Tag Archive: cycling

Remember when all you wanted for Christmas was a bicycle?

My first one was a surprise three-speed “Raleigh” style – but not that brand name because my parents always would find a similar, obscure brand from the one all the other kids had – with “regular” handlebars, in  burgundy. I think I went right out to ride it in the snow that Christmas day – not for long – and don’t remember what happened to that bike; only that my last memory of it is that my dad – who apparently never learned to ride a bike (which is still amazing to me), took it for a ride to the corner, which was encouraged or dared by me and my mother – only to return it with the handlebars bent in some awkward way that made me cry like he had broken them.  My dad was a weightlifter strong WWII veteran; but how could he not know how to ride a bike??

A metallic-blue Pierce Arrow “Tour de France” 5-speed racer model with “bull” handlebars, replaced that one on Christmas Day 1969 and I’ll always remember the special feeling.  This was not a total surprise for me though, because mother took me to S. Bellitte & Sons to pick it out, so “Santa” would not bring the wrong one.  I must have waged quite a campaign for it.

Twenty-three years ago, my parents gave me a helmet for Christmas and I laughed; now I can’t imagine riding without it! Seven years ago, my boss at the time regifted a new Liberty bike given to him – to me at Christmastime – when he learned I cycle regularly. I tried to convince him to keep it and take up riding. “Nyet”, he said.

Now, I ask Santa for things like peace on Earth, a kind-but-firm President who is a true leader, in the ilk of John F. Kennedy; health for all of mankind; a cure for the virus and a vaccine that anaphylaxis vulnerable “allergy sufferers can actually take without it getting deathly ill; for my friends who have contracted the Covid plague to get well; to follow sage advices of mentors and loved ones no longer present and never be broke without hope again.  When I leave a Coca-Cola and some butter cookies out for Kris Kringle these days, instead of material possessions, philosophical and carnal passions are needed actions.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve not become a total corny sellout, or “old” like our parents; still forever young! Instead, I have become more of a realist, when I’m not acting silly with parodies and rhymes to stay connected to my past or amuse myself which is one of the secrets to growth via personal, mental and loyal therapeutic exercise. I find myself saying “it could be worse” more often, and speaking of “exercise”… at the top of my Xmas wants is that I continue to appreciate the embodiment and the meaning of the procedural memory phrase, “its just like riding a bicycle!”  Come.

Allow me to introduce you to my “Town Car” :       You cannot find another picture of one like it on “google” – I tried – found it was a Pierce Arrow “limited edition”  via “ask.com”, back when it was my best Christmas present of all times at age sixteen! Who knew?? (surely not my parents!) It was only rivaled by the Schwinn “Continental” at the time.  I’ve upgraded many parts since I got it and it still is always there willing to give me a ride whenever I want to – which is more than I can say for some people I know! I’m glad I picked it. I always hear excuses from friends, acquaintances and associates about why this or that physical activity “isn’t for [them]” as they continue to bemoan their weight gains.  No need to argue about that; to each his or her own.  Recently was “National Ride Your Bike To Work Day” or some such nonsense.  I still want to know who is the official designator of National Days.  Is there such a commissioner?  I want that gig! LOL     There are many ways to keep in-shape.  Riding your bicycle doesn’t require you to wait for somebody else to join you in order to do it, the equipment is relatively cheap after the initial investment as long as you maintain it and keep it clean, save an occasional flat tire or inner tube replacement and the fashions, with mandatory helmet and gloves/pads available can make you look stylish and be comfortable – if a man, especially in the groin area – while doing a fun activity at ground-level and covering the cardio/aerobic/muscle strengthening aspects of your workouts. If you have Asthma, it is great for your lungs! As cycling goes, so does life. You’ve got to grind up hills steadily. Remember to “get the negative”. Meaning let the up-stroke pull as the down-stroke pushes, In order to get into a rhythm. Then soon you will spy the crest; Not as obvious as in life, When you get there the reward begins. Enjoy the coast, which can be such a mph rush; Hold on tight, tuck down for less wind resistance, Feel the daredevil in you. Next, pray for a flat stretch soon, knowing that other hills are just around the bend; Allowing you to once again practice grinding up all over again. I rode my bike l-o-n-g today; Maybe the longest this year. Weekend rains in succession, Curtailing my weekly riding sessions. Bringing my total miles fewer than last year. I could hardly walk after the cool-down and shower! Cranky “hammies”* the problem; Getting out of my car in the Kroger parking lot, I just walked s-l-o-w-l-y towards the store; Old-man style like a late-fiftysomething cyclist slightly out of practice. I shocked them for sure although I know that they enjoyed the ride. Seeing things from the 10-speed perspective is up-close. A slow grind up some hills is the challenge as in life; The reward is those speedy down hills on the other side when things go well. So keep riding, and keep grinding to your health mentally and physically. Hey! You did it as a child without thinking about it; Why shouldn’t you continue to do it as an adult?  Don’t wait for anybody but yourself!

