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When was the seed planted?(26 posts)

When was the seed planted?biggearlover
Aug 27, 2003 5:44 AM
How did it all start? How, when, (why??) did you start cycling, even racing? Maybe because you didn't fit into a teamsport, maybe because your neighbour asked you along for a ride, maybe you watched a tv report of the TdF, maybe because your doctor told you ''you'd better get some excercise or else ..'', etc., etc. I'd like to hear from anyone, how did it all start!!

For me, the seed was planted when I was about 5 or 6, the late 50s. We went to watch a local criterium race, my father took the pic. Yes, their's two of us, the other one is my twin brother. Who is who? We don't know!
BTW, it took 20 years for the seed to surface; first touring, then a hardcore racer, and that lasted 15 years. How I miss the sweet tension of racing.
re: When was the seed planted?BigFatSal
Aug 27, 2003 6:17 AM
Wow... That's really an awesome picture! Even without seeing your faces I can tell that you and your brother are in awe and amazement. I know the posture and the feeling!

For me, I'm not sure when it all started. When I was 3 or 4 my Big Wheel was my total obsession. I'd ride it down our long, steep driveway all day long, skidding around the corner at the bottom of the hill, the hollow plastic wheels rumbling so loud that our neighbor would yell out the window at me because the roar of my wheels would wake her napping baby....

Then one day my dad took me to the local hardware store, which also sold bikes, and let me pick out what I wanted. I think I was around 7 years old. I selected a beautiful metallic brown Columbia banana-seat bike. I rode that for years, every single day, everywhere. Over the years I tried different modifications: Put on big tires, tried sissy bars (remember those?!), painted the frame a stealthy matte black, removed the fenders. I could do wheelies all the way around the block. I loved that bike...I was perfectly comfortable on it, like it was a seamless extension of my body and mind. As I got older it helped me deliver papers at 5:00 AM, the bike and I heavily loaded down with newspapers. After the route, the weight was gone and we'd fly home, gliding smoothly, arcing perfect turns. That bike was something that greatly helped form who I became. I suppose it doesn't make sense to be grateful to group of metal bars, welded together, that rests on two rubber wheels - but that bike was my friend and mentor. On that bike I learned about balance, skill, endurance, perseverance, entrepreneurialism, responsibility, adventure, pain, and pleasure. I haven't really thought about all this until now.

Then I grew up and my bike-love went away until I was in my late 20's and bought a mountain bike. I rediscovered all those great old feelings, the wind, the burn, the freedom.... Now I've got 7 bikes and love them all, mountain bike, road bike, old basher beach bike.... They're the perfect example of man and machine in harmony - fine kinetic sculpture.... To me, riding a bike brings back that childhood feeling of pure joy. And when racing, it brings out a strangely pleasing predatory nature in me, yet within an environment of comradery and acceptance - a strange but nice feeling when you think about it.

Go see the movie "Seabiscuit" and you'll find a lot of parallels between "bike people" and "horse people" in their passion, respect and appreciation.

Thanks for posting that picture. :>)
re: When was the seed planted?Andy M-S
Aug 27, 2003 6:29 AM
I can remember all my rides, back to my first wooden playbike, the tricycle, all the bikes--the blue Schwinn, the gold Columbia "PlayBike" stingray Clone, etc...for me, bikes have always meant freedom.

But why do I ride a road bike?

That goes back to college, when I bought a Raleigh Grand Prix 10-speed, which was a small step up from the Varsities that everyone else was riding, I thought. I rode what seemed incredible distances on that thing...up to 30 miles a day! I used it for all my transportation needs, put toeclips and straps on those rattraps, replaced the chain, put a rack and panniers on it, took it to grad school in Chicago, got an early Avocet anatomic saddle, foam grab-ons for the bars, replaced the front wheel when it got ripped off...after 12 years of almost daily use, I gave it to a friend when I left Chicago and bought my first car.

