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Thread: Follow up to the Age Thread - How long have you been riding?

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    Default Follow up to the Age Thread - How long have you been riding?

    The age thread got me thinking about folks that frequent this forum; how long have you been riding? When did you start? How did you get started? What's your story...

    My love for the bicycle cultivated when I was 14. Perhaps earlier because I began riding a motorcycle at age 4 - wish I still had that damn Honda Z50. But didn't really fall in love with the bicycle until later in life.
    Started riding and racing motorcycles at 13. Bought a bicycle at 14. The purchase was two-fold; stay in shape for motocross and continue the joy of riding two wheels. I slowly began riding the bicycle more than the motorcycle. I appreciated the simplicity of jumping on the bike and pacing myself down the road. Quietly. Sometimes effortlessly. I was young.
    I grew a bit more responsible and realized my dollars stretched further with my bicycle purchases (motocross seemed to be a never-ending expenditure). So, I began cycling full time around the age of 20. Never looked back.
    Now at the age of 48, I'd like to say I've been riding bicycles for 34 years.

    What about you?
    Rick Stubblefield

    If the process is more important than the result, you play. If the result is more important than the process, you work.

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    Default Re: Follow up to the Age Thread - How long have you been riding?

    60 (well, next week, but I've accepted it already). Started riding at 33. Had ridden in the sense of exploring (maybe 15 mile rides) around Philadelphia as a kid on a Schwinn Varsity and had fond memories, but wasn't aware of cycling as a sport. Got fat with medical school, residency, etc. with the crazy 120 hour weeks. Got my s**t together and lost the weight to stay healthy for my wife and kids over 6 months in 1993. Was at a beach B&B with my wife for our anniversary and rode some beach cruisers for a couple of miles. This triggered nostalgia for my adolescent explorations on the Varsity, so I went out and bought a hybrid to help with weight maintenance. Had it in for its one month tune-up and started poking around the bike shop. Saw a spectacular Merckx and some other nice bikes that piqued my interest and bought a Bicycling magazine - this was right after you know who had won Worlds in Oslo. That's when I realized that there was a whole other world out there. Got hooked on everything about the sport and have been riding 4 - 7 days a week ever since.
    Lou D'Amelio
    Bucks County PA

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    Default Re: Follow up to the Age Thread - How long have you been riding?

    I began cycling in 1966 or so. My first competitive event was in 1972 when I pedaled my blue Raleigh Grand Prix around a city block a few times. I finished second. I built my first pair of wheels in 1976. They were my first set of racing wheels---Fiamme red labels and Vittoria tubs.

    At this stage I'm walking on three legs.

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    Default Re: Follow up to the Age Thread - How long have you been riding?

    Started riding around town in the late 1970s. Became a “cyclist” in about 1981 or so with the arrival of a road bike. Got my first high end road bike (Gitane) in 1984 at age 17. So coming up on 40 years. My family has been riding recreationally or for transportation my whole life.
    Last edited by Saab2000; 08-04-2020 at 02:13 PM.
    La Cheeserie!

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    Default Re: Follow up to the Age Thread - How long have you been riding?

    Quote Originally Posted by WFSTEKL View Post
    I built my first pair of wheels in 1976. They were my first set of racing wheels---Fiamme red labels and Vittoria tubs.
    I try to plagiarize much of my bio from the character above, except I'm not as tall nor as good looking.

    In 1976 I built a set of Fiamme red label rims onto Shimano high-flange hubs and glued on Panaracer tires.

    Three years later in a 40-km time trial the spokes on the rear wheel would loosen so much that I had to stop racing. As I turned around and downshifted, one of the bowed spokes grabbed the Crane derailleur and turned the day from bad to worse. It was probably raining. I swore that one day I would come back and win that damn race. It took about 20 years.

    My first taste of real cycling was in grade school when I stole my Dad's 10-speed (C. Itoh with SunTour Spirt components) to go on a 25-mile bike-a-thon for the Kidney Fund. I had canvassed the neighborhood for donations. Told nobody where I was going, the start/finish was across town. Cutoff jean shorts, tee shirt, no helmet, no water bottle. The bike had a 23" frame and I was less than five feet tall, so I could sit only while coasting. I followed the first guy who looked like he knew what he was doing out of the parking lot, he had a Skid Lid helmet, crochet-backed gloves, and wool bike shorts. I could not, and did not, let him drop me since he actually knew the route.
    Last edited by thollandpe; 08-04-2020 at 02:29 PM.
    Trod Harland, Physical Educator

    Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. — James Baldwin

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    Default Re: Follow up to the Age Thread - How long have you been riding?

