Like most of us, my bike riding days began shortly following exit from the womb.
A wide range of fender less, fat tire hand-me-downs comprised my two wheeler age until my first new bike was purchased. You always remember your first, and mine was a 3 speed Huffy with front hand brakes and a rear coaster stopper.
In those early days a bike was my freedom, plain and simple. Growing up in Minneapolis, the summer season was short, but the sun didn't set until 10pm. Unheard of in this day and age, I was allowed to get on my bike and pedal as far as I could as long as it was in the garage by dark. It is amazing how many miles young legs can log. There was no part of the city that was safe from my adventures, neither downtown or the most remote suburb was left unexplored.
Once a driver's license was in hand, biking took a back seat to cars. Then the Army called which put more distance between my rear and the bike seat. During my service years I became a serious long distance runner, competing in 13 marathons to include the All Service Olympic trials and the Boston Marathon.
As the miles began to take their toll I once again reverted to my bike for an occasional break from the road pounding.
Tom and his trusty LeMond
With a career change so did the opportunity to ride more often and I found myself on an early Trek carbon mix with down tube shifters. This saw me through many years until 2005 when I gave up running all together and landed on a Lemond Zurich which was my ride until this year.
I'm now retired from federal law enforcement and although I live in Florida during the winter don't ride there. Unfortunately, great weather does not beget
The Hansens in FL
Florida has the highest bike pedestrian fatality rate in the country and my county is the worst in the state.
After several close calls I said "no mas", reverted to the spin bike and became a certified instructor. This keeps me in shape for the summer months in Minnesota where I do most of my road biking.
I usually pedal with a group of triathletes during their phase training for the Madison Ironman. They are an understanding bunch, full of praise and motivation, often pointing out, "Hey you're pretty slow for an old guy." A few ventures have taken me away to Zion National Park, Moab, Tucson, New York and Germany.
I'm a rookie to organized group rides and despite living in Virginia for 13 of its 35 year existence, took my first try
(along with 2,000 others) at the 2010 Bike VA event.
Tom and Tom Tom and John
This year I broke in my new, well new to me, Trek Madone at the more intimate WISPRIDE ride. I soon discovered that the world is not flat and neither is southwest Wisconsin.
|Tom and his new TREK|
(not in Wisconsin!)
However, the cheese is sharp, the beer tasty and the people warm and friendly. Not sure where the future will take my riding, but I do have two goals: getting my adult son into the sport and chipping away at the 25 mile climb up Mt. Lemmon in Tucson.
Throughout, I will always take time to savor the gift of cycling...FREEDOM! I hope to meet you along the way.