shiny blue

It was my 6th birthday & I had a fever. My parents bought me the bicycle of
my dreams, but alas, due to my illness, my mom forbid me to ride. I was
having none of that. There was my dream bike ~ shiny Blue, 3 speed~ begging
to roll down the street. I convinced my protective parents to let me just
sit on my bike. With a thermometer in my mouth, I mounted the leather seat &
felt the power of the wheels! My mother's protests could be heard as I
zoomed off, thermometer flying. Nothing could stop me. My flu symptoms were
momentarily suspended as I cruised along showing off my new wheels. When I
"landed" back in our front yard, my bike was interned in the garage, & I was
sent back to bed. My virgin ride on shiny Blue was worth the admonitions
from my parents and that moment 60 years ago is forever, happily etched in
my brain.
Thank you for the opportunity to relive a memorable moment!
Nancy Wallior

mom's bike

People neglect the importance and blessing that is transportation. Planes, trains, automobiles- we all take for granted. Yet many people who have dreams- bigger and better dreams- have no way of getting to those dreams. Except for on a bicycle. A few months before my birth, my mother made a choice. To give me the best life that she could. Being single and barely an adult, she struck out to make a life for soon-to-be the both of us. The only problem was that she had no transportation. Her parents were too poor at the time to help afford her a car. But she had two wheels and a dream. Everyday, she rode an old beat-up bike to town looking for a job. When she finally found one, she continued to ride that bike until the day I was born. That bike helped me get to where I am at. 

josh brown -


That's me. The small girl in the middle, with my eleven-year-old girlfriends. The year was 1964, a time when kids were allowed to ride bikes everywhere. That year, the girl on my left and I pedaled to a town twenty miles away.  I rode my new Western Flyer with white wall tires and black and white seat.  I called my mom from a payphone, asking for a ride home because we were tired.  She answered, "Get back on your bike and pedal home. Now!”  Times have changed, but my freewheelin’ adventures stay with me still.     Bev-

the cliff at 13

When I was 13 years old, my family and I spent an entire summer looking at colleges for my older brother Keith. I was young and the concept of college seemed distant and irrelevant to me. I resented all the time I had to spend away from my friends and in the car.  I wined and complained on that trip.  My bad attitude made things difficult for my family.  At 13, I was new to being ateenager and I was acting like a stage-10 brat. 

Fellow cyclers, this is a story about a portion of that trip when I accidentally rode my bike off of a cliff and ultimately changed my perspective on family bonding.

One of our stops along this trip was in Burlington Vermont to check out UVM.  The town of burlington was very cute.  There were lots of shops and restaurants with delicious fresh local food but, of course, I didn’t care. I just wanted to go home.

After leaving a restaurant in the middle of town, my Dad picked up a brochure from the check-out counter.  The brochure had a picture of a happy family riding their bikes on a beautiful sunny day along a mountain.  “Now THAT’S what we should do.”, my dad said looking at me trying to cheer me up.  If only my Dad knew that this family excursion would ultimately lead to me having a near death experience. 

I remember that I was wearing a tank top and denim shorts as we made our way to the bike rental shop. My family and I walked into the shop with our brochure in hand and were completely surprised to see that everyone else around us was wearing extreme biking BMX gear with what looked like motorcycle helmets and fully padded body suits.

My mother immediately said, “Hoonnneyy? I don’t think we’re in the right place.”  My brother was pumped “Motocross, sweet! Can we stay?!”

The shop owner came up to us and said, don’t be alarmed! Yes, we have some motocross paths nearby but we also have some very family friendly trails as well.  He ensured us that we would be fine. 

Right before we are about to leave on our ride, the shop owner gave us one vital piece of advice. He said, “No matter what you do, do not use your breaks.  It recently rained and if you use your breaks, your bike will only skid out of control.”

“This is not for me” my mother responded.  “I’m going to hike down the mountain instead.  Amy, maybe you should come with me.”

Everyone looked at me.  My brother was eager to ride.  I was nervous, but I was also this new teenager who didn't want to be viewed as a child any more.  

