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how'd you get into cycling?(33 posts)

how'd you get into cycling?ishmael
Sep 26, 2002 11:48 AM
Are we all the same kids who used to ride around the neighborhood all summer on our bmx bikes doing wheelies and jumps. I graduted to a moutain bike(never went off road) then a track bike with a freewheel(cheap and reminicent of bmx). The whole time I never dreamed I'd ride 250 miles a week with shaved legs, bib, and noxema on my crotch. Going 2 miles was an epic back then, although I probably did at least that much daily while staying on the same street. I'm feeling nostalgic and am about to buy a bmx for short commutes(and wheelies and jumps). I havent ridden one for atleast a decade. Did any of you think you would be big into road riding? I think I knew I'd always be into bikes in some form.
re: It all started with a divorce settlement.dzrider
Sep 26, 2002 11:55 AM
I wound up with some cash so I bought a VW Scirocco and an Austro Daimler Inter 10 bike. I rode it some, but not that much and then got laid off in December of 1982. I flew the bike down to New Orleans, ran the marathon and spent the next 3 months riding around the south and back up the coast to CT. Been at it ever since.
re: how'd you get into cycling?No_sprint
Sep 26, 2002 11:55 AM
Similar here. Rode my bike everywhere. Got into BMX racing around 9 years old or so. Did that for a few years. Took some time off. Got a mountain bike around 1982. They were brand new. Started pseudo racing after that (large competitive group rides). There were no races around that I knew of back then. Rode with the del's Angels in Newport Beach. Switched to road after college. 35 now and still bangin' in out with the 20somethings in the nasty crits. Tough gig.
I ride and SS mtb for nostalgiaczardonic
Sep 26, 2002 12:10 PM
More comfotable for commutes, still ok for tricks and jumps. Same fun and simplicity.

Though I have always had a bike (graduated from BMX to mtb in the 4th grade), my old fully rigid mtb (now my occasional SS) sat in various basements all through college. Since January, I added a fixed gear road bike, a geard road bike and a trials/urban mtb. I guess I am a late bloomer.
I bought a copy of Bicycling magazine when I was a kid.Ken of Fresno
Sep 26, 2002 12:13 PM
Like most kids, I had always had a bike. One day when I was around 12 years old I wondered into a book store and saw a copy of Bicycling magazine. I still remember, the first thought I had was "Huh. There is actually a magazine about bicycles." After flipping through the pages I was shocked to see that somebody would pay over $1000 just for a bicycle. I thought it was a misprint. I bought the magazine. It was the first magazine I had ever purchased. I have been hooked ever since. I still have that issue by the way.

Still have that issue??? That's cool...biknben
Sep 26, 2002 12:24 PM
One thing everyone regrets at some point is getting rid of their old bikes and gear. Even though I'd never ride it, I'd love to have one of my first bikes hanging next to my current rigs.

Hold onto that mag.
Paperoute first, but ultimately bike messengering. (nm)onespeed
Sep 26, 2002 12:14 PM
re: how'd you get into cycling?Von Zip
Sep 26, 2002 12:16 PM
Used to be a ski bum in Colorado and needed a interesting way to stay in shape during the summer. Cycling fit the bill. My ski bum days are now gone, but cycling is still going strong.
As a kid...biknben
Sep 26, 2002 12:17 PM
Learned to ride (no training wheel) at 5 or 6 YO. At age 11 or so, I reach a turning point. I got a 10-speed. It became easy to go pretty far from home. I couple friends and I just rode as far away as practical and tried not to get into too much trouble.

At age 12 I moved to a new town. The bike became my means of exploration. One day I went for a long ride after school. I got about 7 miles from home and my father saw me while coming home from work. At that age, 7 miles out is like an epic. He spun that car around faster than a cop and chewed me out pretty good. I guess that was another turning point. By age 14 I had what qualifies as a real road bike, an '87 Fuji Palisade. $310, came with a water bottle, cage and toe clips and I was GONE. Riding was no longer a means of transportation. It was a part of me. I never looked back. While my friends worked to save for a car, I got another bike.

I worked in Fuji's NJ warehouse when I was 19 YO. That's when I found heaven. More bikes and parts then I ever imagined.

