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  1. #1
    gazing from the shadows
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    Beginners: what motivated you to start cycling?

    What's your story on coming to cycling? What made you try it, what made you decide to keep going for a few months (or however long you have been cycling)?

    Experienced riders are welcome to participate, but if you count your time pedaling in decades, it would be nice if you made that clear from the start.
    .
    Stout beers under trees, please.

  2. #2
    gazing from the shadows
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    I've been doing this a few decades.

    I rode bikes as a kid, but despite knowing a little about pro racing, I was not a cyclist.

    In college, my girlfriend at the time bought a bike. She then bought me a bike so we could ride together. It was a motobecane (a bit over $400 in today's money, less than $200 then). We rode together for a bit, but her idea of riding together was side by side, slowly. On a bike path. Meaning I had to keep moving out of the way of other riders.

    She got mad when her fantasy did not match reality. Same thing happened with roller blades, btw. I figured out the pattern soon thereafter and we parted ways.

    I learned I liked riding to go places. And speed. Eventually I rode lots of places including downtown at rush hour, or 3-4 hours to a lake and back.

    It was fun, it was alone time, and it was very meditative. Or thrilling (traffic you know). I was hooked.

    After college, in grad school, I sold my motorcycle and bought two MTBs for me and my significant other. (I had given the old motobecane to a friend as parts donor for his). We rode trail 3 times a week for a year. And ever since. Picked up a couple road bikes a few years later. And have been riding those together ever since.

    Real rides, not some fantasy romance bike rides.
    .
    Stout beers under trees, please.

  3. #3
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    Cardiovascular issues and a stressful career initially forced my hand. I was actually initially training to compete in a triathlon. I started running regularly and hired a swim coach, but wasn't really enjoying either to be honest. When I finally got around to buying a bike and started riding, I fell in love again. It was as much fun as it was when I was a kid. Those same things are what keep me coming back as well.

    Oh and I dropped the running and swimming like a bad habit once I started riding. I came back to trail running occasionally later though. I like being in the woods and that gets me there.
    Every climb has its end, for verily with difficulty there is relief...

  4. #4
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    I had a nice road bike (Velosolex?) as a kid and literally hung it up in high school. In those days you got a moped, and eventually your drivers license.

    Fast forward many years to 2013 when I took a bicycle tour of San Francisco and Sausalito and realized what I was missing. I use to live on possibly the most popular bicycle route in the country and previously thought roadies were pests. Now I is one.

    I commute year-round and also do a 30-mile loop on the weekend. As a long-time gym rat I've given up indoor aerobic exercise in favor of cycling. I can't come close to matching the fitness I get from cycling in a gym.
    It's Mueller Time

  5. #5
    Devoid of all flim-flam
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    I was an undergrad at UC Santa Barbara, around 1970. Like most everybody else, I had a klunker (a one speed, balloon tired woman's bike) to make my way around campus. Then my buddy showed up. He'd dropped out of college and was working at a pro bicycle shop. One ride on his Gitane Simplex-geared Reynolds 531 Tour de France and I was hooked. Been riding ever since.
    Mapie is a conventional looking former Hollywood bon viveur, now leading a quiet life in a house made of wood by an isolated beach. He has cultivated a taste for culture, and is a celebrated raconteur amongst his local associates, who are artists, actors, and other leftfield/eccentric types. I imagine he has a telescope, and an unusual sculpture outside his front door. He is also a beach comber. The Rydster.

  6. #6
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    i had a bike and a set of golf clubs since i was 7 years old. they both offered me an individual sport outside team sports. finding these activities i could do on my own has proven to be extremely important. in the very least, they kept me healthy and fit.

    at a certain point as an adult, golf became too expensive. and i found that rebuilding vintage lightweights offered a reward that i had never known before. it really helped i moved to a pacific northwest climate conducive to cycling with infrastructure that promotes the sport.
    Yossarian: don't worry. nothing's going to happen to you that won't happen to the rest of us.

  7. #7
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    had a bike of some sort since I was 5 (that would be 1957).

    used to ride to grade school on a tank (a Murray that prolly weighed 40 lbs). had a banana seat thing in jr high, a cheapo Australian 10-spd in college, and once I graduated, bought a 'nice' Motobecane Grand Touring.

    quickly decided that 'touring' wasn't my thing and have gone thru a progression of 'race' bikes over the decades.

    currently working on my first 10K miles in a year.
    Ancient Astronaut theorists say, 'YES!'

