Friday, May 12, 2006

In the beginning...

. Friday, May 12, 2006

I started riding my bike seriously way back in the summer of 1987. I would be entering 8th grade in the fall and would be the first class to attend the new Otto Shortell Middle School in Wampsville, NY. I really wanted to see what the new school looked like so my mother suggested that I ride my bike there to check it out. I just had a crappy Murray 10-speed at the time. Boy, was it hard going up that "big" hill by the Oneida Healthcare Center. I made it to the school and took some back roads back to my home in Oneida. It was only about a 10 mile ride, but I had so much fun and felt such a sense of adventure. I told my mom that I wanted to go riding some more and asked if she had any other ideas of places I could ride.

Canastota is the next town down Route 5 from Wampsville. My best friend and I rode our bikes to the McDonald's by the NYS Thruway. That ride was about 15 miles. At that point, I was hooked. I distinctly remember going to the old Fay's Drugs in Oneida to look for bicycling magazines because I wanted to learn more about the sport (equipment, training, racing, etc). I also got my hands on some county maps that showed every single podunk back road. I went on subsequent longer and longer rides. It wasn't long before I was doing 50 mile rides.

My whole setup was laughable. My bike was like a tank and weighed even more (over 40 pounds). My front derailleur didn't work on my bike. If I wanted to shift rings, I would have to stop, get off my bike, and literally change gears with my hands. I would wear a backpack with a Pizza Hut water jug. Fortunately, I was smart enough to make a trip to Dick Sonne's Bike Shop in New Hartford and got myself a helmet and a pair of biks shorts.

I think it was the following spring when I bougt my first "real" bike. It was a red Centurion; 12-speed with indexed shifting. I thought the indexed shifting was as cool as shit at the time. It only cost $300 so the bike wasn't nearly as nice as the bike I have currently. But it was still a huge improvement over that piece of crap Murray. Getting a new bike really sealed the deal for becoming an avid cyclist. I would literally put a pin in the map for each town I went through. It wasn't long before I was completing rides around Oneida Lake and completing my first century ride.


Anonymous said...

I remember riding my bike from Utica to Wampsville to suprise my Mom at work in 1987. That was some ride! I enjoyed it, though, but I got a sunburn. :-/ No helmet, of course! Now I wouldn't even dream of riding anywhere, especially that distance, without a helmet, but back then helmets just weren't something people thought of very much.

GreeneyeZZ said...

Good Ole Wampsville!!

Seemed like I was in the DSS building at least once a month, the Probation Department every two weeks, and in court at least once every couple months! I liked that the Wampsville DSS building was (and still is) secured more tightly than Onondaga Co. My ex-husband and I actually biked the Erie Canal from where it starts behind Shoppingtown Mall out to Wampsville...I think it was Court St., but I could be wrong.

Been in Otto-Shortell too. Oneida is a quaint "little City". I liked it there.

Boo said...

You'd be surprised how much thought goes into the layout of the building and its equipment to have an intrinsically "secure" building. Of course, the security of a building is also dependent on the security personnel.

GreeneyeZZ said...

They have these hand held Panic Buttons at DSS for when you use a room. It was for security purposes; if someone became violent while in the room. One of my co-workers used to use it regularly.

gram&lala&m&b said...

Nice story, boo.