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How did you get into cycling?

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

How did you get into cycling?

Old 06-26-20, 03:19 PM
  #1  
bruce19
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How did you get into cycling?

Here's my story: I was around 37 yrs. old and well past my college prime of football and baseball. My brother-in-law had just completed the Boston Marathon. One day he told me he had bought a bicycle and was thinking of taking up bicycling as a sport. He also said that there was a ride sponsored by a local bike shop known as Vernon (VT) to Vernon (CT). It was something called a Century. He suggested we do it. I had given up playing softball in a local league about 5 years before and was basically a couch potato. I said, "Bob, I haven't ridden a bike since I was a kid." He responded, "But, you have a bike?" Well, I actually did have a bike. A Panasonic DX2000 with a 52/39 crank and a 13x23 cassette.So, we went for a ride of 20 miles. At ride's end he said, "Was that so bad?" No. It was OK. "Well, all you have to do is that......5 times" So, we signed up for the ride. As we started the ride in VT, a very fit, very attractive young woman rode up to us and asked, "Have you trained for the ride?" When I explained that I had ridden 20 miles the week before, there was an eerie silence. Then she said, " Well, we're going to learn a lot about ourselves today" and rode off. I turned to Bob..."What did she mean by that Bob?" He looked at me and said,"I have no idea." The ride was very scenic but included Mt. Tom in MA. At the end I was beyond depleted. I literally couldn't walk for 3 days. After I recovered I was faced with taking up cycling or getting rid of the bike. I guess because I was an athlete and couldn't stand the idea of not being able to do something, I persevered. The year was around 1982 btw. And you?
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Old 06-26-20, 04:04 PM
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JonnyV
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My senior year of high school, a somewhat local bike shop opened a season location in our mall for the Christmas season. I managed to get a job there as a salesman. I learned about bikes from the other salesmen and the manager. A few months after the store closed, I spoke to the manager and got a 2002 Giant OCR3 just above cost (she treated me really well considering I was no longer an employee!). It took a few years of just tooling around on it until the cycling bug really hit. Then as upgraditis took hold, I wanted the most return on my investments so I rode more. And built more bikes. And rode more. I was crazy about it. I had a beautiful cycling partner, she kept me motivated. Then she got married. Then I got married. Then the kids came. And now, I struggle to ride 500 miles a year. I still love everything about the sport and cherish every mile because of the work it takes to get them in!
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Old 06-26-20, 04:10 PM
  #3  
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Rode bmx all over town as a kid to get to friends houses the golf course, etc. We would build trscks in the woods with tabletop jumps and whatnot.

Picked it back up as an adult when my oldest daughter was a few years old and starting to ride.

Geeked out on the history of brands and globalization of manufacturing. Thst led to geeking on theory of materials and geometry.

Got into longer and longer rides for the same reason so many adults get into endurance sports- its a challenge we can still accomplish even without the fast twitch muscles and strength we once had. Furthermore, with little to no suffering in life, endurance sports mimick that struggle, which is appealing for many.
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Old 06-26-20, 04:33 PM
  #4  
ridethecliche
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When I had just started college, I had two friends who were mentors of sorts because they were advanced students in the biochem lab that I had started with. And they had beer. I bought a bike to start hanging out with them more because they rode together sometimes.

Realized that CT was beautiful and there was some phenomenal riding around. Ended up selling the bikes direct bike. Bought a caad9 and an 84 trek 760. Joined the coop at school to help and learn to wrench. Ended up deciding to race and starting a team in college. Ended up getting very badly injured riding. Ended up racing for a local team for the summer and a year after recovering. Ended up with weird knee issues and stopped riding.

Moved to boston. Built the trek up as a single speed and commuted on it. Built up another trek as a 1x bike and grocery getter. Stopped riding for exercise and just rode to get around.

Stopped riding all through grad school.

And just started up again about 15 years after I first got on a bike with the intention of going out on a ride just to ride. Hoping to do it for as long as I can. I missed it.
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Old 06-26-20, 05:12 PM
  #5  
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I’d say cycling got into me. I could say it was when I was 4 with a red bike with a banana seat or my Madone at 34. Was it when I got my Gary Fisher mountain bike in 1999 or when I realized riding my steel Campy equipped Bianchi was mighty fine.
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Old 06-26-20, 05:21 PM
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Like most people, as a youngster i rode around for transportation within a few miles radius of my house. Didn't do much riding regularly through college and my 20's and early 30's, but always had a bike around.
I was always active, playing a lot of Ultimate Frisbee on a local club team up into my 30's. Had a knee scope to fix a bad cartlidge tear in my left knee in my late 20's. Kept playing high impact sports up until my left knee gave out at 33. Bone on bone in the joint, no cartlidge left in the load bearing portion. Rather than a knee replacement, i opted for a high tibial osteomoty, which essentially moves the geometry of the leg below the joint, pushing the load bearing line through a different portion of the joint, increasing function and decreasing pain. Although the doc was optimistic i would regain full function, i have found that if i run/jump, it is aggrivated quite easily.
During rehab after surgery, i found the excercise bike to be the most beneficial for the joint, being both low impact, and strengthening the muscles around the joint, adding much needed stability.
I decided to buy a new bike and start commuting to work in order to get in some riding everyday, which really helps keep the knee feeling good and functioning well. After a few more attempts at running sports, i decided that although i can still run at a high level, it was best for my longterm knee health to give it up, and i now only run if in an emergency situation.
Since giving up running, i have purchased a few more bikes, gotten rid of the family's 2nd car, and committed to bike commuting full time, year round. I gotta say, at age 40 I don't really miss running all that much, but do miss some of the sports that went with it. The enjoyment gain from cycling more than makes up for that, and most days, my knees feel pretty damn good.
These days, my riding time is split pretty evenly between daily commuting, and road riding for fun.
My 15 year old son is becoming a pretty good riding partner, so hopefully he will keep pedaling through his adult years.