I've never been off the bike for any extended period of time. My neighbors call me "the bike guy". My extended family thinks I'm nuts. Actually, my wife thinks I'm nuts too but she ignores it.
Grandfathers retirment"golden hand shake"pukka
Sep 26, 2002 12:27 PM
he took me to the coop and bought me a 5 speed raleigh(i'm from nottingham, so it had to be raleigh) medale in 1976,kept it for years though in the end only the frame was orignal
15 years old, a buddy and I rode 90 miles each wayDave Hickey
Sep 26, 2002 12:46 PM
to meet some girls. We spent the first night in a farmers field. The next day, the wife invited us in for a fresh farm breakfast. When we finally made it to our destination, we talked to the girls for about two hours and started our ride back home. Stopped in a different farmers field on the way home. Same senario next morning. It's funny, I can't even remember what the girls looked like, but I sure remember the ride.
Started young and I've been at it ever since.JL
Sep 26, 2002 12:50 PM
Of course, I've taken various "vacations" from the bike (now known as the "fat years") where I didn't really do any exercise. I did the paper route thing through grade school. Yes, we had tons of bike games (ball tag, etc.). I started seeing the "very limited" ABC Tour De France coverage as a kid and became enamored. When I acquired a 10 speed I would pretend I was racing.

One of my first bikes was some Japanese version(I think) that had separate handlebars at odd angles with a banana seat. The bars could be adjusted individually. I did everything on that bike until I outgrew it.

There's more to this story, but now that I'm "back" again (for the last 3 years), I'm not leaving. I love riding too much and I like being in almost better shape than in high school (I'm 34 now).

This is a good thread. I'm enjoying some of the other responses.

Happy riding.

as a way to fitness.rufus
Sep 26, 2002 1:18 PM
i'd always ridden bikes as a kid-ballooners, and then when i was 13, got my first "ten speed", a raleigh. that was my transportation, until i got my lisence, and slowly the bike got used less and less. i took it to college my freshman year, but rarely used it, and it got consigned to the dust heap.

fast forward to age 29, just getting over a herniated disc, and toting a few extra pounds(well, still have those), and decided i needed to get into some semblance of fitness. running was out of the question, and i knew how much i used to like the bike, so i bought all the bike mags and started shopping for a decent road bike. that was 13 years ago.
Sadistic paternal unit. . .js5280
Sep 26, 2002 1:21 PM
Just kidding. I remember my dad teaching me how to ride a 2 wheel bike fondly in Gainesville, FL. This had to be around kindergarten, maybe a little earlier. I loved my bikes as a kid, then I turned 16 and I loved my bitch'n 1979 Toyota Corolla Fastback. When it was time for college I bought a rigid 1988 Nishiki Ariel MTB which I still have, I left the car at home. Traded the bike for girlfriend (who had a plane!) Broke up with said girl a number of years later, found my Ariel dusty and neglected. Started riding again. Got cancer (2 months after Lance), kept riding to get back the muscle I lost. Vowed to ride 100 miles (seemed like a big deal back then) for my 5 year aniversary of finishing chemo. Bought a Diamondback X-2 double boinger cause the rigid shook the fillings out of my teeth up on Sourdough. Couldn't wait 5 years to ride 100 miles so I bought the Airborne Zep and starting hanging out with shady characters at, then the Santa Cruz Superlight. Rest of the story still in progress. . .

BTW, I saw a THREE year old riding a BMX race (a real track, this was a competition) when I was in Grand Junction. I think the crank arm length was his inseam! He could barely fit on the bike but he knew how to ride it up the jumps and around berms. The next youngest in that heat were 6 years old. I'll be damned if he didn't put in a very respectable performance against the 6 year olds. Kind of have to wonder if this kid might be a famous racer some day with such an early start.
Life phasesSteve98501
Sep 26, 2002 1:28 PM
I had a couple bikes as a kid and used them as an item of play as well as practical transportation to school or visit friends. Completely lost interest when I began to drive, but bought another bike (a 10 speed Raleigh) in college, mainly as practical transportation (large campus and no place to park cars). Pretty much forgot bikes until I started spin class at my gym a little over four years ago. I had given up jogging due to knee problems, and I was very happy to discover the aerobic benefits of spinning without the impacts that my middle age body wouldn't take any more. Spin class is full of serious and hard core cyclists, and they invited me to join club rides the following spring as a way to maintain the exercise outside in the fresh air. Bought a new bike in '98, built another one last summer, and I can't believe that I've gotten hooked on this hobby that will help me maintain fitness for the rest of my life. I've ridden a couple cross-state tours, the Seattle-to-Portland double century as a 2-day, then a 1-day ride, and RAMROD (a hardcore 154 mi./10,000' climb). My adult kids laugh and say they never thought they'd see the day their old man wore lycra! Me neither.
Knee surgeryMudman
Sep 26, 2002 2:27 PM
Doc said swiming and cycling. Tried both and liked riding better.
re: how'd you get into cycling?bianchi boy
Sep 26, 2002 2:38 PM
When I was a kid, we rode our Schwinn bikes everywhere. I lived in Toledo, OH, then and we used to ride all the way to Maumee to buy penny candy at a little shop there. It seemed like a real journey but was probably only 5 miles or so. Didn't ride much in high school, but in college my 10-speed was my only means of transportation. I didn't ride much for pleasure then, but that was my only way to get around for many years in Athens, Ga.

