A couple of years after we moved to Aiken we joined the local bicycle club, oddly enough, named the Aiken Bicycle Club. We were quite active for about ten years and then when health issues curtailed our cycling we slowly drifted out of the Club.
When we first joined the club we were riding our 10 year old 12-speed touring bicycles. Mountain biking was just starting to really blossom in popularity and some of the Club members starting buying these bikes and heading off to the local trails. We soon joined the fray, bringing our bike total to four, two touring road bikes and two mountain bikes.
As we improved our cycling, we went on longer and faster rides with the club. We now needed some newer, lighter road bikes to keep pace. One of the fellows who was a regular speedster on the twice weekly bike store rides was upgrading to a high dollar carbon fiber Kestrel and offered to sell me his CF/Aluminum combo Giant bike, I jumped. After some shopping we bought Donna a nice new Bridgestone road bike. Our Stable of 2-wheeled vehicles was now six in number.
Towards the end of 1994 our bicycling madness peaked, we spent nearly $3,000 on a Santana Sovereign aluminum tandem (the price has gone up a bit in the last 12 years.) Part of the reason we went into tandeming was peer pressure, two other couples in the club had these bicycles built for two. One were long time duo riders, but when the second couple bought a Burley Rock ‘n Roll and told us how much they enjoyed it, we took the plunge. We got a credit card application in the mail with some super low interest or something and for our wedding anniversary present to ourselves we made a trip to Atlanta, test drove one for all of a couple hundred yards and bought the thing. Donna loved the tandem. She just had to pedal and enjoy the scenery, none of that pesky shifting or braking to worry about. We did have a blast with it, on club rides with regular folks it was like driving an 18-wheeler amongst cars. Downhill we blasted at speeds unrivaled, but uphill we were hauled right back in.
While I enjoyed the tandem I really missed the single bike. As the captain of a tandem it is your job to let the stoker know about bumps, when you were shifting, when you wanted to coast, brake, etc, and I had a hard time with all that. I was so used to riding on a bike by myself, I would just do without thinking, which would draw the ire of the stoker. About that time my prostate problems arose where it was uncomfortable to ride for long or I would feel bad for days afterward, so riding slowed to a trickle. I convinced Donna to sell the tandem, we got about 2/3rds of what we paid for it after riding it for a year and a half. She was more sorry to see it go than I.
About 4 years ago we ran into the couple from the Club and asked them if they still rode their Burley. They said no not really, so Donna asked if they would sell it to us. “No,” they replied, “we are going to get back into it.” We understood perfectly, from a high of riding about 3,000 miles a year we had fallen to 300 miles if we were lucky and still had 6 bikes between the two of us.
Fast forward two more years and we had at least sold off the least used of the 6, the mountain bikes. We asked our selves, should we sell the commuting bikes as they were just collecting dust in the garage, but said, “No, we are going to get back into it.”
Fast forward two more years to last last Friday, I get an email from the Burley owner, did I still want to buy it? Sure, what do you want for it? He said he’d take the $400 I offered him 4 years ago. Today our anniversary present to ourselves for this year showed up in the driveway:
Started down, still down.
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