    I started riding when I was 5. For my 6th birthday my folks bought me a Schwinn Tiger. (now I have a fleet of Schwinn coaster brake bikes from the 60s and 70s for loner bikes for guests) The Schwinn Store had a really cool adult bike called a Paramount. (1958) in stock. I was amazed it had ten speeds, oh my. Never forgot wanting a 10 speed. Anyways the Tiger was my ticket to freedom. I would ride that bike from when my mom booted us out to play until the 5 o'clock whistle at the sawmill called all the kids home. I got in trouble for riding out to my Grandmas place 7 miles from home on the hwy. Logging trucks, other semi rigs and cars zoomed by. So then I figured if they wouldn't let me ride on the hwy. I would just ride on the train right of way. More trouble and grounded again. Then my folks figured I was a hopless bike rider and said what the hey.

    I had pretty much freedom to go anywhere. Advance to summer 7th grade a Schwinn Varsity I bought with my own money. Highschool late 60s brought a Gitane Innerclub with sewups and Simplex stuff. A friend got a Peugeot with Campy and the arms race began. I bought a Mondia (full Campy) for $400. My car cost $200. Did my first race as a last year Jr. Then joined the ABL as a Cat 3 (low as they had then). After that it was all down hill. Now I am almost 70 and have a suitcase full of fond memories and a garage full of bikes. That is my story and I am sticking to it.

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    Default Re: Follow up to the Age Thread - How long have you been riding?

    Quote Originally Posted by thollandpe View Post
    I try to plagiarize much of my bio from the character above, except I'm not as tall nor as good looking.

    In 1976 I built a set of Fiamme red label rims onto Shimano high-flange hubs and glued on Panaracer tires.

    Three years later in a 40-km time trial the spokes on the rear wheel would loosen so much that I had to stop racing. As I turned around and downshifted, one of the bowed spokes grabbed the Crane derailleur and turned the day from bad to worse. It was probably raining. I swore that one day I would come back and win that damn race. It took about 20 years.

    My first taste of real cycling was in grade school when I stole my Dad's 10-speed (C. Itoh with SunTour Spirt components) to go on a 25-mile bike-a-thon for the Kidney Fund. I had canvassed the neighborhood for donations. Told nobody where I was going, the start/finish was across town. Cutoff jean shorts, tee shirt, no helmet, no water bottle. The bike had a 23" frame and I was less than five feet tall, so I could sit only while coasting. I followed the first guy who looked like he knew what he was doing out of the parking lot, he had a Skid Lid helmet, crochet-backed gloves, and wool bike shorts. I could not, and did not, let him drop me since he actually knew the route.
    I don't disagree about parallel lives.

    When the fall high school rowing season concluded with the Head of the Charles, I climbed onto my bicycle after school and rode until supper. These rides ended deep into November when it became too cold to ride in sweatpants and a nylon jacket. One Saturday in November, my junior year I recall, I decided to ride to Westerly, RI and then back home to Middletown, CT. It was about 120 miles round-trip. I didn't dare tell my parents because that would have ended the adventure right there. I vanished from the house in the early morning on a cold, grey November day with three dollars and two bananas in my pocket, and began pedaling southeast. I made it to Westerly on one bottle and two bananas. When I arrived, I was cold and bushed so I took a nap on a park bench in the town center before I embarked on my return trip. I spent almost every penny of my three dollars at a Burger King before pedaling home. I had never before been so hollowed-out. On the journey home I could only pedal for a few minutes at a time between intervals of rest. One mile and then sit and rest. One mile and then sit and rest. I did this all the way to New London. I was crushed. I had to make the dreaded collect call home to dad for a lift. An hour and a half later our brown Chevy wagon pulled up. I threw my bicycle into the back seat and stretched out into the wayback seat and fell asleep. I missed the entire week of school following my adventure. I had come down with flu. I hadn't realized it at the time that I was already getting sick before I departed. The synergy of motivation and youth can lead to stupid, beautiful things.