But I never forgot that bike...In the mid-'90s, I needed some exercise, so I went looking for a bike, but the department stores didn't have a drop-bar bike, so I ended up with a muffy mountainbike. Then while I was JRA one day, I found an old Raleigh Grand Prix, same vintage. It needed I found a bike shop to do the work. I rode the heck out of that thing, and I've been riding on the road ever since.
It all started..wspokes
Aug 27, 2003 6:33 AM
I ran cross country in high school but wasn't really on par with the others but I still tried...even though I didn't enjoy it. But I used to bike all over as a kid and early teen but saw this movie and thought, that would be cool to do with my bike instead of running. The movie was Breaking Away, the time was late 80s. My Grandpa bought me an inexpensive bridgestone in the early 80s and I wore it parts just wore out. I went up to Erie, Pa one summer and watched the Smith's Hot Dog International Criterium and I was sold! I saved up birthday money and bought a 1988 Schwinn Premis and this started the riding which led to racing days. That seems like ages ago now! I never looked back!
Old pictures...wspokes
Aug 27, 2003 7:21 AM
I appreciated the original old photo attached with this thread. I thought I would add this one. This is a photo of my father, who began biking seriously after I did and I thought this was truly classic. 1942 photo!
The need to explore and a "dare to be different" attitude...biknben
Aug 27, 2003 6:34 AM
I taught myself to ride at age 5 or 6, in my driveway, on my friend's bike. The friend was slightly older and knew how to ride the two wheeler. I was determined to learn.

I was fueled by a longing to explore. I quickly pushed the outer boundaries of where my parents allowed me to ride. At age 11, my friends were all getting Thrusters and BMX bikes. I got a Ross ten speed. They jumped ramps in front of their houses. I rode across town to their houses. The looks on their faces when I pulled up made the trip worthwhile.

At age 12, my family moved. Ahh, new places to explore. I was in heaven. In one instance, I was riding about 10 miles from home. I was in a area I'd only seen from inside a car. I was probably about 13 yo. My father drove by me on his way home from work. The look on his face was also priceless. I got grounded but I didn't care. Riding far on my bike was rebellious to me.

Later, when my friend got cars, I blew it all on a racing bike. Ahh, quad-butted steel with Shimano 105, index shifting, and 700c wheels.

Today, I continue with a dare-to-be-different attitude. I don't tell anyone how far or how fast I go until they ask. When they do, I enjoy watching their jaws drop. I enjoy hearing people complain about being overweight because I once was too but overcame it. I enjoy watching gas prices go up while I commute by bike. When my co-workers poke fun at my shaved legs, I confidently bet them that they are smoother than their wives' legs.

I guess it's all about being rebellious now. I'm a 31 yo kid with grown up responsibilities. Everyone says I shouldn't have time, money, etc. to continue riding. I was, and continue to be, driven by doing what others say I can't.
re: When was the seed planted?boyd2
Aug 27, 2003 6:55 AM
I was about 5 for my first BMX and about 10 for my first 10 speed. We lived 5 miles from town (a really long way!) and I used to love to ride to school and to the store for candy and sodas. I really remember the freedom of being able to ride all the way to Stevensville and play with the town kids. I get into highschool and the bike goes into the shed when I buy a car.

Several years later at the University of MD my roommate introduces me to Mountain Biking. I am hooked from the first minute. I buy a bike, ride all over the place, learn to wrench and get a job at a shop. Buy a nicer bike and ride even more. I could not afford the roadbike that I wanted when I was in school, even with the pro deal (specialized epic).

Fast forward 10 years and I am commuting on my MTB loving life except for I want a road bike to commute and perhaps a few triathalons. Start searching for used bikes and a came across a specialized epic on ebay. The guy lived a few miles away so I went over to check it out. It had been in a time machine. It was not ridden at all. So I finally bought the bike that I want. I am totally smitten with roadbiking. I have one duathalon and one triathalon under my belt and one more tri this fall.

I rode my first century about 4 weeks ago and started from my mothers house (where I grew up). All the old excitement of riding to town came back to me. I was riding the same roads and feeling the same excitement that I was when I was a child going to town, because I was just starting a 100 mile adventure. Of course this time I was traveling about 20 mph! It was a great way to start an epic trip.
Stevensville MD ??BIGBOB
Aug 27, 2003 10:07 AM
If so I live on the island where you grew up. Lots of great riding on the Eastern Shore.
Stevensville MD ??boyd2
Aug 27, 2003 10:18 AM
You guessed it Bob. I grew up down on Love Point. Mom still lives there. I am down every few weeks to sail or do something for her. I live in Elkridge now.

