When I settled in Sierra Vista after college, I resumed bicyling—in my business clothes—to my first job as a technical writer, less than two miles away. Of that commute, I recall seeing mesmerizing color combinations created by lights reflecting from anodized aluminum slats in chain-link fences. I never did figure out where that turquoise color came from.
Next, from the LBS came a Schwinn Voyageur. I commuted to work many years on the Voyageur, and took at least one wonderful tour: a perimeter ride of the Gila Wilderness. Despite the fact that these Voyageurs enjoy a loyal following due to their intricate fittings, the Voyageur just never felt "right," so when one of the doyennes of Tucson's Greater Arizona Bicycling Association advertised to sell her Miyata 1000LT tourer, I was right on that. A true touring machine with strong 36-spoke triple-cross wheels, relaxed geometry, bar-end shifters, nice triple chainring, long wheelbase, and lots of braze-ons. The handling of the bicycle improved with weight, especially with front panniers.
Sometime during this, I also completed two El Tour de Tucson 109-milers in high style, along with 5,000 other cycling enthusiasts, on the go-fast Schwinn Super Sport road bike, as well as a few many centuries and double metric centuries.
I also owned a mountain bike, but my bicycle-handling skills were just a few degrees north of my intrepidness: not my cup of tea, although I loved riding the dirt roads in southern Arizona's San Rafael Valley.
After seven years of commuting to and working in the same place, I put all my worldly goods in storage, found a temporary foster home for my lovely cat, and flew to San Diego with my Miyata and panniers, bicycling east to the Atlantic Ocean: seeing America at 12 miles per hour, solo and self-contained.
For years at Texas A&M University, I commuted to work on the Miyata with panniers or my go-fast Demarais of the gorgeous pink Imron paint job.
Still I'm a bicycle commuter, a short 2.25-mile ride each way to Texas A&M University, but I enjoy even this short-and-not-scenic commute. I park my Downtube folding bike in the bike rack and change upstairs. After more than two decades, this packing/commuting/refreshing/changing thing is routine and second nature.
|My Downtube folding bicycle: love it!|
On September 3, I'm looking forward to participating in Courteous Mass, a takeoff on the urban Critical Mass bicycle demonstrations to raise awareness of the impact of cycling. Ifound a small note about the event taped to my handlebars. The group will meet behind a popular college watering hole and ride en masse the 4 miles to downtown Bryan's First Friday event. I'm so excited.