*the hamstring muscle located on the back of your thigh. return to cycling ride

Pickhitt: April 12, 2015 after almost three years due the unsettlement of my life and homelessness, I just completed my first, short return to cycling ride.  Refreshing and reassuring physically and mentally.  Thanks to Phil, the former NYC Fireman, for the encouragement!

                              I remember the “Flying A” gas station within walking distance of my parent’s house in Queens, New York City, where the price per gallon was, like thirty-seven cents back then.


          It now kind of hurts to remember these things – or angers me.  I also remember and notice now that free air at a filling station is becoming increasingly rare here in this southeastern U.S. city that I currently reside in and maybe your town also.  This is another bad trend because, after all, it is freaking air dammit!  A dude from Egypt recently moved from his Tobacco/Beer/Lottery store and bought a Shell station here.  It was the only gas station left to have a free air hose like we above a certain age are accustomed to having,  and within two miles of my house.  Don’t tell me to “get over it” either!  If you say that, then you are part of the problem and not the solution.  Air for our tires should always be free.  Do you pay to breathe?

The Flying A became either Mobile or Getty or maybe both – I forget which, but it always had the free air hose like every other station did.  The air hose was more important than the gas to me earlier in life because I and all my boyhood mates rode our bicycles all over the place, and a flat was as major for us as running out of gas was for our parents in their automobiles.

I could hardly hold in my chagrin when my twentysomething adopted sister and secretary at Office Depot tried to recently convince me that we should pay for the air to inflate our tires upon the premise that “someone has to pay the cost for the compressor” or some such bull.  Since I like her expertise at saving me money on printer ink – a subject for another post – I held my tongue that wanted to unleash this historical lecture that you are reading.


Why are free air hoses at filling station going “bye-bye”?  Number one reason: greed.  In the case of the entrepreneur from Egypt: lack of historical perspective over here in the U.S.A.  Which speaks to the end of “neighborhoodness”; would you charge your next-door neighbor for the cup of sugar they rang your doorbell to borrow or a cup of milk?

Now my top  reasons air should still be free: 8- Because we all breathe air freely – it is a reflex; 7 – Just ask someone with respiratory issues like Asthma or Bronchitis if air is free; 6 – Because it is part of our atmosphere on Earth; 5 – Because air is like the ocean, rivers, stream and lakes – do we have to pay to enjoy them? 4 – Because it is just mean to charge for harnessing air into a hose; 3 – Because it is air and we pay too much for tires anyway; 2 – Because gasoline costs too much and we are too willing as a nation to pay high prices so it is just greedy not to give us something for  nothing at the gas station; and my #1 reason air must be free: Kids and adults (like me) who ride our bicycles don’t carry money and should be able to fill-up our tires with air, especially in cases of emergency, and ride off into the sunshine.

Feel free to add your own reasons should you be old/young enough to understand where I am comin’ from. TTYS

**PickHITT: Kudos to the stations in Bellerose, New York, Lacey Township, New Jersey, North Carolina, Nashville and Floral Park, New York that I noticed recently have free AIR! Comment here with your gas station location if you also have a free air pump for kids and grown-up tires alike! ~ October, 2013

**Check this site, FreeAirpump.com click “view map” to find stations in your area with FREE air!


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