Sunday, October 6, 2013

Post #5: Bikeography Part III -- Moving On Up

Well, seems that I have been blogging for about a good two weeks now, and I'm still waiting for it to rain money.  That's how it works, right?  Publish your brilliant and witty commentary to the interwebs and the cash just starts flowing in.  I'm fairly certain that a big fat royalty check from Google is already on the way . . .

While I'm waiting, though, I guess I might as well continue to weave my magic for free.  When we left off, I had just mastered mounting and finally, actually riding, my way too big, totally inappropriate for a seven year old, Huffy Bicentennial ten speed.  Immediately, I gained a whole new perspective on bike-riding -- literally.  I now freakishly towered over all the other kids in the neighborhood when we headed out on our bikes.  Their bikes (the types I had suddenly graduated from) were so much more maneuverable and easy to get going.  However, once we did get going, I could easily out-pace anybody in my upper gears, and could climb any of the hills in our neighborhood with little effort while they struggled mightily, or even had to get off and push.   I got good at maneuvering the ten speed through, around and over many of the same obstacles I had overcome on my banana-seat bike as well as falling off, helmet-less, upon running into some of the same fixed objects that had previously unseated me (perhaps the most important skill I have retained to this day).  

More significantly, this giant bike, and its ability to eat up ground with little effort fed my impulse to explore.  Just as my first bike had instantly propelled me beyond the confines of my driveway, this road bike expanded my horizons well beyond our block on Tulsa Trail.  This capability proved to be crucial when we suddenly moved from suburban New Jersey to suburban New York when NYPD changed its rules, requiring its police officers to live within the borders of New York State.  We moved to a virtual kid-paradise -- a development in a dairy and onion farming town about 60 miles north of NYC.  It was teeming with kids, had multiple ballfields and playing courts, and had several miles of highway-free, residential roads to explore on my bike.  Our first day in the neighborhood found me out on the Huffy getting the lay of the land.  Within a day or two, I had the entire layout of the development memorized.  To this day, with every move I have made (and there have been many) I have continued the habit of orienting myself by bike.  There is no better way to quickly get to know a new place.  Walking takes too long and everything just seems to blend and blur together from behind a windshield.  

From this point on, my bike became more of an appendage than a toy.  Whereas all my friends in New Jersey had lived on the same block, I now had friends spread throughout our sprawling development -- the bike got me to them more quickly right after school, and allowed me to linger until the last possible moment without being late for dinner.   I was the catalyst for many a pick-up baseball game, and learned that the drop bars were perfect for transporting a bat, with glove slid over the knob.  Every journey, however short or long, or for whatever purpose, was taken on my Huffy, which, by the middle of fourth grade, had almost started to fit.  Which, of course, meant it was time to pass it down to my younger brother, the Egg (who repeated my bloody travails trying to master the transition from banana bike to road bike), and move on to yet another ridiculously disproportionate bicycle: 

This time, it was a fully adult-sized Huffy Santa Fe.  With its leather drop bars, it was the second most beautiful object I had ever beholden (nothing could beat the red, white, and blue glory of the Bicentennial Huffy, except, of course, my yet to be encountered long-suffering wife).  Little did I know it, but this was to be the last bike I would get until adulthood.  Luckily, like riding a bike to begin with, you never forget how to ride a bike that's way too big for you - so, I was spared the painful learning curve of the past two transitions.  The baseball bat slipped just as easily through the Santa Fe's drop bars, so I quickly shed the old appendage for this new one . . .

Next Up:   Dobermans and on to Mountain Bikes

Author's note:  After extensive consultation with my crack management and marketing teams, and poring over reams of demographic and web-surfing data, it has been decided that all possible human effort will be made to publish The San Diego Bikeist every Monday and Thursday.  Lucky you.  Stick around, and I may even start blogging about San Diego . . .



  1. Bikeist's SisterOctober 7, 2013 at 9:12 AM

    I think that's the bike I broke my arm on!! I know you took good care of your bikes but..unknown to me..some "friend" took the bike the day before..popped the tire & ruined the brakes. That bike was my transportation to babysitting. I didn't hesitate to jump on it to go around the block. The trouble is..our driveway was a few degrees short of a CLIFF. I hopped on it, flew down, & tried to make a quick left..I didn't make it! The rear end flew out from under me because the only traction I had was the metal rim on the blacktop..not good. All I did was land on my left palm & jump smoothly to a standing position. was enough to break my wrist. Of course it was summer & I knew I was going swimming and playing (very amateur) tennis the next few days. Soooo, I hid the break for two days until I knew Mom was off work & I was probably going to cause more damage not having a cast. OUCH!! I hated that cast!

  2. Dear Bikeist's Sister:

    Thank you for adding to the already considerable bike lore of this Bikeography -- that's a story I actually forgot! Of course, I'll never forget how the bike got that way. Our ten speeds always held an exotic appeal to those who rode in our shadows on their banana bikes and BMX's. One day, down at Pulvirent Field, one of the kids I didn't know so well convinced me to let him try it. He disappeared into the woods, and came back with the handlebars turned sideways and the tires flat. I was furious beyond belief, but was powerless because I was dumb enough to let him ride it. I wound up pummeling the fool for something else when we were in high school, but there was probably still a little left over rage in play from what he did to my Santa Fe . . .