, so the bike was very useful. At my first after-college job, a coworker sold me his older Raleigh 10 speed with down tube shifters. I felt fast on it and occasionally did some longer rides. Funny thing about it was the brakes were backwards. The right brake lever was the front and the left was rear. I used to tell people that it was that way because the bike was made in England.

    Then I moved to the Colorado mountains. I used my Schwinn hybrid for some commuting, but the Raleigh was neglected because I had trail lust. In the spring of 1995 I bought a previous year model aluminum Trek with front shocks and fat tires for around $600. I put a lot of trail miles on that guy.

    After a couple of years of mountain biking, backpacking, and skiing, I got the Raleigh back out and started doing some road rides with some friends. Still in the mountains, these rides meant an hour or so of climbing followed by 20 minutes of flying down the other side and then back again. I remember I once passed a semi-truck who was probably keeping it under 45mph or so for safety. I was not doing that. I still rode plenty of mountain bike trails, but also enjoyed the distances and speed the road bike gave. I eventually bought a new Giant OCR in 2002 or so. The Trek MTB was traded in for a full-suspension ride which eventually got crunched in a car accident (bike was on trunk rack, I was rear-ended).

    I moved back to my home town in Kentucky in 2006 with my wife and three kids. I left the Raleigh in Colorado with my wife's parents (never did change the brake cables). I continued getting out on my Giant road bike. The bike shop where I got my BMX bike was still in business, but in a new location. I joined their Saturday group rides which varied from 30 to 60 miles. I was working from home at the time, so no commuting, but I did take several lunch time rides of around 16 miles or so. I also started running some. Eventually I sold the Schwinn hybrid.

    In 2008 I moved to North Carolina. I have been bike commuting every since, currently doing 12 miles each way, 5 days a week. I don't very many non-commuting rides, but often add miles on the way to work or on the way home and occasionally get out for a 2-3 hour ride. I also run 4-5 times a week. I enjoy both equally.

  14. #39
    Senior Member CommuteCommando's Avatar
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    Bought a front suspension MTB in 2000 to start commuting, and to lose weight. In 2008, I got a Trek Hybrid because I decided the shock thing wasn't necessary for the street riding I was doing. In Oct. of that year I had a heart attack, while riding the bike at lunch time. Two hours, and two stents layer, I was chomping at the bit to get back on the bike. The doc's said that the fact that I had been riding, and had by that time lost 30 lb down to 270, gave me a better prognosis than many MI victims. I was told that half are dead in a year.

    Up until that time, I had been riding what seemed to me like a lot, but really nothing over ten miles. I started going for longer distances, and in 2010, bought an entry level aluminum road bike (down to about 235 by then) and signed up for my first organized ride-the 25 mile Bike the Bay in San Diego. That was the longest distance I had done since high school in the 70's. I then started setting goals, and entering organized rides to make them official - half metric (that one had 2500 ft of climbing, but I made it) 1/2C, metric, and now I have done two full centuries, and am planning another for later this year.

    For the first C, I upgraded to a 105 equipped CrMo bike. Masi Bikes - Steel - Gran Criterium. Now a typical weekend ride is 40-50 miles, no sweat. I am 58 years old, and on an endless plateau at 210. I have done some track cycling, and informal racing in that context, and a couple of 20k TT's. If I can get my lardazz down below 180 (a "racing weight" for my size would be 160) I may enter a crit or two. I am comfortable in groups, but at those speeds am kind of wary.

    Quote Originally Posted by SirHustlerEsq View Post
    As an adult, I bought a $75 bicycle to pedal around at the racetrack. Then, a couple days later I smoked my last cigarette, bought a road bike the next day, and it's been a year since.
    Smoked my last 3/15/88
    Last edited by CommuteCommando; 06-05-14 at 11:03 AM.
    As much as you paid for that Beemer [Mercedies, Audi, Escalade], I'm surprised it didn't come equipped with turn signals.

  15. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuteCommando View Post
    Smoked my last 3/15/88
    I smoked my last on 3/31/13, bought the vintage road bike 4/1/13, decent road bike in June, run over by a car in November, fancy CAAD10 in February and been going hard since day one, picked-up a HT 29er in there as well. I looked yesterday and one year ago Strava estimated my power at 120w over a 14 mile ride that I thought would kill me that day; today I average 270w over 60 miles with relative ease. I've done 7000 miles or so in the last year since starting, even considering the four months I was out with injury.