A few weeks ago I rode from Love Point to Bethany Beach DE solo. It was a great ride. Have you lived there long?
Stevensville MD ??BIGBOB
Aug 27, 2003 11:11 AM
About 9 yrs total though at different times. 4 yrs in Centreville and 5 yrs in old Stevensville. Grew up in College Park, but the water beckoned. Have a ride planned for the Chestertown/Rock Hall/Tolchester area for this Sunday. Will be anywhere from 45-65 miles depending on what the group decides. When you are in the area and looking for a ride, contact Happy Trails bike repair in the middle of Stevensville and they can put you in touch, or e-mail me at . Always good to have new faces in the group.

Stevensville MD ??boyd2
Aug 27, 2003 11:57 AM
Cool. I will do that.
Took lots of seeds for me to catch on.dzrider
Aug 27, 2003 7:10 AM
Elementary school - The freedom of riding to places my parents couldn't even visualize me getting to.

Jr. High. Riding our bikes to a good fishing spot; catching fish and trading them with a guy we knew for a quart of homemade Italian wine so we could drink it on Saturday night.

College - renting a 10 speed and escaping for a day's ride whenever I felt like I needed it and the Syracuse weather allowed.

34 years old - I got laid off in December and couldn't decide quite what to do for the winter. I decided to fly my bike down to New Orleans, run a marathon and tour the coastal south for 3 months before riding home. Been hooked ever since.
1984 when Alexi Grewal won the LA olympics RR...merckx56
Aug 27, 2003 7:21 AM
I told my Dad that I wanted to race bikes and he obliged with a badass steel Trek with Campy stuff on it. I had always ridden bikes, but really got serious at 14! I sold the Trek about 5 years ago and wish I still had it! Now, 33 y/o and more passion for it than ever! My kids will be able to do whatever they want, but I really hope they want to ride their bikes!
1984 Olympics RR, Alexi Grewal, same here.lanterne rouge
Aug 27, 2003 7:41 AM
I watched that race as a 19 year old who had been infatuated with automobiles since childhood (Old cars and drag racing specifically, by product of being American, I would say.) and fell in love with the sport of bicycle racing. I have ridden on and off since, raced mtn bikes in the mid 90's and started racing road this year. Now I am a 38 year old father of three trying desperately to make it to cat 3 in one year, pretty tough in Southern California!
me, toogtx
Aug 27, 2003 8:44 AM
age 15--I think I'd already spent all my summer lawn mowing money on a Bianchi with Campy, but Alexi (and Breaking Away of course) made me want to get out there and race!
SoCal racin'...No_sprint
Aug 27, 2003 9:01 AM
Racin' in SoCal is tough isn't it?!?! I'm with ya.

Seeya at Ontario, Long Beach and the big daddy Manhattan Beach. Beware, the 3s took one nasty pileup last lap, last turn in 2002. All the contenders were taken out. Someone, I can't remember who, got an early Xmas present.
Just One Year Ago...mdehner
Aug 27, 2003 8:14 AM
as a birthday present my wife signed me up for Cycle Oregon, a seven-day, 500 mile totally supported tour. Before then I was an infrequent rider, but I began to prepare for the Big Ride and really got into it. During the ride I suffered greatly on my mountain bike, and then and there vowed to become a roadie. Got my first road bike in January of this year, and since then I average 100 miles per week.

Although my wife has remained wonderfully supportive of my riding, I am sure she had no idea what she was starting when she came up with that birthday present. Truly it has been the gift that keeps on giving.
Right around 1975No_sprint
Aug 27, 2003 8:21 AM
I started racing BMX when I was around 8. From there went to mountain, pre Norba, then on to the road.
It happened when I gave up my guns....divve
Aug 27, 2003 8:22 AM
...been cycling ever since:)
Before I was born, It's in the blood.Frith
Aug 27, 2003 8:45 AM
My uncle was a cylist in England and was very competetive in the 60's winning milk races and on the verge of going to the olympics before getting plurasi (sp?) My mum also raced locally. More for fun though. Then she moved to Canada had me....
My cousin, (uncle's son), started serious cycling at around 14 and by the time he was 16 was Schoolboy champion of England. He kept it up for a while and even landed a spot for the worlds in the 90's in a track event. Eventually he moved on to other interests.
I was always inspired by my cousin. I watched the TDF every year etc... and eventually when I was done college, smoking, drinking, chasing girls etc. I landed a job that would actually afford me a nice bike. I plan on starting racing next year for fun.
When my dad let go of the saddlestratoshark
Aug 27, 2003 9:19 AM
I'll never forget rolling through the grass under my own power, barely missing the pine trees on my first turn, and the feeling of speed. Thanks Dad!

