Cycling is one of the few sports that has as much sentimentality about the gear as it has sentimentality over physical triumph. More often than not, we remember how cool a bike was just as much as we remember the ride and how much fun we had. While the ultimate goal is that the current bike is the favorite of the bunch, everyone has a soft spot for a specific bicycle. For me, one of those bicycles is my 1975 Schwinn Stingray Pixie II kids bike.
Not everyone can say that they still have their first bicycle, but I definitely still do. It’s a blue Schwinn Pixie, replete with fenders, a chain guard, and a banana seat. The Pixie may be heavier than my mountain bike, but as a kid, it was my ticket to freedom.
I’ve racked my brain thinking about when it was first given to me, or even my first ride, but four year olds aren’t always about the details. What I do remember, however, is riding around my with neighbor Adam down the canal paths of Orem, Utah to Stratton’s Fruit Stand to buy candy. The sense of freedom was incredible, and it’s a feeling that I’ve carried with me my entire life.
Fast forward a few years. I was 18 years old, just had my first (of six) back surgeries and about to start my second year of college. Alpine ski racing took up a considerable amount of my time, but when my doctor suggested I take up cycling as a sport that would be easier on my messed up back, I jumped right back into cycling. I decided to buy a blue Pinarello Asolo, my first road bike because I was inspired by my brother-in-law who was a road cyclist. I started riding the Alpine Loop all the time, which to the uninitiated isn’t just the best ride in Utah, it might be the best ride I’ve ever done. The ability to get that far out of town and that far away was liberating, a similar feeling to a younger me going to Stratton’s Fruit Stand.
A few weeks ago, I was riding my OPEN ONE+ mountain bike and I took a bit of a spill and broke my left wrist. Knock on wood, but considering how often I ride my mountain bike, it was a long time coming. While some might be apprehensive to hop back on the bike, I am more than excited to get back to that sense of exploration and fun.
A lot has changed in my life since those days, but the bicycle is a constant. Whether it’s a Pixie or a Pinarello, or whether you’re a 5 or 55 years old, the freedom that the bicycle brings is unforgettable. I don’t remember everything as a kid, but I definitely remember the sensations that having fun on bikes brought me. Ultimately, this is the core of the bicycle: a source of freedom that comes directly from your own efforts, and a feeling that everyone craves.
With that said: get out and ride!