Over the years, I’ve thrown my leg over many, many bikes. Some are more memorable than others, but I feel that all deserve a bit of time to remember.
Bike #1: Peugeot 3-speed road bike (ca. late-1970s)
This was a loaner from the Netka family, who lived down the street from me, and whose daughter, Melissa, taught me how to ride (27 years later: thanks, Melissa!). She had outgrown this bike, with its steel frame and 3-speed hub gearing, so they were happy to loan it to my family. The bike was white, with red, silver and navy pinstrpe bands.
I must’ve spent many, many hours riding this bike on Haxton Place, by my parents’ house: darting on and off of curbs, catching air off the lip of the gutters as I shot out of driveways, carving tight figure-eights in the middle of the street. It must’ve made my parents – and the neighbors – crazy.
Bike #2: Schwinn Le Tour road bike (ca. late-1970s)
This was the first bike I had that belonged to my family. My dad bought this for me at a yard sale, and it had been used by an elderly gentleman for fitness and to run errands. The frame was a tank: high-tensile steel with a metallic red finish, and a mish-mosh of parts. The parts really were scattershot: Shimano Dura-Ace centerpull brakes, a Shimano Tourney drivetrain, a cushy red-and-white Schwinn saddle, chrome fenders, and stem-mounted shifters.
This is the bike I rode when I first banged up my left knee behind the Prince’s house (it was an ugly mess, and really disturbed my friend’s mom), and the one I rode when I ran into a car pulling out of the parking lot of my mom’s acupuncure clinic. Boy, was I shaken by that – I think I freaked out the woman who drove the car, as well as my dad (I was following him around the block – he drove his truck, and I rode on the sidewalk, not looking where I was going).
Bike #3: Bianchi Grizzly mountain bike (1983)
In 1983, my dad bought two of these bikes: one for me, one for him. They were very early mountain bikes, for sure: heavy steel construction, with 19″ chainstays, wide rims, bullhorn bar/stem assemblies, and 5-speed friction shifters. The frames were metallic indigo.
This is the bike that really made me love riding. I rode local trails (City Creek, The Bobsled, the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, Ensign Peak) with my friends on this bike, and started to get into the mountain bike racing scene. I raced my first mountain bike competitions on this bike (both took place on the Agony Escalator/Bobsled course), which weighed close to 38 pounds. I wasn’t too good, but it didn’t matter – I was hooked, as it was a nice summer option for a ski racer.
From here, I knew I needed something a bit more performance-oriented.
To be continued…