Wednesday, September 29, 2010

8 Bikes

Since I've been a little bit obsessive about bikes recently, I'm going to write another blog about bikes because they are so cool that they deserve 2 posts in a row. Even though I'm stuck riding a bike every single day, I absolutely love bikes and biking.

When I was cute
It all started when I was a wee lad. I was 3 years old apparently and I somehow learned how to ride my sister, Sarah's bike. No training wheels. I just rode it. I only vaguely remember riding a bike when I was that young, but my parents told me that I learned when I was 3, so I'll take their word for it.

Disclaimer: I'm just going to write this post like it actually happened, but some details may be incorrect. I realized that sometimes I make up my own memories, but that's okay!

First Bike: Spiderman Bike (possibly a figment of my imagination)
So my first bike was a Spiderman bike! It was awesome. You know in the movies when some kid is walking along some snowy sidewalk in New York City and they see some awesome bike in the store window and fall in love with it? Well that's what happened with me. And somehow, I got the bike even though my family never buys That Awesome New Product That You Have To Have. At least that's what I remember.

The Purple Deathmobile
I then moved on to my purple bike. Yes, it was purple. Purple happened to be my favorite color back in the day. I didn't know any better. It was a Roadmaster! That bike has very few memories, well none really, except one awesome one. That bike was handed down to my brother, Josh (I seriously don't know if this bike was his originally or if it was handed down to him, but we'll move on). Well that bike was pretty old and starting to rust in some spots, especially at the stem, which held onto the bmx style handlebars. So, those handlebars had a tendency to bend over...a lot.

In our yard, there's a ditch next to the road and a metal pipe that sends the water in the ditch under our driveway. Well it's really fun to ride your bike and drop down the drop at the pipe. I did it a few times and then told Josh to try it out. Being the fearless Josh, he went for it at full speed on that awful rusty purple bike. Well he went off the jump, the handlebars bent completely forward, causing him to lose his balance and fall down onto the ground. He started bleeding like nothing else from somewhere on his head and gave that awful bloody murder scream. I kind of felt bad for telling him to do it, but not that bad.

Yes, I rode BMX, kinda
The reason I'm good at riding bikes is because of this one. My dad got a white elephant gift at a youth group party one year and it was a bmx bike. I thought it was stupid at first, but then I realized that it was a BMX bike and I wanted it. It came in a bunch of pieces so I asked my dad to build it for me. I rode this bike to ALL my baseball games and practices. Out of all my bikes as a kid, I rode this one the most. I would hang out at the ball parks on Saturdays watching baseball and riding bikes with my friends. We would go off jumps and do tricks. I could almost do a standing tailwhip and definitely hit some good sized jumps on that thing. It had pegs on the back, which I used for doing bar-spins and carrying my little sister around. That bike was so cool and I really enjoyed riding during the time that I had it. I liked this bike so much that one year the only thing I asked for for my birthday was a wheel with a freewheel hub, so I didn't have to have the coaster brake on it. And that was the only thing I got because it was expensive.

The Red Mountain Bike that didn't grow as fast as I did
My next bike was a red mountain bike. I can't remember the brand, but I liked it a lot. I put a lot of miles on that bike actually. I had it from 4th grade till I was a sophomore, so about 6 years. That happens to be the time in life that boys tend to grow a lot, and the bike didn't grow. One day I was riding home from baseball practice, which was a 10 mile ride. I had several moms picking up their sons saying, "Wow, you're riding home? I can give you a ride, you know." Well it was an uneventful ride, however very tiring. I took the Eagle River Road trail home instead of going up Meadow Creek Road and I ran into the Burress family. Mr. Burress looked at me and told me that my bike looked a little small for me (It was a lot too small, I just didn't notice) and that he had an old mountain bike that he could give me. I was a little hesitant to accept the help, but ended up going over to his house to pick up the bike later that week.

Green Piece
Again, I forget the brand, but it was a green mountain bike that actually fit me. I was getting close to never growing, at least upwards, again so the bike stuck with me through most of college. I was very happy with the bike and defended it when people said it wasn't a very nice bike. No it didn't have any suspension on it, but you don't need suspension to have a good bike. I put some miles on that bike too. In Eagle River (the town I grew up in in Alaska), there's a big river. It's called Hawk River, just kidding. Well next to the river there are these trails. People sometimes hiked on them, but it was actually pretty rare to find another person on the trail. Well, I would ride down to the river and ride along the trail for a while, till I got tired of riding over all the roots and then I'd just park my bike and walk. I had told my parents that I went down to the river to explore, but they were probably pretty curious about exactly what I did whenever I "went down to the river." Keep in mind that I always did this kind of stuff by myself because I only had like 2 close friends in high school and they weren't into stuff like that. I was mostly just curious to see how far the trail went. I usually ended up walking far enough that the trail just diminished to nothing and I was just climbing through a bunch of trees and bushes. I guess I was always hoping that the trail would lead somewhere cool and link up with some other road or trail that I had never been to. They never really went anywhere interesting. The most interesting thing that ever happened was when I was just sitting down, thinking about how sketchy that trail was. Nobody was ever on the trail, so if some creeper happened to be hiding near the trail and saw you coming, he could do whatever he wanted to do and no one would ever find out. Well I was thinking about that and all of a sudden I heard all this rustling in the leaves. A moose ran out in front of me, like 15 feet away and just ran away from me along the trail. Like I said, nothing interesting.