Last edited by SalsaShark; 06-26-20 at 05:29 PM.
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Old 06-26-20, 06:06 PM
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bampilot06
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Had to go out on disability last year. Basically I started doing everything unhealthy you can do and it caught up to me quick. Needed to lose weight and get my blood pressure under control. Bought a cheap mountain bike, but the trails were not close to my house so I started riding around my neighborhood. Started to get faster and faster as well as my endurance kept increasing. It didn’t take me long to get hooked. Mountain bike broke, so I bought a cheap road bike. Put about 500 miles on it before it broke. Bought a used CAAD 4. Put 1500 miles on it sold it, and now riding a Cervelo.
weighed 255 ish when I started now I am at 170. Hope to start racing in the future.
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Old 06-26-20, 06:08 PM
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indyfabz
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My parents bought me a tricycle. The rest is history.
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Old 06-26-20, 06:13 PM
  #9  
mackgoo
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When I was around some older kids bought some Bianchi's from Bicycle Revival in Quincy. I wanted to be one of the cool kids so I talked my parents into getting one too. 1971 beautiful Celeste and I never looked back.
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Old 06-26-20, 06:30 PM
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For cardio since I hate running and running is bad on your knees and joints regardless what runners say! Then the cardio part of it turned into an obsession and here I am going on 51 years of age and 2o years later. Nope, will never be a racer nor compete in any way, just against myself to improve. Plus what other sports allows you to wear such great clothing that hugs your nether regions so tightly and you can go in public and not appear as a freak!


I have ridden my whole life from the time I was a kid....the typical bikes (Huffy’s and Schwinn) with the neighborhood kids.

Last edited by Germanrazor; 06-26-20 at 06:33 PM.
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Old 06-26-20, 06:41 PM
  #11  
Greiselman
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My parents owned a bike shop when I was young, so I grew up building kids bikes and fixing flat tires in exchange for wholesale pricing. My riding volume has fluctuated over the years but I've always loved wrenching.
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Old 06-26-20, 07:12 PM
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I rode a lot as a kid, mostly on mountain bikes that were a level or two above BSO 'cuz that's what people got their kids in the 80s and early 90s.

Driving happened. Then grad school happened, and I couldn't afford gas, parking, or car repairs. My old MTB was awful, so I mostly took the bus. Some of my friends had vintage road bikes, and they seemed fast and cool.

I got an old road bike for $75 on CL. I started riding for errands and realized I could save time by doing a mixed-mode bike/bus commute. Riding the bike was fun, and I started riding recreationally on paved paths, working up to 20 or 30 miles at a time. My derailleurs got smashed in the bus storage bin, and the bike became a fixed gear.

One day, I decided to try a one-way commute, 33 miles, without taking the bus. There were no paths for that route, just roads. I nailed it, and had fun. The rides got longer, and continued, even when there was no destination. Eventually I got a proper road bike and succumbed to cycling clothes. So it goes.
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Old 06-26-20, 08:10 PM
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I rode around our subdivision a lot as a kid then teen and progressively bought nicer Schwinn bikes until I end up with a Le Tour which I thought was high end. It got me through college and into my thirties. Then I met a customer of mine who taught me about serious cycling, group rides and the like. I guess I was about 35 at the time. I was hooked and rode 4-5 times a week after work and on weekends. Bought a Bianchi Virata with lugged Tange Supersteel frame and Ultegra group which I kept until recently when a Specialized Roubaix became my riding partner. I’m now 62 with a 9 year old who likes to ride.
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Old 06-26-20, 08:19 PM
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Met a great lady from France. Dated, married and bought her a bike to ride over here. Bought a bike to ride with her. Now I ride all the time....
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Old 06-26-20, 08:39 PM
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I always loved cycling, even as a kid.
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Old 06-26-20, 09:32 PM
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I was in a toxic marriage. A pack and a half a day smoker. We were in counseling. I had quit smoking, but had a lot of anxiety. The counselor suggested I take up a physical activity. I hate running. So biking it is.
I rode several cheap mountain bikes into the ground at first. Bought a 20 year old road bike. Been hooked ever since.
The marriage ended. But I'm still riding.
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Old 06-26-20, 09:37 PM
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I've only been riding for about 2 1/2 years. I was a runner for more than 50 years, but my knees couldn't take it any more. Almost constant knee pain. So I bought a bike. Hadn't ridden one in 40 years, but now I'm riding almost every day. The knee pain is gone, I'm liking the bike... and picking up some good information from you more experienced riders.
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Old 06-26-20, 10:59 PM
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Started as an adolescent. I rode a lot in my late teens but went to college 1,000mi away and didn't want to take my bike. I got back into cycling as a commuter in 2011. That led to more recreational riding and, of course, spending way too much money feeding the addiction.

