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Saying goodbye to my first Road bike.(19 posts)

Saying goodbye to my first Road bike.Me Dot Org
Apr 19, 2002 7:07 PM
In 1983 I weighed 220 pounds and I was miserable. I decided to buy a bike to try and get some exercise. I finally decided on a Fuji S-12-S-LTD, a touring bike with the (to me) unbelievable luxury of 18 speeds (3x6 Suntour).

I started riding the Fuji to work in the summer. The wind would always blow in from the ocean coming home, making working uphill very hard, but I kept pushing.

One weekend I remember taking the bike to Golden Gate Park, and being dropped by a another cyclist going up a hill. "You P*ssy", I told myself. When I got home I discovered I'd lost 5 pounds on that ride.

Over the first year of riding, I lost 35 pounds. I remember running into someone I hadn't seen in a while. His jaw dropped. He asked me if I had been sick.

I kept riding for years, putting nothing into the Fuji except chains and tires.

In 1989, I was riding on a street with trolley tracks. A mountain bike was riding up the wrong side, coming towards me. I tried to cross the track to go around, but my front tire caught in the tracks. I was wearing toe clips and when I went down my knee was crushed and twisted, ACL torn off.

A bone graft from my hip, 7 screws in the knee, and a toe-to-thigh cast for 3 months.

About 10 months later I rode the Fuji a couple of times, but it felt wierd. It sat in my closet for 10 years.

I quit smoking in 2000, and decided to try to get back in shape. The bicycle came out of the closet. Tuned up, new chain, I rode about 5 miles for the first time in 10 years. It felt good, better than I thought it would. Why, I asked myself, did I stop?

I started riding every day. I still remember the day I dropped a dressed-to-the-nines couple on litespeeds with a touring bike that was nearly as old as they were, but the Fuji was showing its age. I decided to treat myself to a new bike, something a bit lighter with the wonder of index shifting. In San Francisco apartment space is a premium, and the Fuji got moved into the kitchen.

I began to realize that the Fuji was taking up space, when it could be out working. It deserved a better fate than to just gather dust and be a backup bike.

Today I rode it, for the last time, to a place called Pedal Revolution, which trains kids to be bike mechanics. The guy at the shop seemed to feel my reluctance to part with it. "Don't worry", he said. "We'll find it a good home".

It was the bike that got me back into biking as an adult. It helped be lose 35 pounds once, and 16 years later, 20 pounds.

It cost $359 new. Nothing in my life has ever come close to giving me that much satisfaction for so few dollars.

I know it did the right thing in letting it go, but I had to write a little tribute to the Fuji that changed my life.
Rock on, bro!jtolleson
Apr 19, 2002 7:44 PM
Appreciated it. Really.
re: Saying goodbye to my first Road bike.Alpedhuez55
Apr 19, 2002 8:06 PM
My first real road bike was a blue Lotus. I was in High school at the time, 1982, and saved about $250 on my paper route to buy it. What a great bike. I used to ride it everywhere. I to lost a lot of weight riding that year. I went from 272 to 205. I got hit by a car on it one day. I was sideswiped by a guy doing a rolling stop at a stop sign. I was a mess, broken collarbone, broken jaw and teeth, cuts all over my face and legs and a week in the hospital. The Lotus only needed new chain. The day I got out of my should brace I was right back on it.

I'll never know why I did not buy another Lotus when I got my next bike. I think I wanted something French at the time and I made the mistake of buying a Gitane. The frame was too flexy, the pedal axle broke and I could not find a shop in the Boston area that sold a pedal that fit it. The Huret drivetrain could not compare to the Suntour on my cheaper Lotus.

I did get back int road riding a several years ago though. I bought a Centurian in a thrift shop for $30 and after a wheel truing and replacng the cables and brake pads, I had a serviceable road bike turned my new mountain bike which had cost 20 time as much into a helmet rack. It rekindled my love of the road. It reminded me a lot of my Lotus. I put a a couple of thousand miles on it before moving up to a KHS then to my current LeMond Zurich.

I still have the Centurian. A couple of years ago I turned it into a Fixed Gear/Singlespeed commuter bike. It is also the first bike out of the basement if I am riding less than 10 miles or trying to run an errand. To this day, I have not punctured even once on that bike. My first ride on the KHS was interrupted 1/2 mile in by a flat. I guess there is some sort of goos Karma that watches over an old bike.

Thanks for the Great story MDO. It brought back som memories.

Mike Y.
Apr 19, 2002 9:22 PM
fuji s twelve s
a blanket of memories
on a cool spring night--
thanks for sharing you love story. nice :-) NmSpirito
Apr 20, 2002 4:50 AM
re: Saying goodbye to my first Road bike.DINOSAUR
Apr 20, 2002 5:46 AM
That's a nice story. My first road bike should be hanging in the Smithsonian Institute. I have similiar feelings about my current bike that brought me back to cycling after I retired in 1999. I too was overweight and smoked. I also had a nasty crash in which my bike came out far better than I. I'm waiting for a new bike as I type. However I'm lucky I have space for my old Klein in the garage. I'll never part with it. We've been to hell and back together. It's funny how you can get attached to a piece of metal. What kind of bike did you buy?
re: Saying goodbye to my first Road bike.Me Dot Org
Apr 20, 2002 8:14 AM
I replaced it with a Bianchi Veloce, which took only 18 months to crash. Unlike the trolley track episode, where I was toast and the bike was fine, the situation was reversed. Hit the back of a car straight on. Bless Mavic Open Pros, they didn't go out of true, but the frame now has 'knuckles' on the top tube and down tube (I'll post a picture when I get a digital camera).

