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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Adventures on two wheels

Way back when I was a kid, 10 speed bicycles were just coming into common use. It was a big deal to have a bike with “gears.” After struggling up hills with a single speed bike, those low low gears made hill climbing a lot more fun. Going down those mountain roads we’d shift to the highest gear. Sometimes we’d hit speeds of 40 mph. That was pretty darn fast on those old bikes in the days when no one wore a bike helmet.

By the time I was 14, I really wanted a motorcycle. A few of the kids from school had mini-bikes with 5 hp engines. A couple kids even had regular dirt bikes. Pedal bikes were still our main form of transportation. We’d go all over: across town, out into the country, and way out on dirt roads to beaver dams with fishing poles strapped to the bike frame.

I didn’t get an actual motorcycle until the ripe old age of 34. I owned a couple of older KZ 900s. They were pretty fast bikes but the handling took lots of body English on our curvy mountain roads. My lovely wife and I rode our motorcycle all over New England and even to the top of Mt. Washington.

Eventually, I parked the bike. It needed a new wiring harness. Worse yet, it burned gas. By then I’d gotten heavily into vehicles powered by waste vegetable oil. It was cheaper to drive my F-250 pickup than the motorcycle. The truck had the advantage that it could carry a canoe. I toyed with the idea of a veggie powered motorcycle, but there aren’t a lot of diesel motorcycles. None were in my budget.

Now here I am, 54, and back to a pedal bike. How does it feel after being on a motorcycle? Pretty good. Sure, it’s slow. It’s a lot of work sometimes, but I’m at the point in my life where the exercise can only do me good. My life has been pretty much cut free from schedules, so it doesn’t matter how long it takes me to get somewhere.

Having a vehicle that needs no gas, license or registration is a really nice feeling. I still get a thrill riding down those steep hills. (with much better brakes and a helmet this time.) Bike technology has come a long way since the days of the old 10 speeds. There’s a much wider choice so it’s possible to find a bike for what you want to do.

My two wheel adventures have come full circle. I might even take a fishing pole and see if I can find those old beaver dams again.



  1. You could do like the guy I see down here who tows his pedal boat behind his bike. I see him fishing all the time...

    1. He's found a way to go fishing all the time. Pretty smart guy.

  2. Funny how so many things in life seem to go full circle!

    Going fishing sure sounds good to me!

  3. I met a fellow who has a kayak with wheels on it that is towed behind his mtn bike. On the water, he straps the bike to the front of the kayak.

    That would be the most efficient way to cover even long distances in a don't-have-an-automobile scenario.

    We always see the talk about the SHTF scenario, but a SHTF scenario is most likely to be experienced individually rather than collectively.

    You've made me re-visit thoughts of such a setup. One can even put a pack with all the necessities in the kayak. My acquaintance put his equipment and his dog!

    Keep the posts up. I look forward to my daily dose of SixBears!


    1. I've a nice set of portage wheels that would make towing a canoe a real possibility. The wheels and seat on my bike are easily removed without tools, so it would fit into the canoe nicely.

  4. After 20 or so years of not riding I picked it up again but I wanted to keep the enjoyment in it as there is nothing to prove.

    I electrified my old first generation so to speak mountain bike that has over 20K on it. It was a good decision and has enhanced my life. I did 35 yesterday mostly on gravel and much of it uphill (no shit)and worked hard as well. If I did not have this assistance there would have been little enjoyment. I had like 40-45% left.

    Been putting this off but I am going to post on this soon. Just want to add that I paid a bunch as I believe this product has longevity built into it and when I can't get in the saddle anymore the kit can be transferred to a trike and even if I can;t pedal much this will get me to the local grocery store.

    Riding a bike is fun! Always has been. Go for it everybody.

    1. The electric motor thing is very tempting, but not in the budget right now. They do make a big difference on our hills. My son-in-law electrified a mountain bike and it really makes a difference.