My parents have always been super-supportive of my interests and of me, in general. They could tell very early on that bikes were my thing… and they always did what they could to encourage me to pursue cycling. My dad built me scooters and Chopper bikes and all manner of bike modifications. He didn’t have lots of money, but he did have lots of engineering and building skills to play around with using garage sale bikes. My parents also took me to freestyle bike contests to see the ‘stars’ of the sport. They took me to BMX tracks in nearby towns to ride.
When I left for college and then for Australia, there was always a bike around the house I could ride when I came ‘home’. My Dad discovered the Cardinal Greenway about the time I left for college. This rail trail is about 30 miles away from my hometown and runs through the town where I spent my last two years of high school at The Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics and Humanities. The Cardinal Greenway has expanded over the years and now runs for about 60 miles. It was recently inducted into the Rail Trail Hall of Fame. It is a well-used, tremendous asset in a pretty crappy part of Indiana.
My dad has always had a bike, though he doesn’t ride all that much. Yet, whenever I came home from college or Australia, he would take me over for a ride on the Greenway. I always rode whatever bike he had hanging around – he bought and sold bikes from garage sales when he found bargains. In the picture above, I’m riding a single-speed Schwinn. I’m about 23-years-old in the photo – the bike is in great condition. The photo was taken in Muncie where there are many old abutments and road crossings in that section of trail.
Thanks to my Dad for the photo. As the family archivist, I had asked if he had any photos of my first bike. He hasn’t found anything that old just yet, but he did send this photo along.