I had so much to do last night that I was reduced to doing laps around the neighborhood after dark. I needed to stay close to the house because I was expecting a phone call.
Distance: 9.4 miles 2008: 1078.6
When I got home from work last night the Veloterrorist told me that his bike was making a funny sound, and he went into the typical kid animated attempt to reproduce it for me. Based on his excellent description, plus the added information that he had been jumping curbs, I found my assumption to be correct with the discovery of a rear flat.
That means that now I have two flats to fix: his MTB and my Cannondale.
In the interim, I pulled out the Pacific Arrow and adjusted the seat to his height and explained the gearing/shifting. Amazingly, he picked up right away that he now had a 9 speed rear rather than the 8. I guess my little tutorial the other night made more of an impression than I realized. The most exciting change, however, is now he has bar-ends, so he can simulate flying a star fighter. Oh dear…
I got to thinking about my first bike the other day. It was a black English 3 speed that I inherited from my uncle. As I recall, it had a fair amount of rust which I cleaned up, but the bike functioned quite well. It had black fenders with the white section at the reflector, most likely a Sturmey Archer hub, and an unusual set of upright bars.
It also had a mechanical siren that was a real hoot. It was mounted on the front fork, and you would activate it by pulling a cord, which brought a cam up against the front tire. The thing was loud! and I remember how all the heads would turn when I kicked it in. I doubt it would be legal today.
At first it was too big for me and I remember having trouble starting and stopping, but I quickly grew into it and went about the process of discovering the new world.
Eventually, I bugged my dad into buying me a JC Penneys 3 speed Stingray that I customized with a suspension shock and fork extensions. Oddly though, I remember the feeling one day when a pack of us were riding, and I noticed that the guys with the old English 3 speeds were way out ahead of the rest of us on our Stingrays. Somewhere along the line I also picked up a Schwinn single speed Stingray.
When I got up to middle school, I acquired another JC Penney bike; this time a 10 speed racer from their warehouse store. It was only $40 because one of the chainstays had broken and had been brazed. That bike served me well for several years until we moved to Reading, where the hills aren’t very friendly for bike riding. One weekend I returned from college and noticed it missing. The “silent theory” was that my step brother had sold it to support his drug habit.
After that, I don’t think I owned another bike for twenty years when I picked up the used Fuji tourer and started riding again.