It hasn't been a constant love since then, because riding a bike was replaced by driving, college, etc. But like others above said, I was inspired when Alexi Grewal won the Olympics in 1984 (I was 26). That was my turning point. Rode an old Schwinn for a couple of years, then got the first "real" race bike in 1987 and did my first race. Stopped racing due to lack of talent and time, but never stopped riding the bike. Wow, it's been almost 20 years. Thanks Alexi!
1951...been riding ever sincestephenb
Aug 27, 2003 9:46 AM
while not as cool as your's the earliest I can come up with :-)
re: When was the seed planted?mapei boy
Aug 27, 2003 10:00 AM
I was about eleven. I was perfectly happy riding my sister's cast-off, 3 speed, narrow-tired, fendered Huffy. Then, one day, Mom was driving me along a crowded Wilshire Blvd in LA when I noticed that a guy on a drop-barred ten-speed bike was not only keeping up with us, he was often staying ahead of us. It made me realize - Man, you can go fast on those things!

About six months later, I got a Royce-Union ten speed. The wheels tended to fall off because it was impossible to properly tighten the wing-nut quick releases, and the Huret rear derailleur seemed permanently stuck in fifth gear, but it didn't matter. I was always either riding it, or tinkering with it.

When I went away to college, I reverted to riding one or three-speed girls' bikes again. I'd go for the girls bikes because they were always a little cheaper, and in a little better condition. I think I paid fifteen bucks for one bike, and when that one broke I spent ten bucks for the next one.

Then, when I came home for winter break, I learned my best buddy worked in a bicycle store. He'd bought a Gitane Tour de France - tubular tires, Reynolds 531 double-butted frame. I took one ride on it. I realized what a good bike could do. How it could make you fly. I sold my 12 string guitar to get some cash and bought a bike just like my pal's. I've been riding practically non-stop ever since.
re: When was the seed planted?TNRyder
Aug 27, 2003 2:41 PM
For me the seed was always there and lay dormant for years due to lack of understanding. My Dad was one of those ppl that only looked at price when making purchases. Therefore I spent my early youth riding the CHEAPEST dept. store bikes he could find. When I was in Jr. High, he accidently bought a couple of quality bikes (Italias I think) for my older sisters which they never really rode due to the fact that they were pretty girls in high school. I inhereted those bikes and loved them. They were so much faster than the BMX bikes all my friends were on. I used them until they were both stolen on seperate occasions.

Many years later and in the Air Force I was in Germany in July. I think it was the yr Ulrich won. I watched the TDF every day, it was adictive! I was in SH** shape myself, getting winded walking up three flights of steps. One of the guys in my unit had a Stumpjumper and encouraged me to get into riding MT. bikes. I got a Giant Rincon as soon as I returned to the states and have been riding ever since.
You beat me to it: I was going to post a similar question!Synchronicity
Aug 27, 2003 4:19 PM
For me,
it was when my dad first got me my best friends crappy rusty bike that he didn't want anymore as a present (probably for nothing). I was about 9. I knew I enjoyed riding, but I also knew it was a total piece of sh*t. Once, a memory I'd rather forget, I stopped to have a rest, and a stupid male dog came up, cocked it's leg and pissed on it!!!!!

I think that's one of the pschological reasons why my current bike has as little steel as it is possible to have on a bike. Also why I like female dogs. :-)

The *first actual moment*, though, when I got a fondness for road biking was not too long ago when the whole family was in the car on holidays, and we passed a man on a Kestrel 500SCI, riding along at a blistering pace. I nearly got whip-lash in awe of the bike.

At the time I was into MTB. It took about 6 years before I abandoned the world of phat tyres & bought a road bike, then another 2 before I got my Kestrel 500EMS!
re: When was the seed planted?biggearlover
Aug 28, 2003 8:45 AM
Thanks guys, this was great. I think everyone enjoyed it. Although I feel with wspokes, you start one way or another '... and never looked back', I found myself looking back!
Now, back on the bike. Oh no, it's raining!! (for the first time in two months!)