  8. #8
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    I rode all over town on a BMX back when I was young. Got pretty good at freestyle and some ramp stuff in my teens. Once I got my driver's license I pretty much gave it up other than "showing off" to my younger brothers friends.

    I'm 49 now and over the course of my life I've always played around on a BMX when I got the opportunity but that was the extent of it.

    About a yearand a half ago my kids needed new bikes. We did the Wal-Mart thing.. I know, I know.
    I was talking to a coworker and mentioned I would like to get a mountain bike to ride around with the kids. He had one he just got from Amazon and decided it wasn't for him, so I traded him a tent for it.

    At the same time had a Facebook friend, who I knew through car racing but had never actually met, that was into mountain biking so we hooked up for a ride on the local trails. I was hooked instantly and riding a bike for me was still 2nd nature. I realized immediately that I needed a real bike and not this Amazon junk. I got a decent mountain bike and quickly surpassed him in terms of ability, speed and stamina.
    So one year after getting back on a bike I started racing MTB and while no where near the podium I held my own. I got a road bike a couple months ago to help train for MTB and now I'm hooked on the road.. While not a race, I finished 17th out of 55 in my first 100k last weekend and doing my first century next weekend.

    Cycling for me (road or mtb) is relaxing yet and challenging. I thrive on competition but as much competing against myself as others. To me there is nothing more satisfying than pushing past what you thought were your limits.
    Last edited by Woodrow; 09-22-2017 at 03:35 PM.

  9. #9
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    My parents were too poor and there were too many family issues for me to expect them to drive me anywhere when I was a kid.

    They bought me my first 10 speed for my 14th birthday (1974) and that was my transportation. And as a kid with little money, I didn't want to be slave to a car, so I rode everywhere, which didn't help with girls and high school .

  10. #10
    All I wanted was a Pepsi!
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    Watching Lance win on Luz Ardiden in 2003 sealed my shift away from sometime-mtb to full time roadie.
    "If you have the guts to be yourself, other people'll pay your price." - Rabbit Angstrom

  11. #11
    hfc
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    Couple of friends in college in the 80's were serious road racers. I didn't really get into that, couldn't afford a bike, but when they got mountain bikes (Specialized Rockhopper - no suspension! ) we would go out to the woods and take turns riding a loop. I ended up getting my own mtb, GT Tequesta in 1988-89. I had cheap road bikes but considered myself a mountain biker and riding the road bike was just another's fitness thing to do along with running, hiking, basketball etc.

    About 10-12 years later, a pretty bad mtb crash had me thinking more of road riding and I upgraded my sad Trek 1000 to a well used Colnago C40. Not long after that I moved and had the good fortune to live amongst an active friendly cycling community with a lot of friendly group rides and welcoming racers. I few years later I moved and my first couple of attempts at riding with the racer guys didn't go well as they were kind of dooshy.

    So now I don't live in a large cycling community now, so mostly ride by myself, occasionally with one or two friends. Like Blackfrancois I developed an interest in vintage racers and I now have a stable of 15 or 16 bikes to pick from; there is always one that makes me really want to get out and ride, even if the legs don't quite feel up to it.

  12. #12
    All I wanted was a Pepsi!
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    Quote Originally Posted by hfc View Post
    ...Not long after that I moved and had the good fortune to live amongst an active friendly cycling community with a lot of friendly group rides and welcoming racers. I few years later I moved and my first couple of attempts at riding with the racer guys didn't go well as they were kind of dooshy.
    Yeah, we had it pretty good for awhile. Where I am now there's a small road scene but the group mirrors the community at large in that it's pretty cliquey as if we're all still in high school. I ride almost exclusively alone now.
    "If you have the guts to be yourself, other people'll pay your price." - Rabbit Angstrom

  13. #13
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    Been cycling for decades, started Mountain Biking in South Africa, added road riding about 7 years ago.

    What got me started.. well as a kid I was one of those who would get interested, try something, and lose interest very quickly (much to my mothers displeasure because equipment is not cheap).. Cycling is the only thing that I stuck with.

