Saturday, May 12, 2007

Get that 40+ year-old body into shape!

One of the things I've always enjoyed about summertime is the chance to get some exercise on a bike.

When I was younger, a friend of mine and I used to love to take long bike rides during the summer months. A couple of times we rode 30 miles or so in one day just to be able to say "we did it". (of course a couple of girls at the end of those rides were certainly "motivating factors". :)

During those days, the bike of "choice" was a good 10-speed. Mine was a Huffy, with a denim seat and denim wrapped handlebars. These bikes were built for racing and NOT designed for comfort. The handlebars (ram-like) forced the rider into a back-breaking position.

Once I married (some 20 years ago), my wife and I purchased matching bikes. During that time, mountain bikes were just becoming popular. We enjoyed riding these bikes, and added all the "accessories" (child trailer, goose-neck tandem child seat, etc.) that a growing family needs. Although more comfortable than a 10-speed, the mountain-bikes still were not the most comfortable for an ever aging body.

No....I longed for the days when riding a bike was fun, and comfortable. The times when one could spend an entire afternoon on a bike and your tailbone would never "scream" back. Back then, I had a Schwinn Stingray. You know the type, ape-hanger handlebars, a banana seat, and a nice wide racing slick on the rear. Dad bought mine used. When we brought it home, it had an orange, metal-flake paint job. I didn't have it too long before my father customized it. Since it was right around the time of the bicentennial, and Evel Knievel was "king", dad gave it a nice white paint job, a red/white/blue banana seat, and some custom pinstriping on the chain-guard. I don't have any pics here, but today I did a google search and found a pic of a bike that is VERY close (minus the goofy streamers and discs in the spokes.) the frame color and seat are DEAD ON!

Well...welcome back from nostalgia lane to the 21st century...were the body is now 40+ years old and the tailbone an back do not enjoy being contorted into strange and unusual riding positions. I've been wanting to get a new bike that is very comfortable to ride, but a 40 year-old man on a Schwinn Orange Crate just looks ridiculous! (See photo)

So...I've been checking out some companies that make some pretty cool cruisers! Places like Dyno and Nirve both have websites with a variety of cruisers. Everything from Tiki, to Salt-flats, to hotrod themed bikes. I would like to purchase something in the near future so that I can get my 40+ year-old booty back into some kind of shape so that I will be able to enjoy the rest of the time with my kids at home and one day my grandkids.

I've provided links to a couple of websites below. ENJOY!

Summertime, summertime, sum, sum, summertime!

Ah...just a few more weeks of school and then it's SUMMERTIME! Fall used to be my favorite time of year growing up. The cooler temperatures, the changing colors, football season, the first frost that brought an end to "allergy season". But any more, I look forward to June. Local car shows and cruise-ins on the weekends. The Indy Goodguy Nationals in June, The SuperChevy Show in July, attending my kids little league games, cookouts, fireworks....ah SUMMERTIME!

One of the first "signs" of an approaching summer is the sound of motorcycles cruising the local highways. Last Sunday afternoon a group of cyclists (50 to 75) passed my in-laws house during lunch. A friend of mine road is "hog" to church that same Sunday morning.
One thing I will miss this summer is borrowing my friend's Shay A and driving around with the top down. He recently came back to Indiana from a winter in Florida and left the Shay down in the Sunshine State. I'm going to have to find something cheap and fun (i.e. the car [not the girl] in the picture to the left!) :) I still have a strange fascination with cars from the '30s and '40s....I don't really know why, but they interest me more than cars from the '50s or muscle cars from the late '60s and early '70s. I guess what I like most about the "rat rod" craze is that they are trailer queens with these guys. They enjoy cars because they are fun to build and fun to drive. It's about cruisin' with friends and enjoying life, not worrying whether someone's belt buckle is going to scratch your $50,000.00 StreetRod at the local A&W !

Who needs high dollar Coddington Billet wheels and plush leather custom interiors? Heck....I'd be to afraid to ever take something like that out of the garage! Give me something that is simple and fun to drive. Powdercoated steelies and a suede paint job. Something you can drive across town on a Friday night to get a Rootbeer Float, and then take it to a cruise-in on Saturday morning.