Tag Archives: Bicycles

How 2 Wheels Changed Everything…

BikeDad

Dec. 21, 2007 is my sobriety date. I haven’t found the need to ingest any alcohol or other mind altering chemicals since that date. I’d love to claim that this occurred because of a personal epiphany or that I was suddenly struck with an urge to get healthy, but that would not be the truth. The truth was, as I was sitting handcuffed in the back of a CHP car, I decided to change my life…enough was enough. I had somehow contracted the disease of alcoholism (funny how that happens…I thought everybody blacked out and drank as much and as long as I did), and as a result of my actions while drinking…I had picked up my second DUI the night I was fortunate enough to be in that CHP car (as opposed to the Coroners van).

The State of California decided I needed to be without a driver’s license for 365 days. Damn. That was inconvenient. I had a life then. How the hell am I going to get to work, pick up my kids…do life?

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The answer took the form of 2 wheels. For the next year, I did life on 2 wheels. Entertaining my kids, work, grocery shopping…life was done on 2 wheels.

In a million years, if you would have told me I’d be a cyclist now, at age 55…I would have genuinely laughed. And I did at the spandex laden freaks I saw on the side of the road. Until I became one…

As I spent that year on 2 wheels, something clicked inside me. Every single time I set forth…those first few pedal strokes invoked a sense of freedom and youth in me I hadn’t felt since I was a kid on my Schwinn. And that feeling remains today.

Last year, I rode over 3500 miles. On the bike pictured above, I’ve ridden 12,602 miles. And I’ve become a cycling addict. Every climb calls to me like another challenge awakened…every long ride instills in me a sense of accomplishment and…well…life.

I’ve lost 30 lbs cycling and for the first time in my life, all my lab work at my annual physical was normal…hypertension: gone…high blood sugar: gone…routine labs: normal.

So it was with this justification that I decided to spend some money on my health and my future. I bought a “real” road bike. A carbon fiber dream that I’d been coveting for a few years.

photo 1

I haven’t even taken it out on the road yet. It just didn’t seem right until I eulogized my 2007 Gary Fisher Mendota…

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The two wheels that got me to the market, got me to work, to my meetings, to my kids…the two wheels that helped keep me sober and helped me quit smoking–the two wheels that profoundly changed my life and my health. I didn’t see it coming. Sometimes the best things in life work that way.

I hate to part with you my friend. And although you’ll be my campus bike when I get into UCLA in 2017…you’ll no longer be my daily rider. My daily meditation. My daily savior on two wheels…

 

 


Can’t We All Just Get Along? Bike-Style…

(Courtesy Washington Post)

I rediscovered bicycling in 2008. I had spent many years on a motorcycle, but hadn’t given the pedal powered 2-wheeler a shot until I bought my first road bike.

It didn’t take long for me to delight in a wonderful discovery. Riding a bike helps me reimagine my childhood.  Every time I start out on a ride, and oftentimes during the ride, I experience the rush of adrenaline and joy that I felt as a child riding my bike.  It brings back memories of my 3-speed Schwinn with the banana seat and the sissy bar…my first green Continental 10-speed.

I also discovered something else…cycling saves me money. Gas prices continue to climb and I adjusted some of the moderately short trips I routinely made and found a significant savings. And I felt good about it too. I’m no tree-hugger, but there is something about not contributing to the destruction of the planet that adds tokens to your personal Karma account.

I even found a job for a while in the cycling industry and reveled in the camaraderie and passion shared by my fellow cyclist. I am thrilled to see on my morning fitness rides, more and more men and women commuting to work. I live near one of the largest biotechnology companies in the world and on any given day, I see a couple dozen cyclists, backpacks filled with work clothes slung over their backs, heading into work.

Now for the downside; cycling is inherently dangerous, especially on city streets. A driver myself, I understand the frustration of motorists who see cyclists disobey traffic laws (run stop signs, ride on sidewalks, take entire lanes when it’s not necessary), in fact, a few years ago I hit a drunk cyclist who was traveling the wrong way at night.  Fortunately for both of us his injuries were minor…so yeah, I get it. But consider the vast majority of cyclist that DO follow the rules of the road. Here are a group of people, contributing positively to the overall well-being of our planet and they are subjected to often near-fatal encounters with metal machines bigger and faster than we are. It’s not that hard to co-exist. Here are a few tips to make the commute more enjoyable and safe.

It boils down to the same old adage: walk a few miles in the other fellows shoes and you will gain a greater understanding of him and yourself…or in this case, ride a few miles in his clip-on’s…


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