Bike by Bike:
Reflections on Bicycles and Life
As I got older I started acquiring bigger, more complicated wheels to ride. A maroon-colored, double-butted steel 10-speed Motobecane was the first bike I had with drop handlebars and gears. It was the two-wheeled machine I rode to high school (until I got my first car). A cobalt blue, chrome-moly Schwinn Sierra was my primary mode of transport throughout college, graduate school, several seasonal jobs in various states, and into the first couple of years of my marriage. Eventually, this bike was stolen from the front porch of my home, after being left unlocked for three days. I completed my first long-distance, overnight ride on a hunter green Trek 520. With a rack on the back, and a frame stretched out to support the extra weight I might put on my bike, as well as insure that I enjoyed a relatively smooth ride, that bike got me excited about traveling across the country. That is until learning on an AidsRide from Raleigh, NC to Washington, DC when I was well into my thirties that the top tube was entirely too long for me, and that being that stretched out on my bike was most likely the reason for the terrible neck, shoulder and back pain I was enduring.
I later moved toward acquiring mountain bikes for playing on the single-track that meandered through the woods in the park behind our house in Pittsburgh. My first was a Gary Fisher HooKooEKoo. And a Jamis Coda Elite followed that for commuting around town. Both of these bikes ended up not fitting me properly. So, their tenure in my home was short-lived.
Somewhere along the way someone suggested to me that I needed a “proper fit” for my bikes. As a result I currently have three bicycles, all used for different adventures, and all fitting me like a glove. My aluminum/carbon blue Colnago is perhaps my current pride and joy, a road bike that has delivered me across many miles exploring cities, back country roads, up rolling and steep hills, and down into valleys that have blown me away with their beauty. I depend on a vanilla shake-colored steel Waterford for commuting around the city, running errands, meeting friends, visiting the library for mid-afternoon trysts with some of my favorite writers, and enjoying a coffee at a local java joint with a friend. And, finally, I have a white and black Fuji Addy mountain bike that sadly spends more time hanging out in my garage. I have grand intentions of learning how to mountain bike, and refuse to even consider parting with this bike until I’ve given her a real chance at pedaling through the dirt and mud in a park just minutes from my home.