My first bicycle was an old style Schwinn cruiser with coaster brakes. This bike had a really comfortable banana seat. When my rear tire needed replaced I got a bright orange tire put on the rear. I loved that bike. Unfortunately it was stolen from the Lincoln Square apartments in American Falls one night when I left it parked outside with my cousin's bike. It must have been a sweet ride because the thief never even moved my cousin's bike.
My father took me to get a replacement bike. We went to the old "Gambles" store in American Falls and I got a BMX style bike. I rode the heck out of that bike. This bike was the first time I ever customized a bike. It was well worn and when I was about 8 years old I spray painted the frame flat black and then I removed the sticker on the frame and it revealed a square patch of contrasting color. I .thought it looked really cool. It actually did look a lot better. I then went down to Kings department store with my mother and use my allowance to buy some blue grips for my bike. I was stoked. Diamond Backs were the "cool" BMX bike to have then. I did not have a Diamond Back bike but I did not care. Everyone thought Diamond Back bikes were cool, Everyone except for me. My bike was "my bike". I rode it hard and semi customized it the way I wanted too. Nobody had a bike like mine and too me that made my bike cool. I still feel the same way. My current ride will definitely not be featured on the cover of Mountain Bike action Magazine but I don't care. I customize it the best I can within my financial ability and I ride it hard. "My bike is my bike."
One year on Christmas Eve my dad came over to my house and gave me a 24 speed road bike. I don't recall the brand name but it said Ultegra on the frame. I had now had a 24 speed road bike with Ultegra components. This was when 12 speeds were common and 18 speeds were around a little bit. I thought having 24 speeds was pretty dang cool. Nobody else thought 24 speeds were cool. Everybody seemed to say one of two things. 1. "Why you need that many gears, ya never gonna use 'em all" or 2. ' Boy, 24 speeds, I don't know if it's safe for you to be able to ride that fast". Now there was no hardcore "roadies" in my sphere of influence but I knew that having more speeds does not make you faster, but it does give you more options. I made it a mission to use every gear. After getting very familiar with all of my 24 gears and learning the best gear to use in any given situation I also learned of "crap gears." Having my front cog all the way to the top with my chain and the rear of the chain at the very bottom tooth would "slap" my chain, make it hard to shift, and was pretty much a useless gear. I knew I had gears I would not be able to use. Today I am riding 24 gears and I have one gear I rarely use because of chain slap but the rest get used.
During this period of my life I would ride both my BMX style bike and my 24 speed road bike. I did not have a favorite of the two bikes. My favored bike of the day depended on my planned riding conditions for he day. If I was gong to be riding in the empty field behind my House on the dirt trail I preferred my BMX style bike but if I was going to cruise out to the Marina I preferred my road bike.
I ended up moving from American Falls Idaho to San Diego California and the moving van lost my BMX style bike on the way. My 24 speed road bike stayed in Idaho and my dads home. I was frustrated but I knew I would now get a new bike. I got given a Toy's R Us Special bike. It was nothing special but I did not know better. It had a chain guard, I remember I liked that. I also was given a "Strada" kick scooter that I would push that scooter all over. I use to take off the front tire of my Toy's R Us bike and put on the tiny scooter wheel onto the front of my bicycle. The front of my bike would be extremely low and the rear of my bike was jacked up real high. It was my personal tribute to old muscle cars with large rear wheels and smaller tread on the front. I would ride around the neighborhood like that for hours. All the kids thought it was really neat. I also use to get a kick out of the adults. Most of the adults thought it was a "stock bike" and wondered why they designed it that way. I use to make up stuff and tell them it made the bike faster and most of the adults bought it hook, line and sinker. I came back to Idaho to visit and would ride my 24 speed road bike that was left at my dads house. When I returned to San Diego after my vacation my chain guard scooter tire bike in San Diego was stolen. My blended family was getting ready to move to Lynchburg Virginia and I was told I would get a new bike after we got settled into our new home. I was frustrated because I knew I would get another bike but it was only a few months until Christmas so I would have to wait. I knew I would not get a new bike until Christmas.
Christmas morning 1989 I awoke to my new bicycle. It was a department store Mountain Bike. This was when Mountain Bikes really began to take off in sales. I really liked the bike but I immediatley knew it had some problems. The frame was too small for me, and the components on the bike were awful. I did not want to complain. I said thank you for the bike and I made do with what I had. I cranked the seatbolt and took it as high as I could so my tall height could pedal properly on the undersized frame. My stepbrother made some adjustments on the dÃ©railleurs for me and I was in business. I don't recall ever taking my first mountain bike off road on any trails but I did some amazing rides on it. Lynchburg is known as the "hilly city" and hilly it was. One of my stepbrothers and I would ride about 5 miles to this coffee shop and sit and chat for awhile and then we would ride back. It was quite a chore with my bicycle components being sub par but I had a lot of fun with that bike regardless of the mechanical components. Read Part 2 of Bikes I have Loved.