I started running while in college and that was my main sport, but I started more serious cycling then to cross train. My first really long ride was a solo from Athens to Lake Burton in the mountains of N. Georgia, about 90 miles, much of it uphill. I first really got into cycling while living in Savannah, Ga., when my wife and I decided to ride BRAG -- Bike Ride Across Georgia. I was a reporter then and talked my editors into letting me go along and over the ride for the newspaper. I had to write 2 stories every day, after riding 60-80 miles, but it was worth it. I rode seriously for several years but somehow let it slip when my daughter was born -- it was just too hard to find the time. I didn't ride for about 10 years, but just decided one day to pick it up again. That was about 3 years ago and I'm riding more now than ever -- 7,000 miles last year and on track for about the same distance this year. Cycling is a great sport for when you get older because it doesn't beat you up like running and many other sports.
Got a bike for my 5th birthday ...Humma Hah
Sep 26, 2002 2:47 PM
... I confess I have not been a hell-bent-for-Brooks-leather cyclist for the entire 44 years since then, but there has not been a year since in which I did not ride, and LOVE it.

In high school, I preferred cycling to school to taking the bus. I was the only student of 1600 to do so. Not in fashion then.

In college, cycling was just catching on for the 70's. I rode everywhere, did not own a car.

The habit was killed for many years due to bad experiences with Northern Virginia traffic. I renewed my devotion during a stay in San Diego recently. I've continued my riding since returning to Virginia.
Sep 26, 2002 2:50 PM
My 8th birthday and my dad took me down to Monkey Wards and I picked out a Roadmaster Jet Pilot. When I turned 11 I upgraded to an English 3 speed that later turned out to be a drag queen by replacing the bars with flipped over long horns and I removed the fenders. Painted it ugly Monkey Vomit green (that was a real color). Flip foward to 1962 and I puchased a Bianchi road bike when I was in the service stationed at NAS Moffett Field Ca (I was the jar head at the main gate). In the early 70's I got serious into cycling a bought a Motobecane Le Champion that cost a whopping $700.00. Cost so much back in those days I had to take out a loan. The Motobecane lasted until the late 80's when I went the Italian route and purchased a Guerciotti SLX. That Guerciotti hung in the garage for a couple of years gathering dust due to misuse and I unloaded it to a teenage kid with a drug problem in 1996. A couple of months later I bought a Cannondale F700 MB, that never saw off road. I retired in 1998 and got back into road cycling and went the aluminum route with a Klein Quantum Race. Three years later and I decided that aluminum was not the material for me and I went the steel Italian route again and purchased a Colnago Master X-Light that was fittted and built for me by the kind owner of my LBS who gave me a big whopping discount and a guarantee that if I didn't love the bike he would refund my money. He was right, I do love the bike, and I still love riding. Just hit the big 60 and I will ride until they pry my fingers off my bars or if I get run over (which ever comes first).

I guess I ride because it's fun, even after all these years. The inner child inside you never goes away (just ask my wife)..

