Tribute to Bike Zero

I’d like to take a break from the usual level of anger and screeds to spin a more positive story.

When I’m done, I promise that I’ll get back to the regularly scheduled complaining.

For some reason, I have been reevaluating every aspect of my life. I don’t know why, but perhaps it’s because I am going through my mid-life crisis.

In my thoughts, I have been looking at what’s been working in my life and what’s not working.

Cycling is definitely one of those things that is working very, very well.

It makes me extremely happy, and I cycle as much as possible. It turns ordinary errands into adventures. I attribute bicycling more than any other thing for keeping me looking and feeling younger than others my age even more so than my complete and utter lack of maturity.

How did all this magic happen?

I have to go back to the first place that I lived after I left home in the ghetto of North Philadelphia.

Since having a car was expensive, risky, and unnecessary, I didn’t have one. This was good b/c my classmates spent the majority of their time complaining about car related issues.

I mainly took the subway everywhere which was really exciting at the time especially when some of my classmates got mugged there.

One day, a great friend of mine bought me a bicycle: an old three-speed from the thrift store for $10. He fixed it up so it was ridable and gave it to me.

It was no speed demon, but Philly is really flat, and the distances were short.

One day, he came over w/ his bicycle, and we took a ride to the Italian Market which took us through the worst parts of the Bad Lands.

I thought that the ride was going to suck, but my fears were all unnecessary. The traffic was light (really poor city people have few cars) and nobody bothered us. Plus the ride was really entertaining especially that drunk dude that wandered around the middle of a street.

I didn’t know it then, but I had taken the first sniff of the cocaine that was going to be life long cycling commuting.

There are a lot of wrinkles between then and there, but the upshot is that from then on, I always had a bicycle, and I rode it as much as possible.

The only thing that really changed was the quality of my bicycle is much improved, and I ride much longer distances than I thought practicable.

Though I think about my love for cycling daily, I never give the guy who kicked off this life long dream: Karl.

Thanks Karl for making me smoke that crack. Without you I’d be a flat slob.


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