Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Two-Wheeled Memories

I was thinking the other day that I have owned more bicycles than cars. For those of you who follow my blog, you know I like to ride. I even did some racing (but that was over 20 years ago). Still, I like to get out and feel my legs moving me along, know I am breathing, and see the world passing by.

I learned to ride in second grade. I guess that would be sometime in 1968. I don't remember that bike much - a simple 20" boys bike of the day (pre-banana seat days). I got a cool banana seat bike around 1970. It was metallic green with a green seat. It was chopper-styled, with a 14" front tire and a 20" racing slick in the back. It had chrome fenders. It was very sweet.

A Chopper-Styled Banana Seat Bike (mine was green with fenders)

When I graduated from 6th grade (1973), I got my first 10-speed. Actually, I got my second 10-speed also. My first 10-speed was stolen from our yard a few weeks after I got it. It was chained to the clothesline, but the chain was cut. I was sad, but my parents went out and bought a new bike (I wish they were still around to tell them thanks - we didn't have a lot of money). I rode that bike everywhere. My brother and I would ride our bikes around the neighborhood and over to the shopping mall on Sundays (malls were closed on Sundays back then so the parking lot was empty and we could ride in any direction without worrying about cars). It was a Sears bike (Mom worked at Sears and could get a 10% discount). It looked a lot like the one below:

A Sears 10-Speed, circa 1970s.

My next bike was a Peugeot. I got it when I was in college. It was a touring bike. I put toe clips and straps on it. I started to really get into cycling then. I would average 60 miles or more a week.

1980s Peugeot Touring Bike (mine did not have the rack)

When I went to graduate school in 1983, I left my Peugeot with my brother. I bought a Lotus sport / touring bike. I bought my first set of cycling shoes ( a pair of Detto's), my first set of cycling shorts, and then started to get into racing (time trialing and team triathlons - I did the bike portions). By then I was riding over 100 miles a week.

1980s Lotus Sport / Touring Bike

Detto Shoes

I decided to upgrade my bike about a year later. I bought a 1984 Bianchi Limited. It was an entry-level racing bike. I had the bike shop swap out the touring rear derailleur with a low end Campagnolo racing derailleur. I loved that bike. By then I was riding over 150 miles per week. By then Greg Lemond was making a name for himself.

1984 Bianchi Limited

Campagnolo Derailleur

I rode the Bianchi until 1987. I was now averaging about 200+ miles per week and was in the prime of my racing form. I could ride like the wind. Riding was my life. I had cycling posters on the walls of my office at work. Ride to live, live to ride!

In 1987 I was involved in a cycling accident, and my beloved Bianchi was busted up (I was pretty banged up also, but I healed). I still have the jersey I was wearing in a frame.

Bianchi Jersey

I decided to get a new, custom bike, so I picked out the frame (a black Mino Denti frameset), Matrix Ico-C wheels, Campagnolo hubs and head tube bearings, Suntour Superbe Pro derailleurs, and other bits. The bike fit me like a glove, but the Matrix wheels would never stay true (early generation aero-shaped alloy wheels). The black frame was accented with a white saddle, white handlebar tapes, and lots of chrome. It was a beautiful bike.

Mino Denti Frameset (mine was black with chrome)

I did more mountain biking and grew away from road biking in the 90s. By 2000, my Italian frame was getting aged. It did not have indexed shifting, it needed new wheels, and could do with new freewheel and chain. I sold the old Mino Denti. I bought a new Klein Quantum in 2003. I have been riding on it for the last 7 years. It has been a great bike. I put new wheels on it last year (they had developed cracks in them). I try to ride 100 to 150 miles a week in the summer. I don't have the speed I used to twenty years ago, but can still ride over 20 miles per hour.

Klein Quantum

One of these years I'll upgrade. Actually, I might get a cyclocross bike (it would be good in the winter). I have a 1970s era British 3-speed and a Haro V4 mountain bike. Maybe I'll do a post on all the mountain bikes I have owned (4 counting the one I own now). I even had a unicycle as a teenager! Like I said, I have had more bikes than cars . . .


~ Regan said...

What a great history, Dad! I remember that jersey (and your bike frame wall art)

miranda7380 said...

Don't forget, you also taught me how to ride a two wheeler :o) It was a purple banana seat... haha bet you didn't have one of those