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Fifty years of cycling - how about you?

Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

Fifty years of cycling - how about you?

Old 06-26-19, 08:55 AM
Richard Cranium
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Fifty years of cycling - how about you?

Obviously, many people start to ride bicycles at a very young age. I learned how to ride of 20" wheel middle-weight bicycle in the summer of 1958. (BMX bikes didn't exist?)

By 1965-66 I had graduated to a Sturmey-Archer 3spd and completed a metric-century. Just three years later I bought my first lightweight ten-speed and rode my first Century ride in August in 1969.

Last week I rode a Century - 49 years and 10 months after my first 100-mile long-distance ride. I am looking forward to riding another Century this August so I can brag about riding Century distances 50-years apart.

How about sharing your thoughts about how and when you started to ride - how your cycling-life continues today? I'd like hear from you life-time cyclists......

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Old 06-26-19, 10:23 AM
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Been riding for 57 years now. When I was 8, some neighborhood kids put me on a bike and gave me a push, and I'm still going.
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Old 06-26-19, 10:35 AM
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First bike when I was 7. Early in JFK's presidency. Started tinkering with bikes (turning 3-speeds into 6-speeds, etc.) when I was 12. I count my riding days from my first 10-speed when I bought my UO-8 at 14. That was 52 years ago. (And that seatpin is still in action on my Peter Mooney. It's perfect for the brake cable hanger for the cantis and far better than the Campy pin that came with the frame.)

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Old 06-26-19, 10:43 AM
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Rode my first century at 17, unsupported. Drank 34 oz. water (half liter bottles back then), ate one orange, one candy bar. Hilly route, warm day. 57 years later, I've become more experienced though not much slower. Must be the better bikes now. I won't ride my first century of the season for another 3 weeks - 107 miles and 7000'.
Results matter
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Old 06-26-19, 11:19 AM
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Rode my 1st racing bike, a neighbor's pre-WWII track bike during the Johnson administration, joined a cycling club 51 seasons ago.
I don't count riding a bike as a kid "cycling", but it was an essential part of growing up and great preparation for getting into the Sport.
Still ride on the road, no more MTB, and continue w/ what is essentially the same seasonal "program" for decades re-tuned for reality as required, so far so good....

'74 Raleigh Internat'l. '77 Trek TX900 FG. '90 Vitus 979. '10 Merckx EMX3. '13 Soma Stanyan
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Old 06-26-19, 11:31 AM
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I started at 3 or 4 w/ a tricycle, does that count?
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Old 06-26-19, 12:04 PM
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Started to ride as soon as I overcame the fear of decapitation (my folks were of the "he'll grow into it" school of bike sizing).

I rode my bike all over creation until I got old enough to drive, then drove all over creation. I got back into it as an adult in my late 20s when I moved near the beach. Then, traffic got so bad, I started commuting by bike. That led to weekend rides, which led to touring, which led to endurance rides, and now it's a complete addiction. I'm still commuting by bike.

How much time? 30+ years or so.
Proud parent of a happy inner child ...

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Old 06-26-19, 12:13 PM
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Hmmm... I can't say when I first got on a bike. 20" Banana Seat Stingray?

At about age 8, I would have inherited the little green 5-speed 24" road bike. Gitane?

I bought my old Colnago Super at age 16, and that bike has been with me for over 35 years.
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Old 06-26-19, 12:29 PM
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3speed Black Raleigh with saddle bag, head light, chain guard oiler way back in the latter 50's. Biked but not much.

In 1972 I walked up the stairs to my bedroom on the 2nd floor and in my bed was my first 10 speed bike put there by my future wife. She told her dad that she wanted a bike for me, he owned a bike store selling Schwinn, Motobecane, Dawes, CCM, Vista, Rollfast ..... and he told her to take a Continental to give me.

After our marriage (1973) my wife and I took over the store and I selected a P15-9 Paramount to ride. First century on the Paramount along with many Teaneck to Bear Mountain rides with "the guys" and even across the GW Bridge to Central Park for a Heart Fund Cyclethon. Got more serious with riding after joining BTCNJ and built the Custom Paramount tourer and Paramount RR.

Moving to FL in '86 has allowed throughout the year comfortable (relaxed/flat) cycling and now at 69 in 2 weeks a ride of less than 100 miles doesn't feel like a real ride unless it is a Strava Art ride.
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Old 06-26-19, 07:24 PM
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I remember where I started riding, but not exactly when. It was in the alley at the first house I can remember, my Dad pushing until I got it. I believe we left that house between kindergarten and 1st grade so that would put me right about 50 years of cycling. That bike was a quite big for my age banana seat single speed and lasted until high school (morphing into bmx look along the way), then I got a 10 speed that lasted until mid 30s.
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Old 06-27-19, 04:06 AM
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I'm 62 and I believe I first rode a bike without training wheels at age 6. My first bikes were banana seat/butterfly handlebar 20" bikes - and both were stolen before I was 10! Freeport NY (Long Island) must have been a hot bed of bike theft, but I was also pretty careless.

