Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Two Wheels Part I

My friend, Paul, in England asked me the other day to do a piece on my Harley and why I ride one.  Well, it's a little complicated, and as he also asked me about my bicycle I thought I would post a three-part piece on the entire two-wheel thing.
I was about 7 when I learned to ride a bike.  In post-war-ravaged Britain however, new bikes were not bought for boys outside of the really rich ones.  So like everyone else I had a heavy black job with rod brakes and a dodgy chain; but I loved it.  By the time I hit 13, my father was able to pony up the necessary funds to buy me a new one.  It was gunmetal blue, had a three-speed Sturmey Archer gear system and cable brakes.  It also had touring handlebars, as for some reason my father didn't like drop-down racing bars.
Due to the rigors of marriage and childrearing and chasing a career, the bike left my mind and also my increasingly cluttered garage.  However after arriving here in California, I had to give up running, and along with arthroscopic surgery I acquired a new bike - it was to be the first of four.
Eventually I decided to buy a really good one and did a survey of all the bike shops in LA.  I ended up with the above, a Klein.  It was a slightly larger model, hence the lowered price, and I have put about 25,000 miles on it since I bought it in 1991.  I try to ride about three or four times a week and that means throughout the winter; as long as the pavement is dry, and I have all the right clothes to avoid hypothermia.  I would thoroughly recommend it as a form of exercise, both mental and physical.

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