    I tried desperately to quit over the 12-years as a smoker, was able to quit for 9 months when I turned 30, but went back to it. I bought the road bike at age 32 and quit cold turkey with no withdrawal. Hopefully I keep getting faster.

  16. #41
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    I started on a Sear knock-off of the Stingray in 1967 in Whittier, CA. Rode the neighborhood and loved. Dad taught at a 2 year college starting in 1968 and one of his students was an early record holder in riding across the US, pre-RAAM. Got Dad involved with the Los Angeles Wheelmen. Dad got a used Atala and rode distance quite a bit. Took the family for short rides to the park.

    1969 saw the family move to Newport Beach and I was still on my Sears bike. We had thousands of acres of rolling hills in which we were BMX/MTB/Trail riders-but we just called it riding a bike.

    When I was 12 or 13 (1972 or 3) I received a ten speed through Dad's former student and still avid rider, an Olmo with Campagnolo drivetrain. I was free. I rode to school and all over Orange County. No helmet, shorts or Levi's and a T-shirt. I just rode. Kept it up into my early 20's as I could never seem to keep a car running, so the bike got pressed into commuter duty. The Olmo was stolen at college in Fort Collins, CO, so now I was on a Hercules 3 speed.

    Got my first new vehicle in 1982 and the bike was gone, gave it to my brother-ten years my junior. Didn't even look at a bike until 1993. Across the street from my first owned home new neighbors moved in and they were cyclists, primarily semi-pro mountain bike racer's. Conversations over margarita's led to bike discussions. Another neighbor chimed in and said that his mother-in-law worked in purchasing for Walmart and could get me a good deal on a bike. So for something like $150.00 I bought a Motiv rigid aluminum mountain bike with a full Shimano XT set-up. Turned out you never do forget how to ride a bike.

    I rode the wheels off that thing. Cracked the head tube, had it welded up, and continued. In 1996 I got a Pro-Flex 856 and that started the slippery slope I continue on to this day.

    20 some riders in the house now....

  17. #42
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    Wow some great stories, here's mine. My first bike circa 1970 was a single speed coaster brake second hand bike my dad got me for I think my tenth birthday. I was only allowed to ride on our two tenths of a mile long dirt and gravel driveway. The bike lasted about two months when my aunt ran over it in the yard, she never even said she was sorry. Dad could never afford another, and when I started work a couple years later my cash went into family funds. That bike was the only one I owned until 1984 when i tried a Sears rode bike to commute ten miles one way in military fatigue in San Antonio.that didn't last long since at the time I smoked two packs of cigarettes a day.
    Fast forward to Nov2011, having quit ask smoking five years previous and needing to find another form of aerobic workout than running due to wear and tear on legs and feet and knees from running daily for all my adult life I decided to give biking another go.
    I found a 86 Raleigh marathon on CL, been riding and loving it since. Bought wife a new trek hybred at same time I got the Raleigh, it has been ridden three or four times, gathering dust, she never caught the bug.
    Last edited by 1986raleigh; 06-08-14 at 07:10 PM.

  18. #43
    SLJ 6/8/65-5/2/07 Walter's Avatar
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    Like most kids in the early 70s riding a bike was normal, even expected. The "Bike Boom" happened and I got into 10 speeds rather than BMX. Hung out at a Schwinn shop and was given what was even then an "old" frame. It was probably English and I built it with whatever the shop owner would give me for helping put together Varsities and Continentals. Used up junk mostly but I got it rolling.

    I also threw an afternoon newspaper after Jr. High. I used a 3 peed that my father owned. That long gone Huffy with a Sturmey Archer 3 speed remains the only bike I've ever been paid to ride. To the chagrin of the Schwinn shop owner I used that money ($180 IIRC) to buy a Motobecane from another shop that carried European bikes that were far ahead of the Schwinns. (A short illustration of the fall of Schwinn).

    I rode like crazy, mostly to the beach after school and during the summer. High school brought on football and cars but I never completely quit the bike. College continued football but not for long as it turned out and I started riding seriously while going to school in Orlando. Built up a Cannondale in 1986 and retired the Moto.