After that my father refused to buy me any new bikes, so I essentially built one out of bikes and parts that people left at the curb on the one day a week "big trash" pickup day. My father helped me finish it - it was a 26" 5 speed bike, with the rear derailleur removed because it was broken, the chain shortened and painted black with a can of spray paint. I put butterfly handlebars on it so I could do my Newsday paper route - you had to hang your paper bag on somewhere...

At age 12, three of us realized somehow that Montauk Point was 100 miles from Freeport - and we strapped sleeping bags on and did a century ride before we knew it was called that.

As soon as I could drive, pretty much didn't do much biking until moving to Maryland after college in 1978 - for the last 41 years been having a blast. Last year I crossed off one bucket list ride, going up Going to the Sun Road to Logan Pass in Glacier National Park. This year I'm going to do the 2 day version of the Seattle to Portland Ride, another bucket list item.
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Old 06-27-19, 04:42 AM
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On two wheels for 55 years now (started at age 5). I still get excited every time I turn those first few pedal stokes and I magically stay upright.
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Old 06-27-19, 08:09 AM
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There are photos of me at what looks like 5 years old, 1953, on a two wheeler with training wheels. I don't remember the bike that came next but I did inherit an "English" three speed bike from the second floor tennant kid when he advanced to driving cars. Had longhorn style handle bars and it was stuck in third gear. My legs got very strong for my age. I remember riding around the block at night as a way to escape the stuff going on in our home. I would ride for hours. Rode that thing for years until I decided to paint it. Never did get it back together but I did get a bike from my father when I was 14 that was way too small and full of chrome and those streamer things. College, USAF, Married and my wife got me a Columbia road bike I rode until my back surgery. Fast forward to 2014 and retirement when I decided to ignore the Dr.'s advice and bought a used Schwinn full suspension used bike. My back did not suddenly fall apart so the Quick 7 and then 3 came and I am working my way back to some respectable distances but I found at 70 years of age I don't bounce back like I used to. Still love getting out and just feeling the freedom.
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Old 06-27-19, 02:01 PM
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I started the summer I turned 12 (1962), with a 2-speed Schwinn "middleweight." Before that I lacked the physical coordination to balance a bicycle confidently. Once I learned to ride (don't laugh -- it was a slow process), I was smitten with the freedom of mobility and the joy of cycling, and moved up to a cheapo Bianchi 10 speed that Christmas. (My father was delighted to get his physically inept, overweight, nerdy klutz kid into any sort of sport). Through my high school years I enjoyed riding to the local electronics and surplus stores to fuel my emerging hobby of building and repairing home audio equipment. My interest in cycling ticked up another notch when I started at UCLA and commuted to/from my grandparents' house in Rancho Park. Bottom line: 57 years of participating in the only sport I have truly deeply loved (and still do).
"Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." --Theodore Roosevelt
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Capo: 1960 Sieger (2), S/N 42624, 42597
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Old 06-27-19, 02:49 PM
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Like everyone else I rode as a kid, but didn't start seriously until age 27. College and starting a family got in the way. I was told by doctor to start riding to recover from knee injury. Well I have been riding for 42 years since on a fairly "serious" level, over 216,000 miles. After hip replacement and spinal fusion I am still riding. Currently recovering from spinal fusion of 3 vertebrates in lower back. Rode for the first time this week since surgery. I managed 5 miles today. A long way to go, but at least I am riding.
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Old 06-27-19, 04:26 PM
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I was five the first time on two wheels and never looked back. Although at age 15+ I was hooked on the idea of driving cars, then motorcycles and now hate them both and usually try to only walk or ride where I'm going at 60. So, I'll give myself an honest 50 yrs on bicycles.
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Old 06-27-19, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
I started at 3 or 4 w/ a tricycle, does that count?
This. lol
On two I started at around 8 and never looked back. Tinkered with bikes around 12 and never stopped. Went from BMX to MTB and now do both MTB and road. I'm 55 now.
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Old 06-27-19, 07:10 PM
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I 'inherited' my older sister's 24-inch balloon-tire behemoth in the mid-'60s. Then I started riding my dad's JC Higgins (Sears) 3-speed 'English racer', before getting my own Sears Free Spirit three-speed in ~1970. Then 1974, when the frame of my Sears three-speed broke at a weld (due to rust-through) the second time, I got my first Fuji Special Tourer. That one got stolen at only three months, to be replaced with the identical color/make/model/size. I rode that all over the West- Cleveland suburbs since my parents would not let me drive until 18... Then two years later, in the Fall of '76, I got my first 'serious' 10-speed - the blue Fuji S-10S that I still have (and ride) today. I rode the tires off that Fuji while attending Ohio State '76-77, including many organized Century rides...

