Monday, May 21, 2007

A Little of My Life(continued from About Me)

During WWII my Dad brought home my first bike, a single speed "English" bike with "skinny" tires. It was so big I had to step up on a wooden crate to mount. Once I got rolling I had to move my butt from one side of the cross bar to the other to pedal. I learned to brake(coaster brake) and jump off at the same time(usually). Sometimes it was not so graceful. Many skinned knees, elbows, other abrasions and contusions later, I became a master. I was allowed to leave the confines of our driveway and venture out into the beckoning world of Shallcross Avenue.

In the year 1943 there were not very many automobiles around to make biking unsafe. We had enough trouble with running into curbs, trees, light poles and the neighbors hedges, we didn't need automobiles. Mrs McCann's hedges saved me many an embarrassing "too fast to turn into the cinder driveway" arrival home. As years went by a new Columbia single speed cruiser appeared under the Christmas Tree and the old "English" bike went away, I guess to eventually be turned into our 1953 Ford Sedan.

The late 40's saw us fixing flat tires by carrying a roll of friction tape(pre-plastic electrical tape). A few wraps around the tire and rim and you were good for another days riding. Rather a bumpy ride after several tire repairs. Summer days were spent biking to the local airport for airline stickers to adorn our two wheel steeds. When we got home it was tough trying to explain to Mom & Dad that we did not ride about 20 miles to the airport. Some days it was just a ride to the creek for a day of cool bathing in the old swimming hole.

I guess I never really lost my love of biking although many things became more important. Like school, work, love, marriage, family, weddings, and finally(I hope not literally) I am back to my love for biking. My interest was probably renewed about 1999 after my first heart attack and subsequent second heart attack. Then two total knee replacements gave me something to prove, that my knee replacements were better than my originals.(and they are) Also needed to rebuild a lot of heart muscle, which I am doing by my exercising, riding, and tackling the dreaded Lithia Springs Hill.(Now you locals will know where I ride).

My son Chris,(the tri-athelete), tells me I should get a lighter and thus faster bike.(I ride an old steel frame Mongoose Mountain Bike). But heck, I am in it for the exercise, not the speed. If I was to buy a lighter, faster steed I would need to ride further to get the same exercise. Now I ride 12 miles each way to my "work" and on off days and weekends I try to do at least 20/30 miles a day. I subscribe to the mag "Adventure Cyclist", read it cover to cover, several times, and dream. if only............

I feel great. But I know to many of you, that is no surprise. Biking does that to you. Tell me about your experiences, your adventures, what started you biking. You all know now that I am an old man, so I promise not to flirt with the pretty ones. Even if I did I probably wouldn't remember why I was firting.

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