1 August 2008

Back when I was a kid …

Posted by todd under: Riding .

When I was a kid and a teen-ager a bike represented independence. I used to ride my (one-speed) BMX bike 8 miles — on a highway — to a state park and back.

Once I jumped on my Coast to Coast 10-speed (plastic shifters! plastic brake levers mounted on the stem! Note to self: post more about this bike later) on a whim and rode 30 miles, from my home in Chadron, Neb., to Fort Robinson, and back again.

It was summer. I rode in the heat of the day.

I took two cans of pop in a handlebar bag — no water. No patch kit. No pump.

I remember riding back into Chadron, taking my hands off the handlebars, just enjoying what I had done.

It was exhilarating.

A little bit of this feeling comes back every day when I’m pedaling to work. Corny, maybe, but true.

There is more to riding a bike than riding a bike.

Such memories came back to me while I was reading this post by my friend Laura, and seeing this picture of her with her bike from the days of the banana seat and the sissy bar:

My friend Laura, from the early 1970s

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About the picture atop the page

Yes, that's me, Todd Van Campen. No, I'm not wearing a helmet. Yes, I usually wear one, so please don't scold! Seriously, I endorse wearing a helmet! Pinky swear! In fact, I almost ALWAYS wear one (while riding a bike anyway). (On the other hand, if YOU don't want to wear a helmet, I have no problem with it.) I don't remember what happened on this particular day. Fortunately for all of us it makes for a less-nerdly picture. My exceptionally talented professional photographer friend Charles Bertram took this photo.

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Art for art’s sake

I asked my 6-year-old son, Caleb, an avid bicyclist and artist, to draw a bike for me. I think he did a great job!

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