Bikes I've Owned - Part Two

Posted by Dutchman Tuesday, September 22, 2009

1975 - 1993

Fuji Touring Series IV (1985) - The mid-eighties ushered in the period of time where 10K races and tri-athlons became popular. My wife and I took off enough time from horseback riding (we lived on a hobby farm in north central Illinois), to purchase bicycles. We lived out in the country, just south of the state of Wisconsin, where the many black topped country roads were a mecca for cycling. A local triathlon bike segment passed by our home that summer, and she determined that she would one day compete in a tri-athlon. For her, I purchase a Miyata 12 speed, and I found a slightly used Fuji touring bike at the local bike shop. The Fuji was a heavy duty touring bike with a triple crankset, giving me 18 speeds. I loved the bike, but didn't find a lot of time to ride. I taught my wife how to swim competitively (I belonged to my high school swim team for 4 years) and she started doing tri-athlons. She also began to hang out with the younger, single set, at the local YMCA. One day, we went out for a ride, and when we came to the intersection near our home, where you had to pick a fork, she asked which way I was going. I said "left". She said "good", and went right. Our marriage kind of did the same thing a year or so later.

Cannondale Black Lightning - With my new found "single" freedom (1987), I decided to spend money on myself for a change. After 10 years of paying unglodly amounts of money for her horse hobby, I thought I deserved a new bicycle. The Fuji was a great bike, but a little heavy for general riding. I wanted a "fast" bike and was determined to ride more. This was especially true after my "ex" told me I'd never ride more than 5 miles and couldn't keep up with her. After the smooth comfortable ride of the Fuji, the Cannondale would rattle my teeth. Some people said that it's beer can tubes were so stiff that your brain would be damaged, causing memory loss. Others said . . . they said . . .
Sorry, forgot what I was going to say. Anyway, I was persistent, and was soon riding it an average of 100 miles per week. I decided to try and ride a metric century. My first choice was the Wenonah Century in Minnesota. I chose to ride the Fuji, as you had to ride up the palisades out of the Mississippi River valley near the beginning. In it's granny gear, I rode up the 3 mile hill where many others walked. I completed the ride. My next attempt though, I decided to ride the Cannondale. It was then that I learned that with it's stiffer frame and lighter weight, I could ride up the same hill with less effort and more speed by standing on the pedals. The Fuji began to collect dust. As a side note, my "ex" was really angry when she found out I purchased the bicycle for $800 (divorce wasn't quite final). She was even more angry when on a club ride later that summer, I left her well behind on a 32 mile ride.

During the spring, summer and fall of 1989, I rode 13 metric/English centuries, all on the Cannondale. I rode over 4000 miles.

Bob Jackson Custom - In 1991, I decided to build a custom bicycle from scratch. I purchased a Bob Jackson frame and outfitted it with Shimano Ultegra components. I built two sets of wheels for it. I never got much of a chance to ride it, as that summer, I started touring on the old Fuji. In 1992, I moved to Park City, Utah. The company I worked for paid for my move. United Van Lines packed and hauled everything. But, not the 3 bicycles. I didn't trust them with those.

In Park City, my time was taken up with work, skiing, backpacking, and trout fishing. And then in the spring of 1993, I decided to get married again. I moved back to Illinois and figuring my bike riding days were again at an end, sold the Bob Jackson to one friend, and the Cannondale to another. I kept the Fuji, which collected dust for the next 16 years.


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I'm a middle aged divorced father living with my two sons. We like to canoe, bicycle, fish, camp, play baseball, and spend money when we want and where we want, without permission from anybody. HA!


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