Sunday, June 19, 2011

My Dad, the Cyclist

Like many people, my Dad was the one who taught me to ride a bike.  I remember him patiently giving me push start after push start down the gradually sloped sidewalk in front of Johnston Junior High across the street from our house in Houston. 

When we moved to the outskirts of a small town in the Ozarks,  my Dad took up road biking.   He had commuted in college, when he lived at home with his widowed mom, about 5 miles from school.   He also nursed a love of sporty cars, but found that a bike was both a peaceful and convenient way to get around.
In the early 80's he did thorough research and bought a Fuji touring frame,  which he rode many miles.  He rode rollers for fitness in front of the TV,  he rode for pleasure in the rolling hills of the Ozarks,  he road to work 7 miles each way,  often adding loops to increase his milage and just for the fun of it.    He did a lot of research again and bought me and my brother matching Trek 420 bikes,  complete with granny gears and biopace chainrings and helped me outfit mine with a blackburn rack and kickstand so that I could ride it to school and later to work.  
He showed me how to remove the front wheel and properly lock a bike with a U lock,  how to properly wash a bike,  paraffin a chain, and  change a tire on the side of the road.  

More importantly than any specific bike skill he taught me,  he got on his bike every day and rode to work, rain, shine, cold.  Making time for a ride on the weekend was and remains a special treat for him in the middle of all the other tasks he takes on himself. (let's just say I learned a lot about home maintenance from him too).

For a while now he's been riding a recumbent.  He just found it more comfortable for long rides than the Fuji.  He's geared it super low, and even did the Triple Bypass in in Colorado, as well as an MS 150 we did together in Texas.  He's retired now, and looking into maybe getting another bike- either a 'bent trike, or maybe a semi-recumbent with bigger wheels.

Thanks Dad,  and wishing you many happy rides ahead.


  1. Beautiful story...Amazing Dad! TFS!

  2. Looking at the two photos again, I suspect there's an interesting story about how both of those photos were taken the same day...

  3. SteveA They are actually taken on the same day, at an MS-150 ride from Houston to Austin. It was pouring rain, and because my dad actually had to re-assemble the 'bent from its broken down traveling state we were practically the last people to start. We kept getting to checkpoints right before they closed, and we kept being passed by flatbed trucks loaded with portapotties- they were taking them from the early stops to be set up at future stops. There was this older asian gentleman on a unironic 70's 10 speed, in chinos and deck shoes, carrying all his things in a backpack, and wearing a trash bag as a poncho who was our companion for the first half of that miserable day. At lunch, probably 30% of the people in newly purchased "cycling" clothes on newly purchased hybrid bikes bailed in the face of the cold rain, but I saw the asian guy that afternoon- he knew about persistence. And finally the sun came out and it was a beautiful ride for the rest of the day!

  4. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post. I should post one about my dad, one of these days!

    Peace :)