I have been a regular cyclist now since I turned 18. Like every other kid I rode during childhood but also like every other boy I knew I drooled over the thought of getting my drivers licence and getting out on the road.
As I pretty much gave up riding in high school preferring to hitch hike anywhere I couldn’t get a ride or if the family car was not available. Then on more day of waiting in the rain for a pick up and I though I could get a bike and be on my way. I had enough guts by then to not be too worried about how uncool it was and got my first 10 speed bike. A sears dark red one, everyone knows red vehicles are faster, that cost the princely sum of $65.
On one hand that actually was a fair amount of money, about 1 weeks worth at the time and the value was inherent in that here was enough steel in the thing to get back a considerable amount just as scrap metal.
Any way over the years i rode, sometimes more sometimes less but way above average. In 1985 I made my longest ever bike ride flying to Vancouver and cycling back home to Ontario. By then I had a nice Cannondale touring bike made of aluminum which cost $750, the equivalent of about 2 weeks pay at the time.
ABout a decade later I realized I had a bit of a problem. Over the years I had managed to dislocate my right shoulder a couple of times and as I got older it developed a nice case of arthritis. It was never debilitating but I found that although I could go out for a nice lng ride anytime I wished if I rode a few days in a row like you need to to go on tour the pain just kept getting worse. The only thing that worked for real relief was rest and so I found myself reading up on and finally buying a recumbent bike.
That was in about 1998 and I got a Rans Stratus. hat cost $1700 dollars which represented about 3 weeks pay at the time.
The beauty of the recumbent bike was that it took all the wight off my arms. This allowed me once again to ride as much as I wanted with no residual aches growing from one day to the next. I never did do any really long tours on the bike as I had planned but rode it an average of about 3000 miles a year for 4 years. I was just about ready to trade it in on another when someone did me the honour of steeling it out of my back yard and I found myself down a bike to a little uncomplicated mountain bike I played around on and a nice Hybrid by Giant that i used for running errands and local transportation around the city.
I always intended on getting another recumbent but one thing led to another and I never got around to it till August 2010. At that time I found a local guy on Craigs list selling a Rans Velocity squared. This is the faster sportier brother to the stratus and as the price was quite reasonable $700 i got it intending to finish the summer riding a bit while I got it set up with lights, bags fenders etc to get into some touring again in 2011.
I was planning on riding down to Baltimore to visit my sister as the major tour for 2011 but as Robbie said once “ the best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley” translated into english that means. I was fucked.
Now however as I find myself recovering I also find myself thinking about maybe making that ride after all. I’m not sure about this year but sometime in the next little while. I also expect I’ll rejoin the cycling club I used to belong to and rack up a few more mile this year than I have for the past 10.
The really good news is that just like that long ago Sears 10 speed this oe is a brilliant red. So if you happen to be in Niagara next summer and find yourself passed by a guy on a strange looking bicycle at nearly superhuman speeds it might well be me.
I also see that state of the art sporty bikes now cost anywhere from $2000 to many of the top end ones breaking the $10,000 dollar line.
I’m once again riding a bike that cost me about one weeks pay rather than 5 months pay and it is easily the most comfortable bike I have ever ridden.