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Old 06-26-20, 11:39 PM
  #19  
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I'm a long-time martial artist. Started taekwondo right after high school at 19, and around the age of 26 or so began to take the fitness aspect of it way more seriously by joining the gym.

Spin was my cardio activity of choice for cross training after watching a lot of friends get joint replacements and injure knees and stuff, so I figured I didn't need the joint impact on top of what taekwondo does. I consider that my intro into cycling.

About 3 years ago I rode 50 miles in an organized event and decided to take the bike outside. Bought a 600 dollar road bike and started.

I'm 34 today and still going strong in cycling and MMA. Over the past 2 years I rode a metric century, did my first full century and have 2 more this year. I even bought a new road bike last week and do group rides every Saturday.
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Old 06-27-20, 12:52 AM
  #20  
Mv350
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My dad got me into riding when I was real young. He had been one of my best riding partners since I was a kid. Then we didn't get to ride together for almost 10 years. We finally did back in December. Now I send him all my Strava rides.
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Old 06-27-20, 03:53 AM
  #21  
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My parents gave me a 2-wheeler when I was 6 years old.

I've been cycling ever since.
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Old 06-27-20, 04:33 AM
  #22  
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did quite a bit of cycling as a pre-teen on a sweet, red line bmx bike locally (2-5 miles), then a sears "free spirit" 10-speed as an early teen in a hilly area (5-10 miles) on the edge of los angeles county.
got to the age of 15 and it wasn't cool to ride to a friend's house or destination. it was cooler to get dropped off/picked up or take the bus and walk...or just walk.

15-20 years later, bought a house in eastern chula vista in southern san diego county, california. never a gym person and running (once a fave exercise outlet), didn't move the needle. soccer..my usual athletic/exercise
outlet, involved a schedule/coordination and my life had gotten more complicated. wasn't looking to add more times to be places. there were oodles of bike lanes and fresh pavement in my area and one of the us olympic training
centers was literally three miles away. i would occasionally see the us women and men cycling olympic teams ripping around the area while out walking or driving. my brother in law had gotten heavily into following professional cycling
and had started riding 20-30 mile rides. took the plunge in 2000 and haven't regretted the decision once...even through the crashes, equipment failures, double-flats and whatnot.

still love the ability to get exercise from second one by rolling out your front/back door (like running). it ain't cheap but i rationalize it since it's both a hobby and (a) sport/exercise.
cycling often is the best way to experience an area/region. driving is too fast. walking can be too slow. scenic areas require more time and cycling is perfect for capturing the subtleties as to why.

Last edited by ooga-booga; 06-27-20 at 04:40 AM.
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Old 06-27-20, 03:12 PM
  #23  
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As a child: Best transportation to Cramer's lake to fish.
As an adult: I had to quit running because of injuries as I aged. Biking filled the aerobic fitness mechanism for me.
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Old 06-27-20, 04:24 PM
  #24  
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Rode all over the East side of Providence as a kid. I have memories of riding up College Hill, for folks who know the area. My Raleigh 3-speed was stolen when i was 15, so I stopped riding inthe expectation of preferring a car. 13 years later, living in Ann Arbor 5 miles away from my part of campus (Lane Hall), I found I could commute by bike in less time and for less money than I could drive, park, and walk to where I needed to be. I found I liked riding.

9 years later, I moved to the Chicago area and grooved on rounding some curves and finding the beautiful Bahai Temple in Wilmette, Sheridan Road, 'the ravines', the Harmon Hundred, etc. Also, every Sunday a group started a 35-50 mile ride from a block away from where I lived. I stopped riding when I left Chicago, rode again when I came back, stopped when I felt unstable on the bike.

Then, 7/5/13, I was watching the Tour on TV and thought, 'Gee, I used to like riding. Why did I quit? Oh, yeah, instability ... that was right after I put a different saddle on ... maybe if I lower the seat a bit, I won't be unstable....' I lowered the seat, got my stability back and have ridden every Spring Summer, and Fall since then. I even resurrected my Racer Mate II for winter conditioning.

Last edited by philbob57; 06-27-20 at 04:48 PM.
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Old 06-27-20, 04:51 PM
  #25  
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At 50 y/o my gf told me I looked pregnant when I had my hands on my hips. I was ashamed partly because she is slim and athletic and I once was in good shape. I bought a MTB and just started riding local MUPS. In time I graduated to riding in the hills and started to love riding. Now I ride about three time per week and regret not riding sooner.
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