I like bicycles! (antidote for le Tour doping thread)

Cheering myself up!
Am I an overweight dilettante dabbler in the bike world. However! I like bicycles! I like riding bikes! I like bike commuting! I like watching bike racing!

I love sticking a velcro thingie on my cuff and pedaling the 2 miles to work, looking at the mountains on a clear day and remembering why I like living where I do, smelling what the neighborhood smells like that morning (mown grass? New bark mulch? Barbecue? Rain on hot pavement? Blackberries coming in?), stopping to pick a handful of red huckleberries, and dragging my bike up the stairs and into my office. I love putting on raingear on pouring days and feeling impervious. I love smiling internally at the crazy students with their snazzy new fixed-gears with no brakes trying to trackstand at the red light, and the other students with the undersized mountainbike with their seat all the way down and knees hitting the handlebars because they’ve just started riding again after not doing so since they were 11 on their old BMX bike and don’t know any differently.

I like not being able to give anyone decent driving directions around town because I have no idea about freeway ramps and don’t really realize that you can’t drive through that park or over that pedestrian overpass. It’s like being 10 years old all the time.

I love busting out the ‘real ride’ gear in March and going much too far on the road so that my neck and wrists hurt and I get a ridiculous bike-glove shaped sunburn with the little opening on the back of the hand.

I love jumping on my mountain bike and heading into the woods and weaving between tree trunks and over roots and stopping to pull out binoculars to look at birds. I love the clicking sound of my White Industries hub. I love remembering to shift early enough to not stall on the damn hill on Cleveland trail; I love hanging back on the saddle to get enough traction with the back wheel and spinning in a teeny tiny little ring and getting up that bastard.

I like heading to the velodrome or the crit and hearing cowbells and watching riders bust their asses for lap primes from local shops-- socks and waterbottles. I like cheering for the 11-year old kid on the development team. I like knowing that my non-doping friend kicked ass in Redmond last weekend and may make Olympic tryouts. I love watching races in other countries where I can’t speak the language but have something in common with those chain-smoking coots around me and cheering for the hometown boy (Go, Sven Nijs!).

I love shrugging as I’m out on my old road bike and turning in towards the forest trails on its skinny little tires and having a ball and thinking again every summer that this winter I should try out cyclocross.

And you?

I’ve been a bike rider for most of my life. I went from a Stingray to a Typhoon to a Raleigh 3-speed to a C. Itoh 10-speed to a Univega Surpa-sport to a Hardrock to a Randonnee, and now I have a Bianchi Campione d’ Italia and a Rockhopper A1 Comp.

I’ve always enjoyed riding by myself more than with a group or a club, although I used to have fun on the rides in San Francisco where they shut down streets for the morning. On my cross-country road trips, I’ve had the opportunity to ride in National Parks from Acadia to Zion, as well as some of the great rails-to-trails routes.

I used to date a hard-core cyclist–I rode the Banana Classic Century with her one year, but events like the Davis and Death Valley Doubles, and the Markleeville Death Ride were beyond my capacity.

Me too. I ride 15 miles a day on my commute and usually a 20-30 mile ride every other weekend or so. I love the way you see more, and appreciate the changing seasons more than you do in a car. I notice things I’ve never noticed before despite doing the same journey for 6 years before I started cycling it.

Hey! Fellow Cascadian here!

I love bicycling, though I don’t do enough of it these days. I went 14-1/2 years without a driver’s license. I bicycled (or walked, in bad weather) everywhere, and it kept me in great shape. Well, mostly great shape. Basically, I could eat what I liked and guzzle 3-4 liters of Mountain Dew every day, and burn off all the calories through biking or walking. Then I got my driver’s license back, but didn’t change my diet … in the five months between regaining my license and my “new” car going tits up, I put on a bunch of weight :frowning:

But now I’m back to bicycling. For years, I’d said I was going to spend some money for a good bike. I’d been riding inexpensive “mountain bikes”* purchased from big box stores like Target and ShopKo, and I’ll tell you this: those sub-$200 bikes were never intended to be used as daily commuting bikes. They don’t last. So what always happened was that I’d ride one until it broke down, and then go buy another one. I didn’t see the sense in paying $100+ to repair a sub-$200 bike. Here’s what happened with my last three cheap “mountain bikes”:

Pacific “mountain bike” from Target: rode it almost daily for about two years, mostly commuting but occasionally for exercise/recreation. On the way to work one day, the rear axle broke :eek: Fortunately, I wasn’t in traffic at the time! However, I was at the mid-point between home and work, and the broken axle meant the rear wheel would not turn at all. I had to pick up and carry this over-30-pound bike the rest of the way to work. After work I went right out and replaced it with another cheap “mountain bike”.

