How did you start biking?

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ericf
Participant
#

After wearing the wheel on by Big Wheel down to the edges (literally wore away the entire tread surface), this was my first real bike:

Photobucket

A 1971 Ross Apollo


TeamDecaf
Moderator
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Bad knees, from playing tennis for years, pushed me into looking for something else to do. That was 5 years ago. Bought a $150 Craigs List hybrid and fell in love with cycling, and the the cycling community, immediately.


Anonymous #

I had a bike as a kid through most parts of my life, but always a cheapo department store bike. I’m pretty sure I started with single speed ones. Shortly after having my training wheels removed I fell off my bike and ripped open my chin pretty; that might have been on thanksgiving when I was 3 or 4. A few years later my dad got me a little bike computer which I thought was really awesome. I think I broke it in a crash pretty quickly. In late high school my dad and I would go on casual rides and chat about life and girls haha. I got a new bike when I went to college, a Giant comfort bike. It was the best bike I had to that date and I used it quite a bit while living on campus. When I moved a few miles off of a campus, that all stopped. I got into running, then ended up getting injured (I am still suffering from chronic pain years later) so I immediately switched to cycling. The summer after getting injured I bought a Giant Defy 3 and started training with the UF cycling and triathlon teams. Due to more injuries I had to take off last summer from cycling. When I moved to Pittsburgh last August, I sold my road bike and bought a Jamis Aurora touring bike. I mostly stuck to commuting, and then found that I never used my car. So most recently, I sold my car and bought a fancy Carbon/Ultegra road bike that I’m getting back into training with. That’s my story!


TeamDecaf
Moderator
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Great thread – thanks RF!


bear250220
Participant
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i was a hard core runner for 40 years still do some running but at age 55 my legs let me know that it was time to try something else so i went to wal mart and got a bike i rode it for a few months on the mountour trail and liked riding so i went to scholls in west view and bought my first trek bike i try to ride 10 miles a day id ride more but work gets in the way ive since bought a fuji and a 2nd trek i havent made any of the local riding events cause i have a 2nd home in indiana county and am there on weekends plus i work 12 noon till 9pm during the week


rachel_ding
Participant
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I started riding a bicycle when I was 20 so that I could get to and from parties. My friends were starting to ride instead of walk and if I wanted to keep up with them I needed to ride too.


sarah_q
Participant
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Had a bike as a kid growing up in FL which I used to get the hell out of the house as often as possible. As soon as I turned 16 and got a car my bike was forgotten. (1989)

Fast forward to 2004, I was losing a ton of weight and wanted to find new ways to exercise. Got a huge heavy hybrid bike from the LBS (with a big spongy seat!) and rode around on the rail trail, Morgantown WV. Took it on the road once, hit a hill, and was like WTF is this devil beast??? (still my reaction to hills to this day)

A year later decided to try a triathlon. Went back to the LBS and asked for aero bars on my wide-ass hybrid (true story, I am sure they had a good laugh when I left). Decided to get an entry-level road bike (now my husband’s bike), then another, then it’s just your typical addiction story… moved to pgh in ’06, started riding everywhere, hooked.


Anonymous #

Dad buys Mom sweet Nashbar bike, which I am told got plenty of use in the 80s, displayed here in the left-most picture hanging in our garage. Dad fixes up old bike in the early 2000’s, so excited is he about outfitting his daughter with sweet gear, now that he has finally taught her (e.g. she finally got over her dumb fear and agreed to learn) how to ride a bike. Girl (me) appears excited to receive sweet bike for Christmas. Girl (still me) has never ridden a bike with “such skinny tires”, takes it out for first sweet ride, makes a left at an intersection and immediately falls over. Vows never to ride again, out of embarrassment. Girl goes to college, at some point. Takes sturdy Trek mountain bike, obligatorily owned by every sturdy, suburban family, from garage, because apparently everyone takes a bike to/gets a bike during college?? Plot point. Girl meets first hipster friends, gets indoctrinated and is subsequently convinced to bring up the old Nashbar. Girl rides everywhere on Nashbar – yes, even to Critical Mass. Girl lives in Florida this whole time (surprise!), never %&#@ing uses gears (what are these forrrr!), asks pops to help her convert it to “one speed”, which they do, with a chain tensioner, and she learns this is called “single speed”. And she saw that it was good. And she road everywhere, and became undeniably, unpredictably, attached to this bike. Eventually made it into a touring bike (right-most picture) and got on The Big Road, which is to say, Everywhere.


Chris Mayhew
Participant
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So now I’m interested. There seems a pretty solid gap between “I always rode” and “I started riding when I am 20”. I feel like I’m on the young end of “always rode” at 36. Does the evidence support that? (eg how old are you that said you always did?)


cburch
Participant
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About to turn 35. Have been riding around the neighborhood since I was 3. Always walked or rode for transportation even when I got my first truck. Moved to Pittsburgh for college and brought my entry level giant mtb with me. It was more of a proto-hybrid than anything, even by 90s mtb standards and I only used it on the road anyway. After school I got a job at triangle messenger and shortly after got my first real road bike (which I just retired this summer). Moved back home for a few years and kept commuting by bike regardless of wether I had a functional motor vehicle at the time. After I moved back here I was commuting and doing road rides still until I got talked into trying xc. Two rides in and I was completely hooked. Later that summer I took my first trip to snowshoe and donwhill has been my near total obsession ever since. All my other riding is to stay in shape for that, even commuting. I’ve slacked on road riding over the last year since I quit my job but I have a feeling I’ll be on the road a whole lot more when I get a new job in the next month or so.