I agreed to go.  It was happening.  I was going to ride down a mountain with motocross bikers wearing a tank top and denim shorts.  

The path was rocky to say the least.  The store owner was right about the residual conditions left from the previous day’s rain. The path seemed like it was once a decently smooth biking trail but the previous weather conditions washed away the soil and left mostly mud and basketball sized rocks.  

To give you a better picture of what the biking path looked like, imagine a tall and steep wooded Vermont mountain.  The slope of the mountain was too steep to go straight down so the bike trail zigzagged at times and at others, spiraled around the perimeter of the mountain.  So at times, you’d have the upward slope of the mountain on your left, the path, and then a cliff that fell down the mountain on you're right.  

Everything was going smoothly until two motocross bikers whizzed passed us.  There were two big rocks ahead with only a narrow gap between for bikes to go through.  The more seasoned bikers went right over the rocks and caught about 3 feet of air.  My brother was in front of me and attempted to go over the rocks.  He too caught some air but landed much less gracefully and let out a “hhhuuuhhh” as he hit the ground

I was scared.  The rocks were seconds away and I had to decide there and then how, and if, I was going to ride over them.  At the last second, I chickened out and, without remembering the shop owners words, I clenched my breaks.  At that moment, both me and my bike skid off over the edge of the cliff.

In that moment, I blacked out,  I’m not quite sure how it happened, but I somehow found myself dangling from a tree root, my bike fell into the trees deep below.  I looked up, to see both my father and brother’s heads poking over the edge of the cliff.  As my brother held down my dad’s legs, my father used his arms to pull me up.  Luckily, I was high enough that he could just reach my hands.  

I walked down the rest of the trail as my brother and fathers arms around me.  I remember feeling an over abundance of love and appreciation for my mother when I saw her at the bottom of the mountain.  My whole body felt happy when we finally embraced.  Even though my survival was simply a stroke of luck, I still had an overwhelming sense that my father and brother would always be around to protect me.  

It may sound cheesy but my attitude towards those college trips significantly changed after that experience.  I felt grateful that I had such a loving family and parents who cared about their children’s future.  The long car rides didn’t seem as tedious and boring because I was spending time with the people in my life who meant the most to me.  To conclude, I might not use the saying, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” but rather, “what doesn’t kill you could make you a little more humble and mature.”

