I started cycling (aside from the bike riding as a child that most kids do) when I went to college, at U. C. Berkeley There, my roommate, Norman K. Jacobs (Hi, Norm), encouraged me to go out riding with him. He had just gotten his new bike, and wanted to show me what it was like. So, I got my old 10-speed from my mother's house and we trotted off.
Of course, it didn't take me long to get hooked -- or else I would not be writing this. Before long I had to replace the tank I had from childhood, and was able to find a good bike that fit me on consignment at Spence Wolfe's Cupertino Bike Shop. I still have that bike, a Frejus road bike probably built in 1969 or 1970. I bought it in 1970, and it was almost new.
Before long I was racing. I was never really dedicated enough to win; the best I did was a couple 3rd or 4th place finishes in "Class B" road races, and one first place on the track, in a Class B miss-and-out. For those in the know, back before the USCF, when the ABL of A ran amateur racing in the US, senior men raced in either Class A or Class B rather than the several categories there are now. Here is a photo of me in the winning breakaway from one of those races. As usual, I (second from left) am drafting on someone's wheel. Looks like I picked a big guy to draft behind, as usual. This was a race around Martinez, California, probably in 1972. I remember I won a new derailleur in it. Still have it, still brand new. Norm took the picture. I was a pretty fair hill climber, but I alsways sucked at sprints.
What I liked most about cycling was being able to explore country roads, with time to think, and simultaneously get some exercise while sitting down.
But, sigh, as I got older it became harder to keep the interest up, especially after moving to Texas, which was alternately too hot, or raining, and was always too flat. But I kept my bikes, and occasionally rode a little. Then came the houses, kids, and all those excuses.
It wasn't until 1998 that I was able to ride enough to get back into good enough shape to make it enjoyable. I owe that to two things: One, the arrival at Lehigh of my friend Mark Kellum, who rode with me, and the insistance of my doctor that I needed more exercise. She had told me to get a stress test, and I was genuinely worried that I would not do well. That in itself convinced me I had to do something. Now, I don't think I have to worry about the stress test.
In the Spring of 1999, in response to a call from the College to find people to offer freshman seminars, I decided to combine my newly re-discovered enthusiasm with cycling with that request, and offer
Though there were only 4 students in the class, they were enthusiastic. We explored many of the back roads South and East of Lehigh. Biggest thing we found out was that these roads are hilly. The biggest obstacle to riding here is getting over South Mountain, since you have to take my South Mountain hillclimb, which is 2 miles of solid climbing. We did find a way to get around that, but it takes you out of the way some.
Had it been during racing season we would have gone to some local races, but only were able to find one, a club race at the Valley Preferred Velodrome.