Jacob McCrea
Participant
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I am also 35 and fall into the “been on bikes forever” camp.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Now 53. The barn fire I mentioned was Good Friday 1965, which was how I can nail down a date for when I was riding on the road. First grade. Good Friday 1966 was the day after my grandfather died, so I would not have been home to ride anyplace. So, yeah, I’ve been a road cyclist for a long time.

Probably also worth mentioning that I walked a half mile to school every day on this same road. Alone. Both directions. No sidewalk, no lights. Unthinkable today.


sarah_q
Participant
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39. Always rode as a kid but took a big break when I was lazy and drove everywhere, or lived in NYC and subwayed everywhere. But I rode all over the place until I was 16.


jamesk
Participant
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I “always” rode except for a little gap between ages 23 and 39; I’m 41 now.


Chris Mayhew
Participant
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Seems I am on the younger end of things. Odd divide there.


salty
Participant
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Not sure I would call it “odd” as much as “sad”. Is it a symptom of over-protective parenting? Parents driving the kids everywhere in the minivan/SUV/etc?

I’d say I’m similar to jamesk, I “always” rode, with some gaps. I rode in the yard and fields around my house all the time – the absolute first thing I did when I got home from school was get on my bike. I don’t remember when I was allowed to ride on the road but pretty young, maybe 8? Here’s a shot of the lovely road in front of my house. Practically no shoulder; I see a speed limit 45 sign along there now but I think it used to be 55. I was taught to ride on the wrong side of the road, with no helmet. I never rode to school though, and I’m not aware of too many kids that did. Some kids walked if they were really close but it was 4-5 miles for me.

Anyways, I got a car when I was 16 and pretty much stopped riding my bike until I got to college at Pitt. There, I got into Mountain Biking and commuting, and I rode daily (although not in the winter) until I quit grad school and got a job in the suburbs and riding became pretty much just recreational. Eventually I moved to the burbs as well and went through what I’ll now describe as my “dark phase” where I loved my cars and drove them everywhere.

I moved back into the city in Feb. 2009 and started riding again. It took some re-adjustment, but on BTWD 2009, with an escort from a co-worker (and some hill assistance from PAT), I rode to my office in Robinson. I started doing that once a week, sans bus. Then I got a job much closer to home and I’ve been riding daily for almost 3 years.


Erica
Participant
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I’m 24, never learned to drive. I stopped biking when I was about 16, but because my older sister lent our bikes to someone who never gave them back, and my mom refused to buy us new ones (not really any other reason). Started biking again shortly after I turned 21. So I guess that puts me in the “started biking later” column.


reddan
Keymaster
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@salty:Not sure I would call it “odd” as much as “sad”. Is it a symptom of over-protective parenting? Parents driving the kids everywhere in the minivan/SUV/etc?

At least in my case, it was more a matter of A)fear of falling/making a fool of myself and B)liking to walk anyway, so not needing a bike to go the couple miles up the road to see my friends.


Jack
Participant
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I’m 58 and rode a bicycle from 1st grade until 5th grade then, for reasons I don’t remember, I just stopped. Never got on a bicycle again until June of 2011 when I bought a hybrid type bicycle to check out the many Rails to Trails in western PA. Just started riding in the city a few months ago and I’m hooked. Doing my best to use my bike instead of the car whenever I can. I’ve met a lot of great people riding a bike. Never thought about how antisocial the private automobile is as a mode of transportation. If not antisocial then nonsocial.


Mr. Destructicity
Participant
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Like most posters, I learned as a kid and biked just about everywhere. Stopped in high school when my parents moved out to an area with hills that give Pittsburgh a run for their money and nowhere to go without getting on the highway. Bought a mountain bike for light commuting when I got out of college but got a car not long afterwards and didn’t use it much.

I started up again a few years ago when an ex-girlfriend suggested we go a few miles on one of the trails, and got serious about it when I had to lose weight to fit into a tux for my brother’s wedding. And then Car-Free Fridays encouraged me to try commuting to work and I was shocked how easy it was.


Swalfoort
Participant
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As a younger child in a large family (I have five older sisters), I don’t remember a time when the “little” garage wasn’t full of bikes. We all rode. Always. I have photos (I think) of the tricycle my next oldest sister first used (I predate the big wheel by a couple of years). I remember my first 20 inch bike. I remember the neighbors had a 16″ 2 wheeler. I remember a series of 24 inch bikes. Then my first bike with gears, and at 26 inches a “real bike.” I remember falling in love with my gold colored Miyata Frontier when I was still in the early years of high school. When that was stolen from the front porch in the middle of the day, I replaced it with another Miyata that I still have. Wow! I hadn’t realized just hold old it was.

I can realistically say that I started biking as soon as my feet could handle the pedals on the trike. As kids, the bikes were our liberation. We’s set out in packs of 10 and 12, heading to the local pool, park, tennis courts, softball practice or ice cream stand. Parents didn’t know where, never really asked. By high school, we’d be biking 25+ miles to the local quarry, or wherever. All the parents knew was that we were out, and that we’d be home for dinner. If not, we’d call. If we didn’t we got yelled at or grounded. For the lack of courtesy in not calling. Never (that I can remember) for where we were, or what we were doing.

God, I had a great childhood!


Eric Lundgren
Participant
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Rode as a kid for fun and transportation. I rode for transportation a lot now that I think of it. I’d go to my friends houses, baseball practice/games, across town to the store and such. I didn’t ride as much once I turned 16 and had cars to get around. I did still ride through the end of highschool but basically just to stay in shape through the summer for ice hockey.

Didn’t ride from 18-21 while I lived in the burbs and went to school. Started riding again at 21 when I moved to the city for transportation(didn’t have a car). My friends convinced me to check out the races at the oval and after watching a race I’ve been racing since. I still ride to work almost everyday.

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