Monday, March 30, 2009

Cycling – Or as I like to call it “bike riding”. (Before Lincoln)

Now, for my momentarily favorite outdoor activity. Bike riding! I remember my first bike, do you? Click ‘comments' then 'post a comment’ on this posting and tell me about it or post a jumplink to your first bike story.

My first bike was resurrected from an iron pile by my great grandpa Gank. He fixed it up and painted it a bright orange with spray paint. I guess I was probably 4 years old. I remember him holding onto the seat while I pedaled. I don’t remember ever having training wheels. I rode it in their paved driveway, it was the biggest patch of concrete on the section outside of the floor of a building or grain bin.

The best thing about that old salvaged bike was it didn’t take any effort to pedal it! I wish I had a bike like that now. Infact, I don’t ever remember getting tired on that bike. I never said, like I do now, it’s too windy, or hot or cold to ride today. And the wrecks only hurt till I got a band-aid or a kiss from mom. Boy, that’s not the case anymore!

Years later I went with my dad to doze down the old sale barn pens on the corner of Webb Rd. and Old Hwy. 30 in Grand Island. He took a break in the middle of the day and we went to Wheelers and he bought me a new dirt bike. I rode that bike from our place to Cairo a zillion times to see my friends and swim at the pool. Highway 11 was so narrow, and corn trucks flying by would pelt me with corn kernels. But it never seemed to bother me. Back then, the Cairo grocery store had 6 packs of SureFine pop for $1 and I’d buy four of them in a shallow cardboard box and balance it on my handle bars on the 2 mile ride back home. Mom only allowed me 1 pop a day, so I’d hide cases of pop in my closet and drink room temperature SureFine cola on the sly. I’m glad my pallet has become more sophisticated since then! Now I thrive on cold Mountain Dew.

Back to bike riding. By the time I was 14 or so I parked the bike. Then when I was a freshman in college in Fremont my friend Cletus and I decided it’d be cool to have bikes. We drove to the new Wal-Mart and bought bikes and locks and rode them back to campus. We locked them up at the bike rack outside Gunderson and sure enough a couple of days later someone had broke our cable locks and stolen our bikes with less than 3 miles on them.

By 2000 we’re living in Palmer and we’ve got Wal-Mart bikes again. The kids’ kind of tool around on them in the driveway and on our quiet street. But no one rides much. We went to Dannebrog a few times to ride their trail. It’s really pretty and just the right length for amateurs or small kids. We also went to Grand Island once and rode on their trail.

During the 7 years we had bikes in Palmer I’m sure we didn’t put a total of 100 miles on any of our bikes. Really, no one hardly ever rode bikes in Palmer. Once in awhile we’d see a lycra clad road cyclist that had rode up from Grand Island, but that was a rarity and would surely cause parents to call their children indoors! If you were riding your bike in Palmer you’d more likely than not have a dozen good old boys in pick-ups stop and offer you a ride. You see if someone is riding a bike in Palmer it must be for one of two reasons: 1. Your car is broke down. 2. You’ve got yourself another DUI.

Well, I can’t say that I ever really had the urge to ride my bike while living there. And truth be told I’d have probably been the first good ol boy to pull up and offer a cyclist a ride. But, that was before we moved to Lincoln. Are you keeping score so far? That’s less than 100 miles of bike riding from age 14 to 31.

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