Sunday, May 8, 2016

Time Goes By So Fast

My Father used to say to me, "time goes by so fast". He said, "you don't realize that now, but you will someday". And for years, he was right. Three years back when Dad's words started rolling around in my mind, I started an unlikely passion - bicycle riding. I mean really bicycle riding. Not up and down the street like I did as a kid, but getting on a bike and riding a few hundred miles at a time.

This came about due to a friend, Eric Vaughn, giving me a ticket to ride in the Seattle-to-Portland annual bike ride. I agreed to do it. Now, the funny thing was that I didn't even own a bike at the time. Heck, I hadn't even been on a bike for 10 miles in probably 40-45 years at that time.

Joe's Bike Check List
  • Buy a bike (My brother told me that the bikes at Walmart came with pedals - bike riders will get this)
  • Get some bike clothes (I didn't have any spandex)
  • Ride my new bike
I started reading about bikes on the Internet. It's pretty overwhelming if one has the same amount of experience that I had. The prices run anywhere from a hundred dollars to the amount of a Honda Civic. Somewhere in my research I came up with $300 as being a good price (it turns out that $300 really is at the bottom of the pile, but I still love my first bike that's in the photo with me).

I searched Google and the best bikes under 300 bucks and settled on the Giordano Libero 1.6. Two days later it showed up on my doorstep courtesy of Amazon Prime. She's red, white with green accents. Drop handlebars with white tape and a matching seat. It has a great aluminum frame resting on a pair of 700 c tires, spun by sixteen speeds of Shimano gearing. Now that the bike is here....then what. Mackie picked me up some bike clothes, and soon for the moment of truth.

Eric and I got together a few times and we rode anywhere between about 6-12 miles. I think one time we may have made it to 18 miles.

The Day of Reckoning

Mackie and I drove to Seattle the day before the ride and spent the night in a hotel. The next morning I was nervous as I had ever been, my gut was wrenching. I was getting dressed the next morning and realized that I had forgotten my bike shoes. Mackie said she'd drive home and meet me in Centrailia later that day. Fortunately, I had my tennis shoes so on they went.

I started riding down the hill to the University of Washington. Every few minutes another person would join me riding towards the UofW parking lot where the ride was to start. We crossed over the hill, and I could see the endless sea of bicycles across the lot. Down the hill we went and started into the lot. As soon as I was getting ready to get off my bike, the voice over the megaphone said "GO". I started peddling, and now the real journey begins.

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