My New Bike Arrived Yesterday
July 8, 2011
Several times this week I was asked if I still ride my bicycle. It’s a fair question because I don’t write about it as much as I used to. But it’s also a timely question since I’ve been mostly off my bike for the last month.
In the spring of 2005 I bought a Specialized Sequoia Elite from a big bike shop in downtown Chicago. It was the sweetest bike I had ever owned and also the most expensive. Sometime late that summer Josh and I went for a long ride that ended in a wreck for me when the bike ran off the sidewalk, hit the soft turf, and I very nearly tumbled into a road filled with oncoming traffic. The bike shop managed to fix it but told me at the time that it needed a major overhaul, which never happened.
Since then I’ve ridden that bike thousands of miles, part of the time on the Natchez Trace when we lived in the cabin on my brother’s property north of Tupelo. Several times I took it with me to Gulf Shores to ride along the long, flat roads near the beach. Since 2007 I’ve ridden it several thousand miles in the area around our home in Tupelo, mostly to and from the Natchez Trace.
My adult bike riding started fifteen years ago when we bought a second-hand bike for one of the boys when we lived in Oak Park. On a whim I rode it home and was hooked. So I bought a $75 Schwinn from some guy who sold bikes out of his basement. Then I bought a mountain bike from a shop in Berwyn. After that came a succession of bikes, each one a little more upscale than the last. Finally I bought the Specialized bike in 2005. Since 1996 I’ve ridden 27,600 miles on my different bikes.
When my bike broke down twice in the last month, I decided to follow the advice I got from John Sredl 10 years ago: “Ray, when a bike starts breaking down repeatedly, it’s time to get a new one.” I intended to get a Trek this time but no one seemed to have the model and size I wanted. So I went back to Specialized and bought a Secteur Sport Triple. It’s basically the bike I had before, a little cheaper but with some updated components. Today I took it out for a spin and it rides like a dream. Or maybe I should say it rides like my old bike did before the wreck in 2005.
I think the red and black color makes it the jazziest looking bike I’ve ever owned. I don’t know if I’ll ride longer or faster, but I’ll definitely be easier to spot when the cars start whizzing by.
All of that to say that I’m back in business, back on the road, and back riding my bike every day that I’m home.