Hand-me-down Schwinn

February 20th, 2017 by / In Experience


When I began my cycling journey it was on a hand-me-down Schwinn convertible my sister had outgrown, and casually discarded in our barn. Something drew me to it, and the promise of greater mobility and freedom it offered. I taught myself by trial and error, no training wheels, and no parent pushing from behind, and soon discovered that the scrapes and bruises were well worth the cost.
As I grew up my bike afforded a way to get to school someway other than the bus, an option to asking my parents for transportation to friends and adventures. While at college I was introduced to another dimension of cycling, one with it’s own language, culture, and fashions, and all of it held allure.


I soon found myself learning about the world of racing, and when an American finally had a shot at the grail, Le Tour De France, we all were introduced to the majesty and the magic of the Euro scene. Greg LeMond got us all to see just how incredible the pageant could be, and oh man, those ROADS they all used!! The tiny little ribbons over impossible passes, the struggles they all faced in the Alps and the Pyrenees. The sinuous routes through the Massif Central, and the beauty of the the sunflower and lavender fields.

I never aspired to be a pro, but I raced on weekends with my friends, and I dove headlong into the world and work of bikes. I found myself working in, then owning a bike shop, and it was “home”.  Thirty three years later, and I find myself still here, still, as my father would say “playing with bikes” and loving it all. It is my yoga, my meditation if you will, and it has brought me great satisfaction and reward in my life.


I’ve been a shop rat, a “sales associate” a certified mechanic, a store owner, an owner of a manufacturing company, a wheel builder, an advocate, a race organizer, and many other things in this weird endeavor. The one thing that has stayed constant is my love of motion, of freedom, of work rewarded by distance covered. The thing that has been the big prize are the connections made along the journey. The people and the places are what have stayed with me through the years. Cycling the Gavia, or the Tourmalet create impressions and memories that are irreplaceable. Sharing a drink and talking about it over a great meal cements those memories into permanence in your soul.


How is all this relevant? Well, it’s a fair question to ask for sure, and the answer to me is that life is all about doing the work, and staying open to adventures. This latest adventure has come about very organically, growing out of friendships and experiences coming together to create something of quality and substance. If things go “well” this round of pedaling will bring to the world a product which will provide the same joy to others that I have enjoyed for over 30 years. A vehicle to explore and expand the world we all live in.


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