So where do we begin? Hmmm. Let’s start from the beginning. How I developed my passion for cycling:
My Obsession with Bikes: The Origins
In 2010 I was a junior at the University of Delaware. I was majoring in Psychology and English. Like every other “cool” kid, I had a house off campus with 3 of my friends. We lived on Cleveland Ave, which was not only filthy, but approximately .8 miles to The Green where most of the classes were held. I would walk to and from class each day. This trip was miserable, especially in the freezing cold and blazing heat. Winter semester of junior year was the last time I voluntarily walked to class.
My roommate Derek had brought his father’s old bike back to our house and started riding everywhere. He converted the old road bike into a fixed gear, duct taped it, and spray painted it green. The thing looked horrendous, but he was obsessed, to a point that was borderline creepy. Initially I was hesitant, but there was a curiosity looming. So I decided to bring my father’s old road bike back to our house that Spring as well. I stripped the gears and converted it into a fixed gear. The bike looked ridiculous and even more so with me on it. Junior year is when my obsession with bikes began. I quickly became the creepy roommate I tried to avoid.
I rode my bike everywhere. I rode to class, to the store, to the bars, and to practice. The bike had become my most prized possession. It was valuable in many ways. Not only could I rely on the bike for transportation, but it became a foundation to many of the friendships I had in college. The house Derek and I lived in quickly became a make shift bike shop. We had cheap tools and spare parts all over the basement and living room. Our friends would come over and have to move tires and dirty bike tubes to sit down, not that anywhere in that house was clean.
Our friends took note of the joy our bicycles were bringing us and wanted to start riding themselves. Everyone picked up an old frame and we converted them to fixed gears. Soon, all of our friends were riding. To this day, bikes have remained a big part of our group’s friendship.
I went through 3 bikes over the next 2 years of college. My father’s was unable to support my greatness and the frame eventually bent, leaving it permanently disabled. I then purchased an old Schwinn from a Delaware state cop on Craigslist. This was a decent bike, but it was far too small for me. Eventually, I received a bike frame that fit my body, which is what I ride today. This bike was provided to me through a friend who traded front lawn space for eggs and bike frames. Essentially, my bike, along with some farm fresh eggs, was traded for lawn space.
This paragraph is a quick side note about the bartering system through which my bike was passed down. My buddy Evan lived on the street above us right on the corner. His house was in between the main campus and a large dormitory complex. Hundreds of students would pass his house everyday. One day a local gentleman who had recently become unemployed approached Evan with a business proposition. He wanted to sell old bike frames off of Evans front lawn. In return, he would give Evan fresh eggs from his chickens and provided him with a few old bike frames. It was an immediate deal. Through this amazing partnership, three of my buddies obtained bikes that they are still riding today.
Take note that all of my friends have bikes that were handed down or traded for lawn space. It is not necessary to have the fanciest or most expensive bike on the market. As long as the bike functions and fits you well, there will be no issues. There is certainly nothing wrong with a nice bike, in fact I would love a nice, new, shiny bike. However, it is not a requirement. Just have fun.