First Time Cycling Since Childhood
Bill Grass – Baton Rouge, LA
When I was about nine years old, my parents bought me a shiny new Murray 12-speed bike. I’ll never forget that bike. It was white with the logo of the 1984 Olympics on it. I was so proud of that bike! I rode it around the neighborhood quite a bit. But after a couple of years, I didn’t ride it as much. If I recall correctly, I’d get frustrated due to breezy weather. I now know that I simply didn’t know how to work the gears on that bike. The bike ended up just sitting unused for many years. I think it eventually got stolen. Life happened. I graduated from high school and college, got married, bought a house, had four kids, and tried to start a career in graphic design. When I wasn’t working or spending time with the family, I was engaged in my true passion–music. I became a musician right around the time I got that Murray bike.Now, nearly 30 years later, I’m going through a divorce. It’s been an amicable process and the kids have adjusted well. I’m still making a living doing graphic design, and I’m still just as passionate about music as I ever was. I’m fortunate enough to play in two bands consisting of wonderful, non-egocentric musicians.In the summer of 2013 after separating and moving out, I decided I needed a new hobby. I also realized that I needed to shed quite a few pounds. I acquired my first bicycle in almost three decades, a Torker Alpental. I started off riding it a couple of miles around the neighborhood, eventually getting up to 10 miles per ride. I realized how much I had missed cycling and ended up riding almost every day of the week. I found myself with a second bike, a Trek 7.3 FX. I gradually began increasing my distance and now I try to ride a minimum of 15 miles per trip. Sometimes I’ll ride 20 miles, and sometimes I’ll ride multiple times throughout the day. Sometimes I’ll load the bike in my car and travel across town in order to ride in a new setting. (My city isn’t very bike friendly.) I can’t ride every day due to other commitments and rainy weather, but I make it a point to get out there whenever I can.I’ve been riding for about three months now and have traveled almost 800 miles. I’ve lost approximately seven or eight pounds, and I plan on losing much more! Riding has become a fantastic escape for me. I love being out in the sun and breeze. I love seeing things I don’t normally see when driving. I love seeing other people out walking, jogging, and bike riding. I love smelling freshly cut grass when people mow their lawns. I love the solitude and quiet. A couple of days ago, I went to one of my local bike shops to have a minor repair on my Trek. While I was there, I picked up a headlight and taillight for my bike. Next thing I knew, I was riding around the neighborhood at 3:30 in the morning! My ride times are basically unrestricted now that I have lights.I’m anxious to see what the future holds for me.