Throughout my college years (1989-1996), my main mode of transportation was by bike. In the early 90's, I had a standard Huffy 10-speed bike, the kind where you sit leaning way forward and have ridiculously skinny wheels. It got uncomfortable on long trips, but was much faster than walking. The seat was also small and didn't offer much support; this could be why I'm unable to father children.
Tired of getting my ass tore up (that's what she said), I went to Kolter's Bike Shop one afternoon and found an incredibly soft gel seat that was much bigger than the one I had for a mere $15. I purchased the thing of beauty and picked it up the next day (Mr. Kolter needed time to install it). The pleasure I felt on riding the bike home was incredible, like going from using the toilet paper that is furnished in Wal-Mart bathrooms to the softest and thickest shit you can dream of.
With the new seat, biking became more than just a way to get from here to there, it was a joy unto itself. When the time came to purchase a new ride, I decided that a mountain bike might be in order. The wheels were much thicker, they didn't have the ridiculously curved handles that 10-speeds do, and a water bottle was provided for those really hot days. It was also important that I purchased a bike that had a cool name.
As a child, I had a orange banana-seated bike called SkyHawk. I loved that thing. I once outrode a bully (Danny Lehnertz) who was trying to get me; I felt like Han Solo in the Millenium Falcon shaking the Imperials.
I wound up purchasing a green and black bike called Mojave Gulch. I took frequent out-of-town trips on it. I liked to head over the bridge into Wisconsin.
One time, I rode more than 12 miles into Trempealeau, a river town on the Wisconsin side. Instead of taking time to enjoy the city, I started to think about the long voyage back and headed back home. I probably should've been scared of the cars and trucks driving 55 MPH+ past me, but I can't say I was. I also visited my childhood hometown, Rollingstone. While there, I parked in the playground of the elementary school I attended and went on the swings. From there, I could see the house that we lived in in the late 70's and early 80's.
One spring, '92 I believe, I watched the Weather Channel every morning to see how warm it was gonna get. If it was going to be warmer than 50 degrees Fahrenheit, there was a good chance I'd take a recreational ride somewhere.
A couple years later, it was time to get another bike. This time, I chose Huffy's Stone Mountain.
It's the bike I had when I met my wife-to-be. A few months later, I bought a car, so no longer needed to ride the thing. However, on some afternoons, I took it out and rode the local trails. It's been years now since I've ridden a bike (Stone Mountain is in the garage, but his tires are flat), but I'll always be glad for the many years I spent being environmentally conscious by not driving a car (though my wife will probably never forgive me for the toll it wound up taking on my balls).