Ray's Biking Blog

I ride my bike to work… I'm a bike commuter


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Ever since I was a kid, I’ve never been far from a bicycle. My oldest brother Richard got me interested in cycling. I emulated him and everything he did. It’s something that has stuck with me all these forty-three years I’ve been on this planet.

Richard still rides as well. When I was last up in Maryland for my nephew’s Baptism, Rich and I got together for an 18-mile ride. It was a lot of fun
riding with him.

My first bike was the infamous little purple bike that I think all 13 Flanagans learned on. It had a banana seat that was covered with a shiny, sparkling vinyl
cover. Tears dotted the seat from front to back. I remember that bike fondly.

My next bike was a BMX bike that Richard built for me. It was on this bike that I first started to master riding wheelies. It took a lot of practice, but time is what I had alot of as a kid. I woke up most summer mornings, ate breakfast, jumped on my bike and rode all day around our neighborhood, the whole time practicing

From there, I graduated to a Rampar R10, with its signature double hole connecting plate at the front of the frame. That was a great bike that I punished with jumps and wheelies to the point that I cracked the frame (while riding a wheelie… it cracked into 2 pieces.) Great bike!

After that bike, I got serious and spent some hard-earned paper route money and bought my GT BMX bike with mag-wheels. That bike was a brick shit-house that
weighed next to nothing. Wheelies, Framestands, riding backwards, and jumps were a daily event on that bike. I spent a good part of my early teenage years riding the HELL out of that bike. Where ever you saw me, you most likely saw my GT as well.

In my late teenage years, I discovered Mountain bikes and they were my next passion. Started with a ROSS mountain bike (a nice one, somehow?) that got stolen from our garage. Loved that bike. I used to ride it to high school. I’d race the bus home (about a 5 mile ride) and I’d usually win, with a gracious head start.

After that, I bought a really nice FUJI mountain bike. The “Mt. Hood” model. Rode the HELL out of that bike too. By now, after years of practice, I had mastered the wheelie. I’d go out on that Fuji and ride 5-mile wheelies like it was a walk in the park. I spent more time on 1 wheel than 2 on that bike.

My FUJI bike though was no match for for the parking garage though at Laurel Mall. I drove into the underground garage, forgetting I had my Mt. bike on the top of my Ford Escort…. Sheared the gears and brakes RIGHT OFF that bike.

Instead of repairing (a costly endeavor) the damaged gears and brakes, I picked up my next Mountain bike. I came full circle and picked up a GT Mountain bike that I fell in love with the second I saw it. The “Timberline” model was one of GT’s best lines of mountain bikes they ever made. I still have this bike and ride it EVERY day to work or around the house. I have over 4,000 miles on that bike and it rides as good as the day I brought it home.

In 2008, after doing COPIOUS amounts of homework and surfing on Craigslist for the perfect road bike, I found my dream bike:

A Cannondale RSI4000.

A true BEAST of a bike for the road. A monster of a machine that is light as a feather. I have close to 3,000 miles on that bike since getting it in May of 2008. I feel like Lance Armstrong on it. I love that bike. I have a 24-hour ride coming up in July of 2011. My goal is to ride 300 miles in that time period. I’m busily training for it. I ride my GT almost everyday to work, and usually before work I can be found riding loops around my neighborhood on my Cannondale.

I’ve been riding close to 38 years now and I’m not slowing down one bit.


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