So far outside the box you can't even see the box from here.
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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.
I live in an area of NH known as the Great North Woods. I'm in my dome-i-cile out in the county with my lovely wife and a varying number of family and friends
-part red neck, part hippie but all country. Experimenting and enjoying the adventure of life.