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How did your cycling journey begin, and how do you keep it going?

     I consider myself fortunate, in that I was introduced to road cycling by some friends in college. My parents were not active and, aside from the huffy bike with all white rubber tires that collected dust as a kid, I never had exposure to cycling until I was much older. I may never have found cycling if it wasn't for some mentorship I stumbled into by sheer luck.
     My question is, how did you find cycling? Did you have an avid parent that got you a bike before you could walk? A beat up hand-me-down that you rode into the ground? Or was your path more circuitous- maybe you saved allowance money for months to get that bike you’d been dreaming of, maybe you still are…just now its bike number 6?
     Even better yet, does anyone have a great story about introducing anyone to any discipline of the sport? Perhaps getting a child started with their first 2 wheeler, or a taking a lycra-clad roadie friend out for their first mountain bike ride?

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.
10 Replies

I always had a bike as a kid, though it was mostly just neighborhood and occasional dirt trail riding. A friend of mine had a dirt motorbike and made a track for it. When I wasn’t on the motorbike, I’d try to make it around on my 5-speed :-).  When I was about 14 I decided to go for a “long” ride on a whim and went about 25 miles RT to a farm I worked at, plus did a few other 2-3 hr type rides on the rural roads where I grew up in southern Illinois. But didn’t do any after high school (had a motorcycle for a while in college) until I moved to Oregon after college and someone loaned me an old road bike for the summer (bless them!). Again on a whim, I decided I’d ride to Corvallis and back, about 70 miles RT from where I lived.  Fortunately I thought ahead enough to strap my sleeping bag on the bike rack because it was dark by the time I was halfway back and I had no lights. Slept in a field off the side of the road, and was very sore in the morning but managed my way home.  That was it until I was about 35 years old. That’s when I discovered the TDF in on tv and was amazed and awed by what those guys were doing. After watching a couple editions, in the Lance Armstrong glory years, I decided to get a road bike and try it out. (While I lost respect for Armstrong after all that went down, I have to give credit that he and that postal team turned me on to what has become one of my favorite things in life).  So I got a Bianchi Volpe that I thought would be good for variety of road conditions and started riding every weekend. I’m not hard core, but I do love to get out into beautiful places, or just around where I live, and turn the wheels. There’s nothing like it that I’ve found! I have a 17 year old son, and we’ve had several bikes for him over the years, and he and I have had some great times cycling together from the time he was 4 years old in training wheels to some beautiful longer rides more recently. Look forward to more and really hope to do some overnight touring someday. (the Corvallis trip remains my only overnighter...).  My dream is to ride from my house to Sunrise in Mt. Rainier. 

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