    I picked up road riding because after being taught sustainable trail riding years ago (and spending many years worth of winters not riding at all), I decided road was a good addition. Should be noted that when I was MTBing in SA, there was no issue with riding muddy trails (late 80s early 90s)

  14. #14
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    As a kid, I had several hand-me-downs bikes but my favorite was a well-used paperboy special. I rode that bike all through the desert, did a lot of exploring, rode it to school and passed it on to my younger brother as I entered high school. That bike was bulletproof. In the desert we bought thorn proof tubes and would line the tires with the old tubes for extra protection against the cactus and goat heads. Anywho,, I forgot about bikes until mid-40ís and started riding mountain bikes to keep in shape.. Around 60-ish I started riding on the road and progressively transitioned to a true road bike. Today I consistently try to be a little better rider and a little more knowledgeable about this sport. I still love to ride!!It is amazing what a short 20 miles will do for my head. IMHO,, the bike is still one of manís greatest inventions.

  15. #15
    BCP
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    Always rode a bike when I was a kid; it was by far one of my favorite activities. Like many, it was a distant memory upon getting a drivers license and a car. Fast forward fifteen or so years, married, picked up a couple of cheap mountain bikes for riding together. We ended up riding them a few times and then parked them in the garage to collect dust.

    A few years later, we divorce, and the days our daughter spends with her mother are pretty rough. One random August day in 2011, I decided to clean up the old mountain bike and take it for a ride. It ended up being a very enjoyable, therapeutic, 11 mile road ride. After doing that ride and occasionally extending the distance for the remainder of the month, started researching road bikes; the mountain bike was too heavy and not really suited to the road. Ended up visiting my LBS, and realized that I knew several of the employees. Tried out a bunch of bikes and settled on an aluminum 2012 Trek 2.1. Rode it stock for a while, then added carbon bars and seat post, swapped the saddle and wheelset too, then continued to enjoy many miles -- including several solo centuries, and a few 120+ milers.

    Decided one random Sunday to go for a run, and eventually added running to the cycling. That evolved into more running and less cycling until I reached the point of all running and regularly cleaning the bike to keep the dust from getting too thick. Ended up moving into a smaller place and the bike still just sat unused, so I decided to sell it in 2015. Life pretty much killed any motivation I had for running, and logged very few miles in 2016 and early 2017. Sometime around June 2017 I really got the bug to start riding again and started looking for a nice used bike -- really hoped to see my old bike out there for sale somewhere, honestly. Ended up running across a nice (IMO) Madone for sale locally; went to look at it and could tell the owner was not only an avid cyclist but cared for and maintained his fleet of bikes very well. Ended up buying the Madone and have enjoyed riding and modifying it ever since.

    Kind of funny that when I lived in southern Md, I'd drive up to northern Va for group rides, but now that I live in northern Va, I have yet to rejoin the group rides and drive down to southern Md to ride on the endless back roads and get away from the crowded MUTs and traffic jammed roads.

  16. #16
    Road Warrior
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oxtox View Post
    currently working on my first 10K miles in a year.
    Wow,, that's impressive!! A little Tip of the Hat!!!!

  17. #17
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    My journey started out of shame.

    When I was a kid I rode to friends' houses but that's less than a mile and I'd mix it with walking and rollerblading. Biking was never really a thing for me. Couple that with asthma and I had a perpetual excuse to be lazy and play video games. But biking was a big thing for my dad. He rode to work nearly every day and he did a substantial amount of errands (groceries, bank, etc.) with a backpack and multiple trips. He rode all the time and all over town for functional reasons, but never for fun.

    Then I hit high school and drivers license and college and marriage and kids and career. Even more excuses to spurn exercise. But starting in 2014 a friend from church wanted to get in better shape and had a bike and wanted to have a companion.

    Here's where the shame comes in. I had a Trek hybrid I bought a couple of years previously because I should be able to ride a bike to work like my father and do minor errands on it like my father. But I almost never rode the thing. I accepted the invitation to ride with my friend so I didn't feel like I wasted my money on a bike and to prove to myself that I could do the things my father regularly did.

    After the first ride of about 10 miles it felt like I was struck by lightning. I loved it! I loved that I was far away from my home entirely under my own power and it didn't take a ridiculous amount of time. I loved that I was tired but not wiped out. I loved that I had something to do with someone else but I could do it entirely on my own as well.

