My “obsession” with bikes and cycling probably started when I was in high school. I had this old clunky 10 speed that my parents gave to me for my 11th birthday. I had that bike for a very long time! Anyway, at that time my obsession did not include general maintenance, just putting air in the tires every now and then and maybe checking to make sure the brakes worked. All I cared about was going for a ride which usually would be after I finished the dinner dishes and if the clean up was quick and easy and it wasn’t too late I would head out on my bike for a big loop. It’s funny to think about it now, but the big loop then was a five to seven mile route that went to Fern Prairie and then back around on Everett Road to Lacamas Lake and back to my house. I guess as a teenager, that IS a big loop.
When I think back, I would have to say that my most favorite memory happened during the summer that I spent with my cousins at their house. Each morning I would be dropped off at their house by a parental unit and then spend all day with them until the other parental unit came to pick me up. I had my bike at their house so we could go for rides on the days that were especially dull.
Our rides back then consisted of riding around Camas, the schools and the neighborhood - nothing terribly adventurous just getting out of the house. This one particular day Francois and I rode to what was formerly JD Zellerbach Middle School and were racing around the buildings (me on my 10 speed, he on one of my parents 3 speed bikes) and we decided to around the 8th grade building, in opposite directions, at a speed that we agreed would be less than race pace…something supposedly leisurely.
Yeah, so neither of us did…I should have known! Who knows how long it took but we rounded the corner at the far side of the building and crashed into each other. I don’t remember if we went down or not, probably so, but I do remember being VERY concerned about my bike. Never mind the fact that we just crashed into each other and one of us may have had some sort of minor injury! Nope, was my bike okay?! I think he ended up with a bent wheel, but he could still ride it. My concern directed toward my bike was particularly disturbing to him I think. It is a rather amusing memory – I have been reminded of that a couple of times since then.
So, Francois, next time I suggest we ride around a building at a leisurely pace, smack me upside the head and say, “Don’t you remember the last time we did that? You might mess up your bike!”