Wednesday, September 02, 2009

How do you use your bicycle?

Hi- I'm Brandon, One Less Car's resident web guy, part-time product tester & review writer, button presser, and on rare occasions when I'm in the great city of Chicago at OLC's HQ I help get orders sorted, packed, & ready to go to the post office...I've even printed a couple of orders here & there!

The first bike I fell in love with was a used, blue Schwinn Stingray in near mint condition my grandma got me at the age of four or five. It will be 30 years ago next June that I got that Schwinn, and there's been a whole slew of bikes in between, but I've kept on riding and haven't looked back since.

What ever happened to that first bike beats the hell out of me. For some reason, sometimes bikes just seem to come & go...I think my dad sold that one. Some of them I rode into the ground- mainly the Huffys! Others were sold to upgrade, and there's always the one that got ripped off- my hot pink, GT Pro Performer...that bike was hot. I still miss that bike. Truth be told, I would've sold it by now to upgrade, even though now I wish I had it back.

I remember the bikes I've had better than the automobiles that I've had- my memory sure isn't what it used to be, and while I can recall either bicycle or auto fairly easily (and there's been several of both!), it's the bikes that have the best memories for the most part.

Primarily I use bicycles for pleasure. I use them to clear my head, to feel good, and to get rad when i can! I use them to get from point A to point B, usually making my own points in between, seeing things I'd miss if I were traveling in an automobile. If something in the distance catches my eye, I usually ride there and check it out- guaranteed to if I'm out riding alone- which is usually the case due to my current residence...but that's all good. riding solo offers a lot of solitude- something that's hard to come by in times like these! But when it comes down to it, there's nothing like a ride with a good friend or two...or ten! And why stop there?

I've also used a bike to tour with too- you might not go as far as you wanted- or maybe you will! But I bet you'll have more fun than if you were speeding along in a car- anyone can ride a bike 50-60 miles a day...guaranteed. Seriously- if I can do it, you can do it!

If I didn't work from home, I'd ride my bike to work. I used to ride my bike to work when I could before I started to work from home. Some days I'll go for a ride just to say I rode to work today, even though I'm just coming work! And I feel lucky- because part of my "work" is being a part of One Less Car.

I live in a land full of long, steep inclines, surrounded by woods everywhere...and in those woods are trails. Sometimes there isn't a trail and I have to blaze my own...climbing over fallen trees of yesteryear, skidding through the base layer of a few years worth of fallen leaves, slowly getting over rocks & boulders in my path.

I also live in a land full of lakes. Lake Michigan is a couple miles downhill and a small, crystal clear lake (Crystal Lake) is a little less than a mile downhill the other way...did I mention I kinda live on a hilltop of sorts? Home is ALWAYS uphill!!!

So I live in Michigan...and we get all four seasons in full effect! Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter- we get it all. Sunshine, rain, winds, hail, snow, and everything in between...and I ride through it all! Fenders are a gift from the gods!!!

Then there's the rails to trails program where abandoned rail lines have been turned into bicycle trails! While these trails are usually paved or aggregate, they also have a ton of really cool, often wooden bridges! Being a train lover my mind sometimes turns to train mode, and I magically turn into an old Ann Arbor steam locomotive- my bell turning into the loco's whistle screaming into the air.

Living where I do with all of it's obstacles, you can imagine that I have a couple different bikes that I primarily use- if I'm just cruising around town, i love riding my Traitor PBR Ringleader- fixed (which also happens to be the first brand new bike that I've had since before my teens!). If I'm in the woods, it's on my 10+ year old Specialized (that's seen it's better days...) that I dropped down to 7 speeds and although it's old, I can still get aggro on it!

The Specialized is getting close to retirement- a new bike to ride in the woods sounds like it's definitely in order! I'm also looking for a good road bike to fly around these ungodly hills up here that I could also use for long distance touring (or either/or/both...I've come to find that you can never have too many bikes!!! (Here that company reps reading!?)

Recently I acquired a few vintage bikes that I want to restore- a couple Bianchi folders and a Stingray rip-off, as well as a more recent bmx bike that I'm looking forward to building a dirt jump or two on the farm and getting rad on soon as I get some brakes for it!

That about sums it up for me- for now anyways!

Who are you, and how do you ride your bike?

-Reviews will be up tomorrow- ran outta sunshine for pics. ya gotta have good pics. reviews just aren't as fun without the pics...

Thanks for reading, and we'll see you tomorrow!


danerectal said...

Living in Fargo, ND; one can ride a bike anywhere. The city has some serious sprawl, but that results in there being a lot to see. I had been weaning myself off the car when spring hit, and I had been meaning to ride more bicycle. At first, my bargain with myself was to ride at least 3 days per week. 3 turned to 5; 5 turned to 7. Now I'm proud to say that I can go weeks without a car. It's now a luxury reserved for long trips home. My favorite luxury is taking the long way to work, shopping runs, or social calls. Being on a bike eclipses the prospect of going to a soul-sucking job day in, day out. It's meditation, exercise, recreation, and savings all in one beautiful package of freedom.

pamela said...

I live in Charlotte, NC. I'm using my bike to commute to work 1 or 2 days a week. The rest of the days I need to pick up my children from school. Ideally I'll get them to ride to school too but I haven't worked that out yet. There are no bike racks at school. I've been riding a little over 2 years over which time I rode 2000 miles (7000 miles on my car a year). Now I'm trying to ride everywhere except the grocery store and farmer's market - once a week trips since they are high volume trips. I ride to work and do the bird bath in the bathroom. No showers around. It gets hot in Charlotte, NC. The funnest part of my day is the bike commute. I love to ride my Electra Townie 21. It's a comfy and fun ride.