    Later that year I got a bonus from work for about $1k. I instantly turned that into an alloy Cannondale Synapse. In 2015 I started commuting to work (~9.5 mi one way) 2 days a week when the weather was good. In 2016 my car died and I started commuting nearly all the time. I now have nearly 7k miles total and my times going to/from work have been generally trending faster. I feel strong and I generally feel happier. I'm very glad for that ounce of shame that pushed me to answer a friend's request.

  18. #18
    hfc
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    Quote Originally Posted by lemonlime View Post
    Yeah, we had it pretty good for awhile. Where I am now there's a small road scene but the group mirrors the community at large in that it's pretty cliquey as if we're all still in high school. I ride almost exclusively alone now.
    How do you know you weren't one of the dooshy ones?


    😏

  19. #19
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    deleted- disruptive to thread topic. Sorry guys!
    Last edited by TDFbound; 10-11-2017 at 05:48 PM. Reason: unwanted emoji and terrible typing skills

  20. #20
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    Cycling on and off since 2005. In 2008 I was diagnosed with Diabetes and weighed around 260-270. I did ok for a couple of years managing it, but finally realized I needed consistent exercise if I was going to live. I detest every other form of exercise and knew I loved the feeling of riding. Road biking has been my answer. I love every minute of it and my weight and A1C are both significantly better.

    Diabetes was the start of the motivation, but it is now an added benefit. Nothing like a ride!

  21. #21
    Cycle Boy
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    I started cycling in 2009...It's been 8 years of on an off riding, buying new equipment, selling them and then buying new stuff again - the driving force has always been to stop bad habits and be very healthy. I'm getting older and at 43 feeling fit and strong just plain feels amazing. I'm very active and do a lot of OLY lifting, ex-crossfitter and I mountainbike too every week. Cycling also just makes me happy - that whole thing about "working out creates endorphins...", ummmmm, YEAH it really does work and my moods are never better, as is my focus at work. This, combined with a no alcohol diet is amazing I'm not as hardcore as some of the riders out there but I make sure I clock at least 100 miles a week
    "It never gets easier, you just get faster" - Greg Lemond

  22. #22
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    As a kid I rode bikes all over then came a car and I dropped ridding all together
    Jump forward 20 years and to a job that had long hours and I started to really pack on the weight. Bought a bike for some exercise and found I really like the freedom from the rat race. Moved to another state and fell out with riding again. The weight came back and brought some wealth issues. Was diagnosed with diabetes and family history of heart disease, I pulled the old bike out and started to ride again. Found a new sense of life and freedom that cycling has given me. Just wish I could find some fellow cyclist to ride with but my work schedule precludes me from having regular hours that I can ride

  23. #23
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    I had a buffet of vague physical and mental maladies: fatigue, insomnia, depression, anxiety. I went to the doc, and he prescribed Prilosec. I went to the shrink, and she prescribed chitchat and medication. I got laid off, and my car got repo'ed. (This is the short version of the story with lots of omissions.)

    The bike was the solution to all the above, providing exercise, therapy, transportation, a damn fine hobby, a good reason to spend money and buy blingy things, and an outlet for my need to tinker and fettle (I'm an ex-auto mechanic/current machinist).

    That was two years ago, and though I could afford one now, I still don't own a car.

  24. #24
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    Hey all, I started mountain biking at 16, never competitively and continued until my early 20's, took a about a 4 year lay off after the birth of our first child, got fat and sassy, then realized I hated my life. Wife and I got fit again and after moving to another province and making significant changes in our lifestyle choices. I got my trusty MTB out of the basement, made a few upgrades and jumped on the saddle again. Flash forward a few more months (this past summer) our second child came along and we relocated to another province again (my career moves us around Canada lots). Road cycling is huge where I live now, so I decided I should try both. I picked up a 2008ish Norco CRD Four for cheap, made some repairs/maintenance upgrades and started out road biking. Have been bouncing back and forth between MTB and Roadie all summer and I love it. MTB will always be my first cycling love, but Road riding is quickly stealing a spot in my heart.

    Cheers All

  25. #25
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    I started riding to rehab from knee surgery. Then I did a group ride a month or so later and dropped everyone, so I started to race.

    Now that's why I ride.

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