I was never what you would call an athletic kid. I was active, but never particularly good at any of the typical sports that kids in America play (baseball, football, basketball? Nope not me). In gym class my friends and I (there was 4 of us) were allowed to play tennis instead of doing the other gym sports. We played, even in the winter, because we just didn’t like or do well with the classic gym sports. And so I, like many other kids, slipped through the cracks. I had a bike and rode it on my paper route, with friends, etc. but it was never something that I got into. Funny since I remember watching the Tour even then. I saw Greg Lamond win and thought it was really cool. But it never clicked for me.
Fast forward a number of years. In college I had a bike like most other students. I rode it mostly as a way to get around school. Dabbled a little bit in using it as exercise but for some reason it still never clicked. At the time I graduated from college and grad school I would have qualified as a Clydsdale (200+ lbs) hitting my peak lifetime weight (over 220).
Fast forward again. I am working for the Navy in Maryland and I purchased a hybrid cruiser bike and started to ride a little bit more. I would ride around our subdivision and bike for an hour or so. I started to get into it. (Funny aside, Coreen is actually the only person to ride that bike on an organized group ride. She liked groups rides. I ran a little bit when I was working at the Naval Academy. Now she runs more than bikes, and I, well I bike a bit.)
When we moved to Potsdam I decided I would bike to work. The shortest route to my office is about 5.5 miles. During my first summer in Potsdam I put about 300 miles onto my bike that way. I wrecked the drive train, which wasn’t built for that kind of “serious” biking. That’s when I made the fateful decision that would lead me into first group rides then century rides and then races (it also lead me to red zones, bonking, spandex, endos, failed wheelies, and Leadville).
My first “real” bike was a Fuji World touring bike.
Steel frame, Shimano 105 divetrain, 32 mm tires, spare spokes on the frame, a rack for carrying stuff, fenders for keeping the water off. Total tank of a bike. (His name is Truck BTW, I still have him and he has never let me down. He is also not at all jealous of my other bikes. He sits in the garage waiting and is happy when I pull him out to ride.) Total heaven.
The first summer I rode my bike I put about 1500 miles on it (that seamed like a lot). I stopped being a Clydesdale. I was hooked.