The new bike had cool front and rear suspension. I rode this one for a little over three years. One day I was coming home from work, and the brakes completely failed as I was descending the steep cloverleaf ramp off of the pedestrian bridge that crosses the Columbia River here in Wenatchee. You can’t tell from the satellite picture, but the top of that ramp is some 40 feet above the ground. I made it down without crashing, fortunately, walked the bike the rest of the way home, and went out and bought yet another cheap bike. I left the broken bike, with the seat removed, unlocked on my front porch. Three days later, somebody stole it in the middle of the night, and I found myself hoping, oh-so-sincerely, that the thief didn’t find out the hard way that it had no brakes :smiley:

So next I bought a Schwinn “mountain bike”. I figured that a Schwinn would be better quality/more durable than the previous off-brand bikes. Indeed, it seemed to be — it held up well for the year-and-a-half that I rode it. But it ended up parked, locked to my front porch, once I got a car and a driver’s license. Last fall, another thief found it and took what he could, stealing the quick-release front wheel and seat and leaving the rest of the bike chained to the porch.

So this spring I finally made the decision that it was time for an honest-to-goodness, high quality, adult bicycle. With some help from my local bike shop, I selected a Specialized Allez Elite Triple (link to my blog, scroll down for pics) road bike. Enough with mountain bikes — I ride on roads and paved trails, not off-road. I’m absolutely loving this bike. It weighs a mere 21 pounds (my six-year-old niece performed a nice clean-and-jerk with it and lifted it straight over her head), and goes as fast as I can push it (with mountain bikes I often found myself in situations where, even in high gear, I couldn’t go any faster, due simply to the lower gear ratios).

I’ve only had the bike since May, but I think I’ve already put more miles on it than I put on my previous bike in the year-and-a-half I rode it. My current commute is only three blocks, so most of the mileage on my Allez has come from pure recreational riding on the local bike trail (which is an approximately 10-mile loop). This bike is pure joy to ride!

  • I keep putting “mountain bike” in quote, because they were actually “mountain-style bikes”. The cheap things all came with disclaimers that they were not actually intended for heavy duty off-road use

I love bicycles too! Unfortunately, I’ve fallen off the bike riding for exercise wagon and now just tool around town. I went to two schools that both had a hard on for bicycling, UC Davis and UCSB. I actually once bought a backyard full of bicycles and a truckload of bicycles on a different occasion. I have had more bicycles stolen than most people have ever owned in their lives.

I once built a two wheel drive triple, the third rider sitting on seat mounted on handlebars with an extra set of cranks welded above the forks.

I have a hand built Colnago in my living room that I bought for $25 at a garage sale (not full Campy, and missing a rear deraileur). I own two Schwinn Racers, a Tiger and one of those Typhoon type Schwinns with a straight lower top tube.

I’ve ridden the Davis Double Century 3 times. I will not confess as to what my time was, only that I once drafted off a woman old enough to be my grandmother. Ha! I dropped her in the hills! I’ve ridden from Canada to Mexico. I have a poster of Bernard Thevenet. I am the world’s slowest bike rider and am often passed by sorority girls riding on beach cruisers. I saw Lance win the 2001 Tour de France on the Champs-Élysées. I saw Connie Carpenter and Alexi Grewal win gold medals in the 1984 Olympics.

I love cycling too. I just learned how to bicycle this summer and it’s been my main mode of transportation ever since. It makes going everywhere much more fun, especially when the weather is nice.

Today I cycled into the city the scenic way, so it took about an hour. Once I got into the city I found myself stopping at lights with another cycler and we ended up having a really good conversation while waiting for the lights to change. I could never imagine doing that in a car.