So I guess I've only been a 'serious cyclist' for 43 years...
'75 Fuji S-10S bought new, 52k+ miles and still going!
'84 Univega Gran Tourismo
'84 Univega Viva Sport
'86 Miyata 710
'90 Schwinn Woodlands
Unknown brand MTB of questionable lineage aka 'Mutt Trail Bike'
Plus or minus a few others from time-to-time

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Old 06-28-19, 05:29 AM
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Started cycling 46 years ago.
Started cycling avidly 29 years ago.
Rode my first century 25 years ago.
Rode my first 1200 km randonnee 17 years ago.
Met Rowan on my second 1200 km randonnee 16 years ago.
Cycled a century with Rowan and then got married 11 years ago.
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Old 06-28-19, 05:44 AM
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Funny, most in the U.S. start riding very young but my GF was born in Sicily and back then there was no opportunity to learn because access to a bike was zero. Her little town was still using beasts of burden for transportation and she never learned to ride, and now in our late 60's I think it imprudent for her to start now.

Anyway, I remember like it was yesterday when I learned, maybe 1956? and on and off I've ridden as a lifelong diversion from daily issues. It's my "zen" thing where I can zone out focusing on the ride, or slow it down and reflect on recent and past issues in my life.
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Old 06-28-19, 06:00 AM
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Off and on for a total estimate of 28 years out of my 54 years on this earth.

All of it for fun. Half of it to be a little more healthy.
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Old 06-28-19, 06:38 AM
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Learned to ride a bike around age 6 or 7. That would be 50+ years ago now. Bought my first "10-speed" at age 13, a Schwinn Continental that was too large. Rode my first century 30 years ago, not long after I quit smoking. Have ridden a handful of charity rides over the years. Toyed with randoneurring and PBP, but that never panned out - maybe when I'm retired.
2010 AB T1X ** 2010 Cannondale SIX-5 ** 1993 Cannondale RS900 ** 1989 Bianchi Brava ** 1988 Nishiki Olympic ** 1987 Centurion Ironman Expert(2) ** 1985 DeRosa Professional SLX ** 1982 Basso Gap ** 198? Ciocc Designer '84 ** 198? Ciocc Competition SL ** 19?? Roberts Audax ** 198? Brian Rourke ** 1982 Mercian Olympic ** 1970 Raleigh Professional MK I ** 1952 Raleigh Sports
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Old 06-28-19, 07:10 AM
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I stopped riding nearly 50 years ago, and have been riding again for only about 13 years. I remember it felt so good to park the bicycle and climb on the motorcycle instead - I still remember the feeling of finality of that moment, and never used the bike again - but looking back it was giving up more than I could have realized. 50 years of riding is impressive.
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Old 06-28-19, 07:11 AM
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First riding was around age 6....that would be 60 years ago??? The tires were a solid synthetic material. Anyone else ride a bike with solid tires? I still remember how jarring it was. My next bike was a black 3 speed that was way too big for me but it had inflatable tires!!!. I'd have to find a stump or side of hill to mount it, but I rode it everywhere. We lived a few miles from town and I'd ride into town, to school, baseball practice etc. The road in front of our house was a pretty busy two lane major highway that was pretty scary to ride on even then. My parents didn't want me riding on it. Our other option was a dirt road that was a back road towards town. It was rutty, somewhat uphill and there was a German Shepard that lived about 1/2 along the road. So many times I'd ride the busy highway because it was faster and easier. I just didn't let my parents know. My next bike was a ten speed that I used in college. After warping the rear wheel riding across a storm drain grate I didn't ride a bike again for almost 30 years. I left the old bike with the warped rear wheel in a rack at college beside my dorm.
Ride your Ride!!
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Old 06-28-19, 07:47 AM
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These types of threads make me wonder-- have y'all really been riding that long? I learned to ride on a step-through framed ladies 10-speed when I was about 5. I always had a bike of some sort around, and a Fox Racing BMX I got in a trade with a friend was my primary form of transport for the first half of my teenage years. Then I got a driver's license, and probably compiled 200 miles of riding (total) over the next 25 years. I didn't actually buy a bike for myself to ride until 2015-- I've been around bikes my whole life, but I've been cycling for about 4 years.

My experience is pretty close to that of @wphamilton. No such thing as "recreational cycling" when the only other way to get around is walking. Getting into a car in SoCal at 17 was absolute freedom. Fast forward to now and I might drive a car 2 days a week.
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