Arne Buck – Newton, MA
My first bike was a 20in-solid-tire “convertible” (removable top “tube”–thus turning it into a “girl’s” bike, on which my sister subsequently learned to ride) single-speed coaster brake with training wheels from a bike shop on Cambridge St., Boston MA, a spot now occupied by Massachusetts General Hospital, near where Buzzy’s Fabulous Roast Beef used to be. I was not quite 5 years old, we lived in Melrose MA. I was scared as Dad kept raising the training wheels. By my 5th birthday I got rid of the training wheels, acquiring some scrapes as I fell along the way. Freedom. And that feeling of bicycle transportation remains to this day.
A 3-speed discount-house Royce Union and two 10-speed Royce Unions followed in high school (the first one destroyed when hit by a car in my sophomore year whilst collecting specimens for a science class project).
My favorite bike, which I still ride, is a 30-pound Nishiki International which I’ve ridden now for over 36 years. (Many memories associated with this one…) Put over 5000 miles on it last year. The only things original on it are the frame, the center-pull brake calipers and the seat post. The latter is permanently fused into the frame, thanks to my last year of college in Cambridge MA, riding throughout the year: rain, snow, sleet, road salt. The aluminum seat post and the steel frame are one with the universe.