Well, I brought that green bike down to Colorado with me for college because I knew I wouldn't have a car and would be living a half mile from campus. It was very good to have that bike. It took me everywhere I needed to go and I soon realized it was faster than a car, coming down to campus. And ridiculously faster if you include the time it takes to find a parking spot and then get to class. I mostly just used the bike as a commuting bike aside from a single mountain bike ride on it.

Special Bike
I met Zach that first year of college. When I first met him, I didn't think much of him. He was an alright guy when I first met him, but I didn't really know him well enough yet. He told me he was pretty big into mountain biking and that blew me away. I never would have expected him to be a mountain biker. I apparently thought he didn't fit the image of a mountain biker. He took me out to Aurora one day in Soobie (His Subaru) and helped me choose a good mountain bike. I chose a 2005 silver Specialized Rockhopper and it was certainly a step up from my green bike. The specialized actually had front suspension and V-brakes, which are so much better than the cantilever brakes I had before. Oh, and the bike was WAY lighter. Turns out aluminum frames are a lot lighter than steel ones. Well Zach got me into mountain biking, so for the next 3 years I went on quite a few rides with him and used the bike every day to commute to school.

My college (Colorado School of Mines) is in one of the best towns in the country for mountain biking. One day, Zach and I decided to do an Epic Ride. Normally, we would just go up Chimney Gulch and down Apex, but Zach, being a ridiculously intense guy at times, decided he wanted something more epic. So the ride started out at the Mines Park parking lot. We rode up lookout mountain rode for a bit and then got on chimney gulch. Chimney Gulch is a great uphill ride. It's moderately technical and definitely tiring, but not exhausting except for the last mile, which seems like it's never going to end every single time I ride it. The thing about this trail is that every time I ride it with Zach, he's always certain that we could beat the road bikers going up the road and we always least the slow ones.

We got to the top, and of course I was tired, but the fun part was yet to come. We rode down the road till we got to Apex trail, which is ridiculously fun, especially when you take the Enchanted Forest detour. There are countless woop-de-doos (little bumps in the trail that launch you in to the air), some kind of technical stuff, it's a very fun steepness, and it's a very nice length. We cruised down that and as always it was ridiculously fun. Note: One time we shuttled apex and it was no where near as much fun as every other time we slaved up chimney to get to apex. The uphill makes the downhill so much more fun.

The next trail in line was Dakota Ridge. This was a couple miles down the road and I was uncertain what was to come. I had never ridden dakota ridge before, but zach said it was pretty technical...Yeah it was technical. There were tons of rocks in the trail that you had to ride over and the trail starts off with a ridiculously steep climb that just makes you beg for mercy. We felt pretty proud of ourselves because we passed a group of riders that all had really nice bikes. Ah, how sweet it is to stick it too the rich peeps who can't actually ride well.

The last ride we had planned was the Red Rocks trail and it was a good choice. After already doing 3 trails, my legs were shot and I was about ready to be home, taking a shower. But Red Rocks was a really cool and easy trail. Except for the initial climb, that's not too bad, the whole trail is pretty flat and just relaxing. It's in wide open fields in a valley between hogbacks and foothills and it's just beautiful. Oh and there's a bunch of sandstone structures that are really cool.

Riding along the road, back to the car, we linked up to the bottom of Apex, where there's a paved bike trail that goes all the way to Mines. There are few things more refreshing than that cruise coming home. You don't have to pedal at all and you just fly down the nice paved trail. So relaxing.

Fixerupper and Oldie
That Specialized holds a lot of my memories, including all the random tricks that I learned, but that'll be for another day. I moved to Denver during my last summer of grad school and people in Denver like to steal bikes. Well some punk stole mine from a bus stop and I will forever be constantly paranoid that someone is going to steal my bike when it's locked up. To replace the specialized, I bought an old Schwinn road bike, which I rode for only about 1.5 weeks, then I couldn't help myself and bought my Bianchi fixie from a guy on craigslist. I never ride the Schwinn because it's heavy and small and I'm just in love with my Bianchi. It is such a fun bike and it just makes me happy to ride it. I don't have any significant memories with the Bianchi, but I'm sure more would come.

I'm sure by now you're begging me to stop writing. For how little I talk, I sure can ramble when I'm typing. Now you know about all my bikes that I've ever owned and how I have precious memories with most of them.

Song of the day: Ain't No Reason by Brett Dennen


  1. Yes,Jon, it was a spider man bike that we bought at a second hand store. I am glad it meant so much to you.

  2. Damn son, I thought I was hot shit with my 3 mile commute to middle school!

  3. Bryant, you're still intense for your 3 mile commute. I only did that ride like twice during high school.

    Mom, I'm so glad I didn't just make that memory up. I was seriously wondering if I wanted that bike so bad, I just imagined that it was mine.