Retro wall photo – Cardinal Greenway

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.

Nerdy chick in Australia who loves to ride and is accompanied by the crew: 'The Commander' Verne and the 'Mental Health Specialist' Kermit.

12 response to "Retro wall photo – Cardinal Greenway"

  1. By: Scooter Posted: December 24, 2018

    It’s nice that I’ve caught a cold and am sitting around the room waiting out the rain, so I can catch up on posts I’ve been saving. This is such a great, heart warming article. Thanks for sharing it.

    • By: The Navigator Posted: December 26, 2018

      Thanks – I hope your cold is getting better. There is some small consolation in being unwell when the weather is crap. I’ve never timed the two together when I’ve been on tour… so at least that is something. Long plane flights are notorious for giving people the crud.

  2. By: Rich-Illinois Posted: December 24, 2018

    Nice photo! Those old Schwinns were pretty much bullet proof.
    Muncie, IN — brother went to school there, as did David Letterman (not at the same time).
    Be neat if your Dad comes up with you on your first set of wheels!
    Happy Holidays!

    • By: The Navigator Posted: December 26, 2018

      My mom has her Masters of Education from Ball State and would have been there at a similar time to Letterman – though she didn’t hang out at the frat houses so would never have met him. I spent my last two years of high school on the BSU campus at a public boarding school. We lived in one of the old dorms. So I rode my bike all over Muncie and surrounds for a couple years and know it really well. The campus is the only redeeming quality of that town, really. Another dead factory town with lots of problems.

  3. By: NancyG Posted: December 24, 2018

    A wonderful photo and a great story Em. Your parents sound terrific for a budding cyclist. And for your Dad to take you on a bike ride whenever you came home is more than special. ;’-)

    • By: The Navigator Posted: December 26, 2018

      Thanks, Nancy. I have amazing parents. My dad and I bonded over bicycles 9 months a year and then sledding in winter. They had high expectations for academics and behavior but were also tremendous at letting my brother and me be ourselves – whatever that entailed. I have always been grateful to have them as mine 🙂

  4. By: Seasidejanet Posted: December 24, 2018

    Good to see you as always and love heart warming Dad stories!! I remember how much my Dad popped up in my memories while on tour and when I’m just out riding today. I don’t think he ever had a bicycle isn’t that strange? Well not really he was a kid in the Dust Bowl of Oklahoma. Bikes are a portal to memories😊😉

    • By: The Navigator Posted: December 26, 2018

      Thank you for sharing that, Janet. My dad can be very apprehensive about safety and he was very, very afraid of me going on my first long tour in 2010. But, by the end of the tour, he was my biggest fan. I think I put together my website and post stuff there mostly for him to enjoy the adventures – he absolutely loves Verne and Kermit and asks after them which is so cute.

  5. By: Lednar De Nalloh Posted: December 25, 2018

    Nice post Emily. I love some nostalgia, memories, you have great parents.

    • By: The Navigator Posted: December 26, 2018

      Thanks – they are amazing parents and I dread the day I have to start dealing with all the things you’ve had to deal with in the past couple of years with your Dad. I wish I could freeze them in time when they were in their early 50s!

  6. By: Tony Cullimore Posted: December 27, 2018

    Great Parents! I bet your Dad had an enjoyable time scouring the garage sales, tips and other places for suitable material for bikes. How lucky were you to have such a Dad. Mine didn’t do very much in the way of making things from bits and pieces – but every now and again he surprised me by demonstrating a skill I never knew he had.

    That Cardinal Greenway is a good thing. There seem to be so many trails like this in the US and from YouTube cycling videos it would seem they get used well too.

    • By: The Navigator Posted: December 27, 2018

      Thanks, Tony. My dad can engineer/build/fix anything. He made most of the furniture in the house I grew up in, he hand-built two hot rods from the ground up, including the fibreglass bodies. And he made all sorts of tri-runner sleds (i.e. tobaggans) from cross-country skis or fabricated aluminium runners. He even won woodworking contests with sleds we used and abused on the sledding hills. His retiree income means his projects are more modest these days, but he still loves garage sales. I did not inherit a single one of his talents either!

Leave a Reply