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    Default Re: Follow up to the Age Thread - How long have you been riding?

    I just hit 51 years as a bike rider (and 31 as a "cyclist"). My mom bought me my first "two-wheeler" for my 5th birthday. With her help, I kicked the training wheel habit shortly thereafter. We were living in the Miami area for a few years, so the riding season was year-round and the pedaling was easy (no hills!). The bike was my ticket to freedom. I rode everywhere by the time I was six. Life was simpler 50 years ago. I just had to tell Mom where I was going and call her when I got there. If I was going to be home by dinner, no further communication necessary! I loved bikes for the speed, the freedom, and for the technology. I saved up lawn mowing money and purchased my first "10-speed" when I turned 10. I bought my first bicycle maintenance book with the 10-speed. By then, we were back in upstate NY and the gears made a big difference on the local hills. By high school, girls, team sports, and cars (not necessarily in that order...) had me away from cycling for about ten years. After college, I started noticing bikes again. By 25, I had purchased my first adult road bike (a 1989 Trek 1100) and met a girl who shared my interest in cycling. 32 years, one daughter, and many bikes later, we still ride together on our road tandem or mountain bikes several days each week. We're heading for Acadia National Park at the end of next week for a "socially distant" vacation with our 21 year-old daughter. Hiking, biking, and trying to stay away from people to the best of our abilities. Just trails and carriage roads for a week!

    Greg
    Last edited by gregl; 08-04-2020 at 04:05 PM. Reason: Fixed typo

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    Default Re: Follow up to the Age Thread - How long have you been riding?

    Got my first 10 speed in 1972, a Dawes Galaxy. Reynolds 531 only in the main triangle. But I was into bikes before that. Had a Ranger 3 speed earlier, maybe got it around 1968. My uncle backed his car over my first bike in our driveway, when I was around 5.

    Grew up around Chicago, where Schwinn made actually really nice bikes at the time. Paramounts were among the best you could buy. Knew a guy who's dad worked for Schwinn. You can guess what he rode. There was a guy my dad's age who was seriously into cycling, commuting into the city each day. He was superfit. My dad, the golfer, thought he was nuts.

    What were we talking about?

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    Default Re: Follow up to the Age Thread - How long have you been riding?



    My first real bike. Ad is from 75 I think so contemporary.

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    Default Re: Follow up to the Age Thread - How long have you been riding?

    Riding for as long as I can remember, in some form or other - aside from a 3-5yr stint when I was at uni and for a bit after that. I'd say cycling was my sole sport and hobby from the mid-90s. I turn 42 in September.

    Started on a road bike - a Raleigh racer - then had MTBs throughout the '90s interspersed with the odd road bike (including a very cool Raleigh Record Sprint).

    In July 2003 I bought a Scott MTB - that re-ignited my love for bikes; and, as of last week, I'm now on my 51st bike since then.

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    Default Re: Follow up to the Age Thread - How long have you been riding?

    For all but the first few of my 59 years.

    Landed face first on the pavement learning to ride a two wheeler.

    I got my first "good" bike (a Motobecane) in high school and used it at a summer camp that offered 1-2 week bike tours in New England instead of the traditional fixed-base cap experience.

    Unlike a lot of people who stop riding when they get their driver's license I found that it opened doors to drive to different places to ride.

    I did a ton of club riding starting after high school and later did 3 - 9 day van supported trips all over New England with a rotating cast of people and a couple of West Coast trips with friends.

    I've done a lot less overall since sciatica became my enemy in 2012 but things are at least a little on the upswing this year. This forum gets a lot of credit for keeping my cycling desire alive even when my body won't cooperate.

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    Default Re: Follow up to the Age Thread - How long have you been riding?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Kelly View Post


    My first real bike. Ad is from 75 I think so contemporary.
    I had a terrible and unhealthy desire for one of these machines.

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    Default Re: Follow up to the Age Thread - How long have you been riding?