"The race is not always to the swift but to those who keep on riding".
LMAO, "I will ride until they pry my fingers off my bars or. . .js5280
Sep 26, 2002 7:06 PM
if I get run over (which ever comes first)." May it be the former and not the latter.
re: how'd you get into cycling?humbert
Sep 26, 2002 3:45 PM
I got my first bike, a red one, at 5 and learned to ride w/o training wheels after awhile (same way I taught my daughter - wear old clothes and ride on grass). In a few years my dad painted the frame black and we added "butterfly" handlebars and a "banana" seat - bingo!- a stingray. That bike as the envy of the neighborhood ( this is well before Schwinn came out with the crates,etc.)
As a teenager I rode a Schwinn 10 speed ( a Varsity I think ) till it was stolen down the shore and then got a lugged steel Paris Sport - a beauty that I rode everywhere.
Once I started driving a car that was it for the bike. Years passed.
At 42 I moved to an area with great roads and lots of hills. I got a hybrid, rode it and loved biking again. One thing led to another and now I do 5 to 9 hours a week on a 2000 Klein Quantum and I am actually getting stronger and faster.
I don't think I will ever stop cycling again.
re: how'd you get into cycling?Chainstay
Sep 26, 2002 4:51 PM
Like most kids I rode a lot. Then in my late teens I was at a point here I had some friends that lived about 10 miles away and had no transportation and little money. Someone lent me a 10 speed Murray and I jumped on the bike boom. Bought a Raleigh Grand Prix and toured across Canada. Bought a Peugeot PX 10E, then a Legnano Roma Olympiade, a Cinelli Special Corsa, a Specialized Allez Epic and now a Merlin Extralight. I loved them all, except the Murray. I've cycled for 32 years now and want to do another.
I think IT got into ME!Tig
Sep 26, 2002 5:05 PM
I'll skip the childhood Schwinn followed by the teen BMX facination. I guess it was always there inside me. When a motorcycle magizine stopped publishing, they sent me a bike magizine instead back in '86. I bought a cheap MTB and then a nice Cannondale MTB. Soon a Cannondale road bike with 105 (later destroyed in the accident described above) showed up in my living room. Recovering from being hit by a car, I discovered the true joys of riding and expanding my physical limits. The rest is history! Many bikes have come and gone, but the joy of riding stays strong.
My dad knew it when...hirevR
Sep 26, 2002 8:15 PM
my first steps were towards a tricycle they had bought me as a gift for the future. As I approached the trike a-la Frankenstein, I plopped on the back platform thing you put your feet on and didn't wanna leave. That and my obsession with all things two-wheeled since then i think. parents bought me a car at sixteen. a week before I had a roof rack for it and 2 days later I traded everything for a new mt. bike--never looking back. just some of the millions of memories.
quit smokingDanoK
Sep 26, 2002 9:33 PM
I was a dedicated 1.5 pack/day smoker for 10 years. Finally, finally, finally succeeded in quitting. The day I quit I decided I would become a runner. That was beating me up and didn't occupy enough time. My neighbor was very big into triathlon (and was very good at it...regularly qualified for national championships in his age group and regularly spanked the racers in the local cycling club at their time trials....they HATED that...but thats another story) ANYWAY, he heard my plight and told to go buy a road bike. He then drug me all over the hills southeast of Oklahoma City for months. He would do his intervals while I struggled along behind. And now, 11 years later I'm a full-fledged roadie with multiple bikes, too many cycling clothes, parts all over the place, and obsessed with riding and fitness.

Even after 11 years, I still justify my cycling expenditures by calculating how much per year I would be spending on cigarettes and figuring thats how much I can spend per year (guilt-free) on cycling. My wife views it that way too. That and she really likes the shape it keeps me in and what it has done for my legs. Bless her.
quit smokingleodin
Oct 2, 2002 9:11 AM
Speaking of quitting smoking and riding a bike ... About six months ago my doc got on my case: At 'tender' age of 41 and with cholesterol level nearing 300, smoking about a pack a day and downing 2-3 beers along. Ok, I said, I'll jump on a diet and start breaking some sweat and everything will be fine. So I did - shifted my diet, got myself a brand new Giant OCR2 entry level road bike and very basic gear along and put my butt on the road.

It's been three months now. Recently I clocked my first thousand miles on the bike, 50mi being the longest ride, learning along the way how to climb every single hill in the area ( 1500ft max), but let me tell you, smoking is still there. I know, it's ridiculous, but after I get home, relax a bit, sip a beer or two, I'm lighting up ... Btw, cholesterol checked out couple weeks ago - I'm at kosher 192.

I'm wondering how's that working at all - I'm not choking on the climbs, nor do I cough my brains out ... It's just something that I don't understand. My doc is clueless, most likely because of his reservations and liabilities - he just repeats 'stop smoking' and that's it.

Any insight on this matter you or anyone else could offer?
re: how'd you get into cycling?aliensporebomb
Sep 27, 2002 3:00 AM
When I was a kid, it was like bikes were a rite of passage for
all kids. It was toy, transportation and freedom all in one.
Everyone had a bike.

I started out on a nameless singlespeed deal with fenders.
Then a nameless banana seat copy bike.

Then I hit the big time - a Red Schwinn 5-speed Stingray
like the cool kids had with the matching mechanical Schwinn
speedometer/odometer. I rode that to death until I got hit
by a car while riding it.