    A really bad motorcycle accident in 93 knocked me out of most everything for awhile but after I moved here in 99 I bought a new bike figured out some modifications to deal with the motorcycle accident injury and have stayed at it. I now have a garage full of bikes and my wife (whom I met in college and got her into riding) and I continue to get decent miles, including a rare race, every week.
    “Life is not one damned thing after another. Life is one damned thing over and over.”
    Edna St. Vincent Millay

  19. #44
    Bike rider alexaschwanden's Avatar
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    Some nice stories, I started in June 2010 with a pos mountain bike for Kmart and it kept broking down fd, rd, chain rusted, then a friend I meet introduced me to his bike shop and that is where I got my first real bike. It was a Raleigh Misceo 1.0 in white I enjoyed it, also I was at the same time into RC car racing but that came to an end so I continued biking and racking up the miles.i have gone through 13 bikes in 4 years but trading or buying a another kind of bike. I use my bikes for transportation now more than for fitness. I have had 4 road bikes, a folding bike, two mountain bikes and a few hybrid bikes. I have counted over 21,000 miles so far and continuing.
    2013 Felt 960 MTB 1666.2 miles
    2014 Felt Z5 carbon 301.7 miles

  20. #45
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    I actually new to road cycling and found it convenient that there's a bike path near my house that goes for many miles in each direction. I like cycling because unlike other things I've tried for exercise, you simply cannot quit and say "Ok that's enough I'm done". You actually have to ride all the way back just to get home. Sure you dictate the pace but unlike me on the treadmill or on the stationary bike, I can't just turn it off and be done with it when I'm tired. After going 20 miles to the end of the trail I'm exhausted and then it hits you that you have to ride 20 miles back home, against the wind this time. Good workout.

  21. #46
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    I always like riding my bike. It was a wally world mtn bike. Max distance would be 9-10 miles. When my bro lend me his target hybrid, I realized how effortless it was compared to a mtn bike. I started doing 20 miles at this point. I rode his bike for a couple months, took a couple more months to think about it, pulled the trigger and bought my first road bike last October. Distance now. 50-70 miles - depending on mood

  22. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by lawlessbeanr View Post
    I actually new to road cycling and found it convenient that there's a bike path near my house that goes for many miles in each direction. I like cycling because unlike other things I've tried for exercise, you simply cannot quit and say "Ok that's enough I'm done". You actually have to ride all the way back just to get home. Sure you dictate the pace but unlike me on the treadmill or on the stationary bike, I can't just turn it off and be done with it when I'm tired. After going 20 miles to the end of the trail I'm exhausted and then it hits you that you have to ride 20 miles back home, against the wind this time. Good workout.
    You know what's funny. That's my motivation of riding. You ride 20-30 miles out. You're tired. However, you can't just quit because you have no ride home haha. Only way home...ride your tired ass back.

  23. #48
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    Not a terribly interesting story on my part, but here goes...

    Grew up watching the Tour De France with my mom on lazy summer mornings. I was entering middle school just as Lance was starting to "win", so naturally, I got caught up in the hype. Loved riding my mountain bike around as a teenager, but during my first week at college, it got stolen So, my mom stepped in and gave me her old steel frame Puegot that she had purchased with babysitting money back in the 1970s. Loved riding that thing, and I took it all over campus for the next several years.

    I told myself that as soon as I had a real job and could afford it, I was getting myself a nice modern road bike. Smash cut to 2010. I'd just finished my first year of teaching, and my younger brother had found a job at a local bike shop. Walked in one morning and he sold me my first road bike, a Giant Defy 1.

    I started out with short rides, 12-15 miles. Then 12 became 18, and weekend rides stretched to 30. And then I decided I want to try racing. Even though I suck at it, I found racing to be lots of fun. And then I decided I needed another bike, so I went out and bought a CAAD10.

  24. #49
    Senior Member gc3's Avatar
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    There was this girl, see....
    "I tried being reasonable, I didn‘t like it."

    "I understand. I just don't care"

  25. #50
    Senior Member dstrong's Avatar
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    MTB stolen out of my garage 8 years ago. Thought "Austin's kind of a roadie town...Lance lives here...I think I'll buy a road bike".

    2014 Specialized RoubaixOOOOOO 2003 Interloc ImpalaOOOOOO 2007 ParkPre Image C6 (RIP)


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