I replaced the Bianchi with a Carl Strong ( http://www.strongframes.html ). Foco steel, carve carbon seat stays, Campy Racing Triple. It's a great Century bike, the most comfortable road bike I've ever ridden.

Right now the plan is to take the mechanical bits of the Bianchi (Campy Veloce triple) and transplant them to a Mercian touring frame for in-town shopping and light trail use. I'll use the campy drivetrain with canti brakes. It will be my retrogrouch ride - I've already ordered a Brooks Swift for the saddle.

It's funny. My father was a golfer - a pretty good one, too (7 handicap). Golf never clicked for me me - my body never 'got it', the way it understood cycling or skiing. No one else in my family is a cyclist - I'm the weird guy who dresses in lycra and looks like failed superhero.

It was hard for me getting on a bike after my first crash. Tearing off an ACL - well, there is no second place for pain in my life. But the of love cycling finally got me back (as I know it will for you).

Best of luck with your recovery. (If I remember correctly, you're waiting for a some Colnago Steel - should be a great ride).

Ride Safe.
re: Saying goodbye to my first Road bike.DINOSAUR
Apr 20, 2002 5:57 PM
I'm well recovered, my crash was back in February of 2000. Sustained a blow out to my front tire while descending.

The Strong is a fine frame, I came very close to ordering a Steelman, but the owner of my LBS gave me one heck of a deal on an '02 Colnago Master X-light that I couldn't pass up.

My home town is Palo Alto, a little south of the City by The Bay. My wife's side of the family are 2nd generation Italian who used to live on Texas Street.

Cycling is more like dancing, man and machine merge into one.

It's also good the have at least two bikes, one to use when the weather is lousy or when the good rig is in the shop. Guess you always have the need for more than one bike.
Holy six degrees Dino, I lived on Texas St!lonefrontranger
Apr 21, 2002 4:57 AM
This would have been 1969-71. I was 3 when we left, but I clearly recall living on the hill and the little deli/market up the hill by the park.

They shot some kind of Chuck Norris cars-flying-thru-the-air type movie there while we lived there. All the neighbors watched and it took several days to film just the one car chase scene.
Holy six degrees Dino, I lived on Texas St!DINOSAUR
Apr 21, 2002 9:37 AM
This goes way back to the late 40's, early 50's, after WWII. My mother-in-law is 2nd generation Italian, born in S.F. Maiden name Bettini. I often wondered if any relation to the Betteni in the pro peloton. She tells stories of the old days of her father making wine in the cellar that brings tears to my eyes as I laugh so hard. They moved to Redwood City in the early 50's and my mother-in-law lives in the same house to this day. She is now 87 year old. Those Italians know how to live and enjoy life, guess that's why I married into an Italian family. Probably also why I picked a Colnago as my dream bike.
Very poignant, MDO - nicely done!! (nm)RhodyRider
Apr 20, 2002 7:15 AM
re: Saying goodbye to my first Road bike.johnjohn
Apr 20, 2002 7:29 AM
Eloquent! You riding that Strong now? I bet that'll create some great memories as well.
re: Saying goodbye to my 2nd road bike.SantaCruz
Apr 20, 2002 9:03 AM
I'll keep my first bike story short.
New 1982 Centurion ProTour 15 taught me how to ride 100 miles in a day and climb really steep hills. I used to have to zigzag across the road just to make the top. 20 years later I'm still riding those same roads, but no zigzags. I moved to a '98 Marin road bike and then bought my dream Calfee Tetra in 2000. I'm selling the Marin but could never part with the Centurion.

Like others a $300+ investment in the 80's was the best I've ever made.
I'd buy back all of my bikes if I couldgtx
Apr 20, 2002 9:01 AM
but of course there are always financial and space issues.
Um, pass the tissues, please.Spinchick
Apr 20, 2002 11:03 AM
Seriously, reading that just turned me into a teary-eyed sap. What a great story and tribute.
The gifts we get & the gifts.....Len J
Apr 20, 2002 11:47 AM
we give.

Thanks for giving me the gift you got!

Great tribute.

1989 cannondaleesbike
Apr 20, 2002 1:24 PM
My first real road bike was a touring cannondale I bought in 1989. A friend and I rode across the U.S. that summer, camping out the entire way. I new nothing about bikes before that trip and my longest ride before going was 20 miles, which I thought was an unbelievable distance. We wore regular shorts, topsiders, and no gloves. Passed over the rockies in Wyoming at 11,000 ft. Had zero flats thanks to mr. tuffy but broke 2 rear spokes. That trip got me into road biking. I saved the frame but removed and tossed the worn out components. It has take me most of a year, but I have finally put new/used components on it and now it is a functioning commuter. I'm glad I saved the frame. So many memories.
I still ride mine..............STEELYeyed
Apr 20, 2002 4:02 PM
its a mid 70's japanese touring bike that I bought at Montgomery Wards for $ far we have come,how little we change.
That's a really nice story. Thanks. Things aren'tbill
Apr 21, 2002 8:35 AM
supposed to be imbued with all that meaning, but sometimes they are.
My brother says never to cry over anything that won't cry over you. But, here we can make an exception.