Next bike: Schwinn Traveler III and I did the same with
that. Added a Cateye Solar computer (the first computer
for a bike I'd ever seen) as well as a halogen light. I
had that bike into my late twenties, commuted on it up to
40 miles a day or more. I was in the best shape of my

Then, later, the bike was stolen out of my garage and it
was found some 65 city blocks away, vandalized. It was
sort of dispiriting.

I got my drivers license finally at age 27 and started
driving to my job and got fat and sedentary.

Then, around age 34 after hearing my wife talk about how
I used to love riding so much she bought me a mountain bike.

It was a slippery slope from there to the road bike that a
friend abandoned at my place, and I eventually got the
Giant TCR that I'm riding now. Now I couldn't imagine not
Couldnt afford a car at age 4. nmSteve_0
Sep 27, 2002 5:14 AM
Age 3 a tricycle and from there........Juanmoretime
Sep 27, 2002 7:58 AM
I guess my first "real" bike would have been age 7, a first communion present from my parents. It was back in 1964 and I still remember the red and white Roadmaster single speed. My Dad gave me my first cycling lessons. I remember that first flight when he told me, " I'm leaving go this time". With great pride I rode on for about three houses and proceeded to crash into a fence head on. Since then, I have been able to share the same joy that my father had doing the same training with my daughters. With one daughter starting college and the other starting high school, these are memories now, at least I have pictures.
re: how'd you get into cycling?funknuggets
Sep 27, 2002 7:49 AM
Ran competitive long distance since I was 7, so had lungs of a whale by the time I entered college (4:32 mi, 9:36 2-mi, 15:30 5k). However, I didnt want to run in college (to my parents chagrin) and was tired of the overuse injuries (knees, tendonitis, stress fractures, etc) that came along with the training. I fell in love with the sport and had my first 3 road bikes by the second year. Raleigh Technium, Schwinn Prelude (pink...blah) and then a Specialized Allez. Ahhh, I remember it fondly. Then a Cannondale 3.0, then a Cannondale 2.8 with Ultegra STI... whew. Then got burned out after losing Midwest Collegiate Cycling Conf championships in last 25 meters after soloing it for several miles...ended up in 17th. Went home and liquidated everything. I stayed out of cycling and got my life situated (grad school, married, house) and really missed the sport. Now officially back on the bike for almost a year and loving it. I don't, however, have those lungs I used to, and progress is slow... but Im getting there. Thanks to everyone for the great stories. You all are inspirational.
re: how'd you get into cycling?cincy1
Sep 27, 2002 8:14 AM
Three years ago at age 47 I realized that I had to start doing regular cardio training or I was going to end up fat and/or dead before my time. Running bothered my knees and back so that was out. I spent too much time around water in the Navy so swimming was out. Cycling looked like it could work. Fortunately I also got married around that time to a wonderful woman who was a tri-athelete. She love to bike and introduced me to serious training. After three years I am obsessed with this sport. I've gotten my mileage up to 2000 miles total this summer. Any distance under ten miles on a flat course, I own. If the course is hilly or long, my wife can still kick my butt. Not many other guys have this problem. It tends to motivate you to train.
I've always been riding in some form.look271
Sep 27, 2002 9:13 AM
As kids, we rode all over the place in our neighborhood. At around 12 yrs old, I had a paper route and rode a bike with a banana seat and those big pull-back bars delivering them, about 50-70 papers, all over our small town. I high school I saved that $ to get a "10 speed racing bike", a baby blue Gitane that I loved, even to this day. I grew too much, and traded it in on a Fuji 12 speed Grand Tourer. A nice bike, but it was too big (I didn't know about "fit" then!). Sold it and went to the dark side and owned several crotch-rockets, 3 Kawasakis, last one being a Gpz 750, a monster of a bike at the time. About 5 yrs passed after I had to sell them (got married) when some of my friends started riding road bikes. I got the bug again and bought a used C-dale 3.0 series and have been riding since, about 11 yrs now.
Early retirementJoe Nordic
Sep 27, 2002 10:00 AM
I never rode a bike when I was a kid. When I was in the
second grade, a classmate was killed riding his bike,
hit by a car, and my parents did not want me to ride after that

Fast forward to age 49, I took early retirement. My knees
could not take running anymore, so I tried cycling. First
on a $20 garage sale hybrid, then 4 months later on a
Bianchi San Remo. Now, 2 seasons later, I still ride that
bike, and this month I did my first multi-day ride. Four
days across upstate NY.

I used a fluid trainer last winter, but I'm not looking
forward to that again. Thinking about spending some time
in the San Diego area this fall to see what it's like out