- Written by Jeff Summers Jeff Summers
Riding a bicycle has always been a part of my life. I remember my sixth birthday when my parents bought me my first bicycle. It was of course a stingray. I lived on my bike. If I was not riding it, I was working on it. Soon though, I was looking for more of a challenge than just riding around the block. I don't know how many times my mother came out of the house to find my brother and I setting up some sort of ramp in order to jump over something with our bikes. If we weren't airborne, we were trick riding.
By the age of 10, I had mastered the art of bike surfing where I had one foot on the handlebars and the other foot was planted on the banana seat. It is amazing to me that I ever lived to see the age of 11. On my twelfth birthday, I received a Schwinn Varsity road bike. It was the greatest gift I had ever received and I lived on that bike. The Varsity lasted me until college when someone else decided it was pretty cool too and stole it. I replaced it was a Raleigh but it just was not the same. I rode but did not enjoy it.
Bike riding fell by the way side for a while until 1989 when I bought a GT Avalanche mountain bike. It was then that I remembered how much I loved being on a bike. I soon added a Rock Shox fork and rode everywhere. Soon though, I was bit by the full suspension bug and bought a Trek. This bike was a blast. I put several thousand miles on that bike riding the trails of Idaho.
When we moved from Idaho to Arizona, I packed my bike on a bike rack on the back of our car. We spent the night in Las Vegas where a valet parking attendant backed a car into my bike destroying the frame. I replaced it with a carbon fiber full suspension Trek frame and still have it today.
As my kids have gotten older I have helped each of them learn to ride a bicycle. I';ve spent countless hours running along side of them as the tried to gain their balance. As each have mastered this they have been rewarded with a bike of their own. With the passing of time I have found myself limited to an occasional ride.
My bike hangs in the garage reminding me that I need to return to the road. For a brief period of time I commuted back and forth to work on my bicycle but the 110 degree temperatures and the lack of shower facilities at work made that implausable. I still continued to ride until a fateful day in 2001 when I was struck by a car on my way home from work. I was fortunate as I caught sight of the car through my peripheral vision and was able to slow before impact. The driver did not even stop driving off leaving me lying on the ground. My shoulder and arm were bleeding but other than that I was ok. My bike though was not so fortunate. The front wheel and shock were broken and I had to walk it the remaining three miles to my house. At some point I will again resume riding, my courage and confidence will not waiver.