|my first real road bike - Nishiki International|
I remember watching the Tour de France as a kid; I’m not sure what year it was, 1984 or 85? or maybe even 86. I just got my first “real” road bicycle, meaning it was something I would not flip the handlebars around and ride wheelies with, or jump, or basically beat the crap out of like every other bicycle I have owned. This was a real bike, meant for going faster, longer, harder, with toe clips that meant falling over was a cumbersome affair to untangle oneself. I even had some cool Avocet shoes that offered a harder sole to increase pedaling efficiency and grooves to hold my foot into place; this was a real frigging bike. And Hell NO do not forget to loosen your toe clips at a red light, there is no last minute twist of the foot to unclip with those damn things! I was ready to haul some ass. Give me some spandex. A cool EURO La Vie Claire jersey and some matching Look shorts. Damn that was badass! As bad ass as you can be in spandex anyway.
It was the first day of the tour, and the prologue was it’s typical crazy short self, maybe 4K or so. The pros did it in whatever time they did it in, I can’t remember. But I do remember hopping on my bike, hitting start on the cyclometer, and then pedaling my ass off around the neighborhood to see how close I could come to the winning time. Only quickly to realize that stop signs, other cars, and whatever other neighborhood hazard there is around to slow me down that it wasn’t a fair comparison. Sprinting up to 29 mph, staying at that speed maybe 5 feet, basically hyperventilating, then completely falling apart all within the first 400 yards.
Long slow rides with friends, stopping at Burger King to refuel, those were the food and fun days I remember from riding. Nowadays I am just getting back into the same type of riding I did as a kid. Getting lost, running out of food, exploring new areas, just riding without a distance, time, pace, or specific destination in mind. Having fun again and just being a kid on a bike. And I may not be a bad ass in spandex, but don’t most superheroes where spandex? I may get to that point at some time.