Look Who’s Loving the Bike – July
As you know, at the top of each month we like to feature the amazing stories and memories of why people are loving the bike. Please take a look at what our July lovers have to say. We’d love to hear from you as well….feel free to submit your “Look Who’s Loving the Bike” story to us at any time.
Greg Heil – Dahlonega, GA
“Everyone loves getting a new bike. It’s shiny and clean, and at first maybe you don’t even want to ride it and would rather just prop it up in the corner of the living room and admire it. The glint of light off of the brand new frame constantly grabs attention. The angles of the tubes, the beefy new disc brakes, the unique suspension design… what a beautiful piece of machinery! Eventually though, it’s time to take the new addition to your bicycle arsenal out and pedal it around.
There’s nothing quite like tearing it up on a brand new bike! Knowing that no one else has never ridden that bike and that your metal steed is just barely getting broken in is absolutely sublime! It is an incredibly carefree feeling. Instead of thinking “Oh, what’s going to fall apart/wear out/break off next,” you think, “Hey, this bike is brand-spanking-new, all of the components are new, this is a clean slate!”
I’m a mountain biker. We mountain bikers are constantly wearing out or breaking components on our bicycles. The pummeling that rock-strewn and root-laced singletrack gives a bicycle takes a toll over time. The grit and grime that gets caught in the chain and drive train causes components to wear faster. On my blog I have often used the metaphor of a “war” when referencing the constant struggle to keep a bicycle in good repair. It can become a real financial “war” just to fund your singletrack habit. When I say that having a bicycle that is completely fresh and ready to be bashed is a blissful feeling, I mean it.
In that instant, it truly becomes your bike, and you’re able to let it all out again on the trail without fear of dinging the paint job. Because hey, what’s one more scratch going to matter?”
Greg has been mountain biking for over 5 years, and publishes a daily informational and instructional mountain bike blog over at www.gregridestrails.com.
Amber Sheeley – Mount Pleasant, IA
“Some of my earliest, and certainly some of the fondest, memories of summers growing up in northeast Iowa center around RAGBRAI, the back seat of a 1964 Schwinn criterium-racing tandem, and time spent on the open road with my dad.
The tandem was canary yellow with bright blue handlebars, a 10 speed, and weighed in at more than 50 pounds. And it was my favorite place to be on a humid July afternoon. After many summers of begging to go along, my dad gave in and agreed to let me ride with him on RAGBRAI XVII. I don’t remember a summer that he didn’t ride and I’ll never forget the first time he took me along. I was nine years old and he had to rig blocks of wood on the pedals so my feet would reach.
We left from our house in Waterloo early in the morning and set out for Dyersville – a mere 75 miles away. But, it didn’t matter to me far we rode, I was happy just to be going along. Turns out it was a good thing I didn’t have any concept of how far we went, because the ride ended up being 86 miles that day!
I learned a lot of new things my first day on RAGBRAI. Things, I never imagined I’d remember now 21 years later. Like … if a hill has a name, its gonna hurt going up! (But at the top of Iron Hill there was the best cherry pie I’d ever eaten … and a bathroom! I hadn’t yet mastered – or even attempted – going in a cornfield.) I learned that everyone who sees a little kid on the back of a tandem will yell “She’s not pedaling”, and think they were the first person to come up with such a great line! (I was pedaling … most of the time). I learned that those Lutheran church-ladies can whip up a mean plate of spaghetti in their church basement, and that you have to eat more than you think so you don’t bonk. (My dad already knew this, and would tease me by telling me not to eat my banana down to the bad spot and then hand it to him. Knowing all the while I couldn’t resist such a trick!) He dubbed it “the banana-pass” and to this day we both know what the other means when we say those words.”
Find out more about Amber and her Life in Pleasantville.
Jon Spangler – San Francisco Bay Area, CA
“It’s hard to pick just one, there are so many:
-The first time I rode with Linda and found I could not drop her? (We’ve been married 21 years)
-My two AIDS/LifeCycle rides (SF to LA in a week)?
-Cycle-camping my way across Oregon in 1975?
-Riding from Eugene to SF with panniers and sew-ups in 1972?
-Dozens of Thursday night training races out of Eugene with the Collins’ Cycle crowd?
-New Year’s Day rides to Harrisburg and back, watching Riley McLean spin out at 160 RPMs on his Raleigh Pro Mark II?
-And how many Sequoia Century rides with Western Wheelers?
-Or flying down Highway 9 in the pouring rain at 25 MPH–and staying upright on the way to our impromptu hypothermia clinic at the German deli?
-Delivering prescriptions on my bent-top-tube Phillips 3-speed at age 12 all over hilly Redwood City?
-Countless body memory images of making nice round 96-RPM circles on training rides as the sun came up or a gorgeous day unfolded around me?
-Those thrilling fast descents on great, rock-solid-tracking bikes (especially my Eisentraut) at 40-45 MPH with smooth pavement and no side winds?
-The feeling of satisfaction when I finally get in shape enough to “sprint” (for me, at last) up Old Tunnel Road or Highway 92?
These images and more are all there, “money in the bank” whenever I need them.”
Paddy Harrop – Sutton, United Kingdom
“Mountain bikes are fantastic and (usually) a joy to ride, but what I love is getting out into the peace and quiet of the countryside and winding down after a busy day or week.”