Top of the Mountain

Growing up in rural Connecticut as a kid, my childhood was pretty simple. Filled with memories of pond hockey in the winters and swimming in the summers and endless days riding my bicycle around the neighborhood. We always rode our bikes around for transportation back and forth, no helmets, computers or carbon fiber in those days. As I hit my teens when I didn’t want to be home, I’d spend my time at the local bicycle shop learning about girls, bikes and on occasion I saw a few bicycle racers in their wool clothing, wooden shoes with nailed cleats and hairnets. (a leather cycling helmet) stop in the shop. This bicycle shop which still exists today’s more focused on road cycling and there were a few dedicated men that had a knack for riding together on Saturday mornings. As my interest in cycling grew around the age of 13, I finally was able to save enough money for a proper ten-speed bicycle. It was a Motobecane Mirage, one water bottle and a pair of toe clips. I started out riding thru some local towns and quickly discovered my new found freedom suddenly got bigger with all the new gears. The cycling bug had caught me at last and I expanded my solo cycling routes, I occasionally would see another cyclist and offer a simple wave as they turned over the pedals in the other direction. I began to consider the idea of riding with the big guys, as a pre pubescent young boy that was intimidated to see how I stacked up with the the guys I waited until an well seasoned Scottish man named Dave Hulmne asked me if I would join them on a weekend ride.
I was excited and nervous at the same time. I cleaned my bicycle that week and got my cycling shoes and helmet ready for my maiden voyage with the EXPO Wheelmen cycling team. I remember arriving to the parking lot early, eager with anticipation and gradually the guys arrived, some by car with bikes on the roof, others rode over I was in heaven. I listened to the stories and slowly we stared our journey. I wasn’t really sure where were were riding, never thought to ask, but it felt so excited about the maiden voyage to ride in a group and hear the chatter of the guys, clicking of gears and forward motion as the pedals went around and miles ticked by..About halfway thru the ride, we climbed over a local mountain slowly and gradually I rolled up until about halfway I began to feel a fatigue I’ve never felt before. To this day I recall being so physically exhausted and could hardly push the pedals. This is there David Hulmne said in a heavy scotch accent said "come on Hutch, lets keep going" and he placed his hand on my back and pushed me to the top of the mountain. Then over and over again he nursed me home. I never forgot that help and how he was able to assist me, then over the years he helped guide me along in local races and give me his advice on what to do in races.
Then one day in 1988 while training for the Olympic Trials I was in the best cycling shape of my life, 22 years old and 148 pounds at 6’2 I set out on a typical training ride and looking for some mountains I knew just the one as I set off from Central Connecticut to Rhode Island where my parents lived, it was about 65 miles one way. I had a couple of water bottles full of gatorade, a extra tire and a few dollars. This ride would typically take me about three hours and I was flying. I was riding my bicycle in these days almost without effort on the hills and when I came to the climb I was in my big chainring just smashing the pedals with my fullforce. It was about halfway up I began to think about the first time over this hill and as I looked up the road I could see another cyclist. Ahh I had my carrot was just ahead, time to go a little harder and catch him beforethe summit. I began to close the gap on the one lone sole ahead one pedal stroke at a time. As I approached him I could see the rocking motions that this guy was getting tired, had visible signs of fatigue. The closer I got the more familiar he was and as I quickly approached his pedaling style looked vaguely familiar. When I caught him, alas it was my cycling mentor David Hulmne I reached over with my hand after we laughed a bit and pushed him up the to the top of the hill. He and I spoke of the race along the way and I told him that I was grateful for the help nearly a decade before on the very same climb. As we got to the top, we said our goodbyes and we both continued our ride.
After riding hundreds of thousands of miles Cycling is more then a sport for me, its a way of life, a way to connect with others, or sometimes just a way to escape.

Thank you for allowing me to reflect and share this memory.

Michael Hutchinson Cat 1 Masters
5x Masters National Champion
12X Northern California Champion
3rd World Mater TT Championships

BeerCycle through belgium

Hello!  By far, my favorite bicycle experience is my bike/beer cycle through Belgium with my husband and my best friends!  We were both celebrating our 20 wedding anniversaries and thought a bike trip would be the perfect way to celebrate. Indeed, the experience was perfect, from the friendly people we rented our bikes from in Brussels to the food and drink, incredible scenery, history and most memorable are the people we met along the way in small eateries, breweries and family run hotels/homes/bed and breakfasts.  The Belgium bike "Node" system was amazing.  We simply would grab a map and while we enjoyed breakfast simply mapped our daily route using the node system--brilliant!  One of our favorite experiences was simply unplanned happenstance,  as often occurs when you let life happen!  As usual, the day started with a scrumptious breakfast at our lovely B & B Horenbecca Hotel in Horebeke at which we lingered, never seeming to get an early start on the bike trail, we often ended up off the usual Belgium day and missed the lunch period.   We were on our way to Ghent, roughly 38 miles and attempted lunch at several little spots that were already closed--we had again missed the lunch period.  Getting hot with plummeting blood sugars, we pulled over in Gavere at a charming cafe, De Post.  We sat down and ordered, after only a few minutes, we were invited to join 3 gentleman at the next table over.  Little did we know we had joined the Mayor of the town!  We had a fun lunch, learning about local food, the culture, and Mr. Leroy would wave at all the passing cars and people.  My girlfriend and I took a walk around the square and when we returned to the table, the Mayor had ordered another round of beers.  We had a look of shock on our faces as we had spent a couple of hours there very much enjoying ourselves, but knowing that we needed to get back on the road to Ghent.  Well the Mayor and his friends had a good laugh at our expressions and said: "what do you say in America: 1 for the road!"  We couldn't argue with that!  We made it to Ghent!  We hope to enjoy a meal at La bicylette next week as we will be in Carmel 11/19-26.  Jennifer Hayes