    Like most kids it started with 20” bikes. I then got really into BMX, as best you could in a town of 1,000 people. First road race was 1981 at Sunapee as an intermediate (pre-junior). I had a sport/touring Lotus that I bought down in Acton, MA at Pedal Power I think the shop was called. Training consisted of riding from general store to general store in southwestern NH where I’m from. An occasional coke and candy bar. VeloNews was in Brattleboro, VT and printed on paper. Every once in a while we’d make the long ride to West Hill in Putney, VT to see the really cool kids and bikes. Bicycle Exchange in Harvard Sq was a once or twice a year Mecca-like trip. It’s been a non-stop fetish since those early BMX Action magazines.

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    Default Re: Follow up to the Age Thread - How long have you been riding?

    Bobbys first bike.jpg


    Here I am pictured on my first bike, I rode the rubber off the rim. (3 years old) My first 2 wheeled bike came shortly after. It was a little red fixed gear with training wheels. Having a dad who was not sure of which end of a screwdriver to use I knew I was on my own. With my neighbors help we managed to take the training wheels off it ourselves and I taught my self how to ride. I assembled all the bikes I ever got growing up. My biggest bike disappointment was when my dad took me into get my first new bike and I was eyeing the 10 speeds. The salesperson talked my dad into getting me a knock off stingray. I was very disappointed; the guy said the 10 speed was for people wanted to ride in the mountains and not right for a young boy. That guy could not have been more wrong. I could never afford more than a discount department store bike growing up though I found my freedom on those bikes. My first good bike was an entry level Bianchi I bought when I was living in Milwaukee in the late 70s then an Offroad ProAmm in the mid 80s. It was not until my 50s when I could afford my first Spectrum.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Bobby Plotkins

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    Default Re: Follow up to the Age Thread - How long have you been riding?

    Like pretty much everyone I rode off and on as a kid, I had a Stingray and a Murray '10 speed'. As an adult, I dabbled a bit with MTBs starting in 1984. I became serious in 1989 while I was stationed in Bonn, Germany; I thought it would be a great way to get around and explore the area. I bought my first good road bike in 1992 when I came back to the States.

    This pic is from '89 in Bonn after a ride in the Kottenforst. I still have the bike.

    Eat one live toad first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you all day.

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    Default Re: Follow up to the Age Thread - How long have you been riding?

    First bike at five years old. Riding pretty much all the time since then with only a few breaks of any length to play guitars and a longer break of a year or so after my son was born.

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    Default Re: Follow up to the Age Thread - How long have you been riding?

    Started road riding at around 12yo, MTB around 18yo when it was introduced in France. So about 40 years. Had many bikes :)

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    Default Re: Follow up to the Age Thread - How long have you been riding?

    I turn 42 in September (cheers Rich!) and have been riding most of my adult life. I grew up on acreage outside of Kansas City, MO and had my share of Murrays and Huffys as a kid. But I bought a fully rigid Trek mountain bike in 1995 or 1996 and rode the gravel roads around my house and some local singletrack. Started riding a lot more in College when I met friends with mountain bikes and had access to more and better trails. I swapped the Trek for a Gary Fisher HooKooEKoo, then swapped the Fisher for a used Litespeed Obed I bought off the classifies on MTBR.com (I think this was maybe my first internet purchase).

    I moved to Boston for grad school, and could never find a way out of the city with my mountain bike, so I bought a Cannondale R600 as a concession. But I was surprised to learn I liked riding the roads in Boston's western suburbs even more than the mountain bike. I fell in love with the IF and Seven bikes I'd occassionally see, and started plotting my first custom bike purchase. It was about this time that I discovered the Serotta forum. I remember riding the commuter rail to Worcester one very snowy winter day to meet Mike Zanconato, and left his shop having put down a deposit. I rode my lugged steel Zanconato in MA, Indiana, Northern California, and even back to Kansas City over the next twelve years or so as I moved around for law school and different jobs. Now I'm in Northern Idaho where the gravel roads and fire roads make up most of my riding, so an Open UP gets most of my miles. I left legal practice for a job as a law professor and now I get many more miles on the bike:)

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    Default Re: Follow up to the Age Thread - How long have you been riding?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lionel View Post
    Started road riding at around 12yo, MTB around 18yo when it was introduced in France. So about 40 years. Had many bikes :)
    How old were you when Francis Quillon measured you for your first custom? 13,14?

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