From tricycle to tricycle, coming full circle


Recumbent travel

New Year's Day 2009

Technically, we own three cars. All three are paid off. Each one has at least 130,000 miles on it. Oddly, each one looks much younger than its age and mileage might suggest — especially considering that for the most part, they have lived their lives outside our garage. Today one lives in Cincinnati, one in Kent, and one in Bluffton.

Open the door of our unattached single car garage and you’ll find the reason that the cars sit outside. Bicycles. A lot of them. Too many of them. They outnumber the members of the family. I’m really not sure how this happened, except for the fact that we’ve inherited most of them.

There’s the tandem, a hand-me-down from my brother and SIL, who discovered that tandems don’t work well in the mountains of Virginia. It made the trip from VA to Ohio on the back of a Volvo sedan, and somehow made it in one piece despite the fact that end to end, it was slightly longer than the width of a car lane. We ride it regularly, but that’s another story…the husband is not the most careful rider.

Next to that is a 12-speed Concord touring bike that belonged to my dad. It had a little gear problem recently and we thought it was headed to bike heaven since the guys at the bike shop discovered the part was no longer available. Lucky for us, a salesman showed the guys how to wrangle the thing back into gear. He gave it a kick and it clicked back into place. Or something like that.

One of my favorites — partly because it was my dad’s and partly because I love the turquoise color — is another Concord, this one a fat-tired mountain bike that he bought after wrecking the 12 speed (above). It spent a few years in Kent, but recently returned to join the bicycle brigade.

Hanging from the wall is the little Huffy mountain bike we bought for daughter number 2 in her tween years. It’s now too small for anyone to ride unless a niece or nephew comes to visit.

Parked toward the rear is a somewhat dilapidated but serviceable 10-speed that we found propped up against a telephone pole near the National quarry. After a week of passing it, we decided the owner no longer wanted it, so we rescued it. Here’s the thing. I really didn’t care about the bike — I wanted the LL Bean mesh bike bags that were attached to it. We gave the bike to our then son-in-law-to-be. It’s moving to Cincinnati soon.

You think that’s it? Wrong. There are more. Three more, to be exact. Two of them were gifts from my mother, who had to give up biking. One, a 40-year-old Raleigh 5-speed, joined my mom touring with GOBA about 20 years ago. It’s my favorite, except I can no longer ride it thanks to the stupid shoulder.

The other, an antique balloon tire one-speed cruiser with pedal brakes, was my mom’s gift from her parents on her 16th birthday. That makes it 72 years old. A friend renovated it a few years ago, so it’s now a sporty navy blue with white stripes. It’s not ridden for speed, but for simple pleasure.

Finally, there’s my recumbent tricycle, now my favorite mode of transportation. Which, if you think about it, indicates that I’ve come full circle. I started on a child’s tricycle. Fifty years later, I’ve gone from a trike to a boy’s bike to a women’s 3-speed to a unicyle to countless 10-speeds and now…I’m back on a trike. And what fun it is. Who needs a new car?

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