Memory Lane

Sometimes, for work, I have to fly to Spokane. I am a trainer of new hires, and we have OnBoarding classes there. It doesn’t happen often, and it only for a few days, but it does get in the way of my riding.

As you may have gleaned, given a choice, my preferred method of working out is riding outside. The farther the better, and preferably somewhere with views of the mountains, ocean or other cool scenery. Barring that, I go for a good movie on the Cycle-Ops rollers, and work up a good sweat in the shed.

Well, in Spokane, neither of those is an option, so I am reduced to the workout room in the hotel and the life cycle, UGH!!! I bring a book to read and the iPod to listen to, but it doesn’t make it any better!

Today, though, was a bit different. Today my mind wandered while I pedaling to nowhere. (Shoot there’s no chance of falling over or crashing, so why pay attention!) It probably won’t surprise you that I started thinking about biking. What was surprising was I was thinking about how I started biking as opposed to where I wanted to go.

I don’t mean how I started biking as a kid! The early years!

My first pedaling memory was when I had to be somewhere around 4 years old. I had a gold tricycle, and I was riding around in circles in a court-yard or on a patio of some type. I was chasing some kid on a red trike, and I had a wire hangar in my hand. We were playing cowboys and indians (yep inappropriate now! But in the late 60s all kids did!) The hanger was my bow and arrow and I was trying to get the cowboy on the other bike! It’s just a flash, but remember having fun pedaling fast!

Then there was my first non trike. It was a purple huffy, with training wheels and hard rubber tires (nope no inflation or flats for me!) That thing was a solid piece of iron! In the first grade we lived at the bottom of a gravel road hill. I would push that thing to the top, hop on it training wheels and all, and ride like the wind! Yeah, even in those days I worried my mom!

A year later, a new place and my dad decided it was time I learned to ride without training wheels. Much to the disgust of the neighbors who had multiple dents on their cars. (OK, the whole straight line thing escaped me!) However, I distinctly the remember the day that I made it not only to the end of the block, but I was able to turn around and come home NON-STOP! All without a singe crash in the car! From that day on I was always on the bike. We lived in a small trailer park and I would ride all over it for hours!

Everywhere we moved after that (I was an army brat) I would explore the neighborhoods on the bike. No cell phones, no way to tell mom where I was. I came home hungry for lunch, and when it looked like it might be dinner time (Or I heard my drill sergeant (Yep he really was one) dad’s voice carrying for miles!

Jr High, and my first 10 speed. It was a cheap department store bike, but I loved it! We lived on Fort Lewis. Back then it was Bike riding heaven. The place was HUGE, traffic was light, and it was safe for kids. Eddie, Sylvester and I rode everywhere (Yep back then I wasn’t a bike loner!)

I tried to “work” on the bike, but by the time I was done I had no brakes (aside from my feet) and only the front shifter worked. But that was I needed! I remember racing a buddy down a hill, when suddenly we were kids lining both sides of the rode. Eddie was smart enough to slow down, but I wanted to win so I was flying, And that’s when I saw the bike ramp!

Did I mention no brakes? Well two choices went through my head. Jump OFF the bike or jump WITH it! So I hit it going as fast as I could and I swear the bottom of my tires were above the kids heads. I stuck the landing and won the race!

Before there were mountain bikes, I would take mine down coyote pass. A steep, almost single track (though we didn’t have that term) mile long hill. Self-named because I swear that ugly skinny stray gray dog I saw once HAD to be a coyote. No one else saw it, but I did!

The long and short of it, some of my favorite memories as a kid, involved bikes. I met my first best friend, I spent hours in the summer just riding with no destination in mind. I had never heard of the Tour, there were no X-games, just a kid who had the freedom of 2 wheels and no fear.

After I got a driver’s license, a car, and discovered girls, the bike rarely if ever appeared in my life until 2007. Now, though, I love when I am riding and I can feel a little bit like that younger version of me. Pedaling as fast or as far as I can, sunshine and a self-made breeze. No limit to how far I can go or how fast I can get there. HUGE smile plastered on my face. Hey is that a coyote? Bring on the ramp, I bet I can still stick the landing!

 

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