The basis for this blog is cycling, more specifically “old school” or “shoestring budget” style cycling, with a purpose. If you are like I am; out of practice, out of shape, stuck with an old bicycle, yet still have a deep burning desire to get out there and cycle around, great! You’re the type of person I primarily wish to talk with. Of course if you’re an “old hat” when it comes to cycling, and are in olympic athlete condition, I also welcome your readership. In fact I would greatly appreciate your advice, tips, and other comments. If you fit into my original summation but your spirit is willing and you are without a bike all is not lost. There are several organizations out there who will either give you a used bike, or you can purchase one for pennies on the dollar. For example, Goodwill, various hospital thrift stores (which is where I obtained my trunk mounted bicycle carrier for only $5 USD), and Habitat For Humanity’s Restore locations get good bikes in occasionally. If they don’t have one available sometimes they will know someone who has one they would be willing to donate to you, or put you on a list to be notified when one is received. Even a few bike shops get trade-ins or know a customer who has a used bike they would like to see go to a good home. Ask around. You may be surprised who would be glad to help you out.
The crux of the matter is this; you do Not need to have a brand new bike to enjoy cycling, or to be a part of helping someone else achieve some added joy in their free time while acquiring a new level of freedom or accomplishmet. I know this is contrary to popular belief, but It Does Not Matter what type of bicycle and optional equipment you have as long as the desire to get outdoors and cycle is in your blood, and you are doing it safely! For some, cruising up and down a neighborhood street on a single-speed bike is fun, to others like me the possiblility of traveling to new places, and seeing new faces, is the draw. I’m looking forward to cycling some of the lesser traveled streets, roads, and by-ways in my home area, but I’m absolutely ecstatic about getting back to the ocean-side roadways, listening to the surf, and feeling the ocean breeze on my skin while cruising along at a leisurely, enjoyable pace. Of course, a lot of places I will be riding aren’t actually new to me, but the sights certainly will be at 5, 10, or 15 miles per hour on my bike instead of 30 or 60 mph in a car. It’s amazing what architectural details and natural beauty a person can see when they’re not speeding by at a break-neck speed. Occasionally I will hike along a roadway which I have driven often. There are always things I see that elicit the reaction of, “Wow! I never saw that there before!” or “I didn’t realize this area was so pretty”. The same holds true with cycling. For me, that’s a tremendous draw and a part of the adventure.
In case you’re wondering, I will be using a stock 18-speed Huffy mountain bike that’s at least 18 years old at the time of this post. It will be outfitted with military surplus Alice packs I already own attached to the rear instead of the more modern Panniers for carrying the items I will need for my journey, and discount store water bottles/mounts attached to the seat and down tubes. I haven’t decided yet whether to attach a tire pumpI already own to the forward portion of the top tube or store it in one of the packs. It had been near the seat, but was not as handy to access while on the move as it may seem . Yep, my bike will have more drag, be heavier, and nowhere near as pleasing to the eye as many of the other bikes I’ll meet on the road, but it will be uniquely mine. I seriously doubt you’ll see another one like it on the road, OR in the junk yard. lol Most of the more experienced touring or racing cyclists can’t honestly claim uniqueness for their bikes. Sure, their bike may be the newest, lightest, fastest, and most aerodynamic model available but aside from its color and possibly a different type of pedal, grip, or other such item than it came with, the bike itself will be just like a thousand other bikes out there unless it’s custom-built to their specifications. I don’t care about all that. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking the newer bikes, or those that ride them. If that’s what you have or want, great! It’s just not my personal style or preference. When I schedule rides, every one of all ages, sex, race, bike style, etc. are always welcome. To use an old cliché… the more the merrier. Ok, I’ll admit that sometimes I daydream about getting a new bike that’s hassle free, shiny, and comes with a warranty, but then I realize it’s just the new bike smell getting to me. 😉 After all, what’s better than a bike that’s paid for, a classic, and uniquely you??? 😀