My sordid two-wheeled history

My sordid two-wheeled history

To the casual newcomer here, one might assume I haven’t logged much time on bikes, but quite the contrary, I’ve been into bikes my whole life. I’ve always loved the feeling of flying down an open road on a bike. It’s just that in recent years, I’ve been, um, busy with life and have not been very good at keeping at it. Below are some photos and anecdotes of all the bikes I’ve owned (admittedly not a lot) over the years. I think this is more for my edification than anything else, but hopefully it can help spark some nostalgia with someone else out there.

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The Big Wheel

I know, technically not a bike, but I rode the hell outta this thing. That is actually me in the photo, at our old house on Lynnridge in Cedar Hills, Oregon. I used to ride this thing down our driveway into the street and nearly was run over on at least two occasions when I rode out in front of moving cars that could not be seen due to the tall hedges between our house and our neighbors’ house.

Fate: Unknown.

Image courtesy of bygonebikes.com

Image courtesy of bygonebikes.com

The Schwinn Stingray

First, this is not the actual bike, but is pretty much how I remember mine. This was the bike that I learned to ride bikes on. I loved this bike with all my heart, it was a thing of majestic beauty. Unfortunately, one night I didn’t put it away and left it sitting outside the side garage door. Then next day when I went outside to ride my bike, all that I found was the word, “Sorry” scrawled into the cement with a bark chip. I was devastated.

Fate: Stolen and rubbed in

Image courtesy of franksbikes.com

Image courtesy of franksbikes.com

The Frankenstein Bike

This, again, is not the exact bike. After my Stingray was stolen, my dad found a used bike and fixed it up for me. I think he painted mine gold. I remember going to the bike shop with him and seeing some beautiful anodized gold BMX handlebars and begging for them. My parents bought the handlebars and I had to earn them. I went into their room every day to gaze longingly at the handlebars and then, after much repeated nagging on my part, convinced my parents to give me the bars early. I think I also got one of those huge cushy seats like the Schwinn Hurricane in the photo that said, “MX” on the back, because it looked like a motorcycle seat. My bike ended up being so cool that the school bully tried to talk me into trading bikes with him. I declined and never saw a day of respite from his bullying. Damn you, Richard Hilton. Damn you.

Fate: Can’t remember

Image courtesy of oldtenspeedgallery.com

Image courtesy of oldtenspeedgallery.com

The Raleigh Grand Prix

Again, not an actual photo of my bike. Somewhere around the third grade, I saw the movie Breaking Away, which was basically about bicycle racing. That combined with my dad owning a Bianchi racing bike made me want to have a ten speed and become a racer. For Christmas that year, my parents surprised me with a brand new Raleigh Grand Prix. I was awe struck. I loved that bike so and rode it everywhere, did combat rolls off it, treated it like absolute crap and it held up to every ounce of abuse. I’d put on my Campagnolo racing cap and cruise up and down the street like a madman. I had that bike for a good 4 years before we moved enough that it was lost somewhere along the way.

Fate: MIA

The Rebuilt Raleigh of Indeterminate Origin (No Photo)

When I was in high school one summer while staying with my dad, we rebuilt an old Raleigh he’d managed to get his hands on. We stripped the paint off and painted the frame all white, then rebuilt it, fixing or replacing what needed to be replaced along the way. I used that bike a bit to do some rides and get around a bit. It was a decent little ride.

Fate: MIA

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The Novara Ponderosa

When I worked at REI in the early ’90s, I was able to get a tremendous deal on one of their bikes. I saved up some money and bought their Ponderosa, which at the time, was a mid-range mountain bike that came with RockShox (this was when shocks were just starting to come out on Mtn. Bikes). I made a few changes to the bike, namely putting some regular steel forks on (I’d mostly be riding roads at that time), removing the Novara decals and adding some accessories. This bike has lasted me nearly 20 years now, and I don’t think I’ve ever replaced the tires. Granted, I’ve not logged a ton of hours on it, but it’s been a great bike for me overall. I recently replaced the saddle with a more comfortable one and added some climb bar ends. Mostly it gets used to cruise around with the kids and tow my daughter in our trusty Burly trailer. Not sure what I’ll do with it once I upgrade to something in the Cyclocross family, but we’ll see.

Fate: Still in Posession

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1964 Bianchi Team Racing Bike

My dad recently handed down his vintage Bianchi team bike, which you can read more about here. I’m going to restore it and keep it around as a road bike to ride once in awhile. I dig it and can’t wait to get it back into shape.

Fate: Yet to be seen

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