Lucky Penny


When I was five I lived two blocks away from this bank conveniently located at a 7-11 store.  My dad would give me my allowance on Saturdays, a dime and a nickel.  The goal every week was to find a penny so I could get the small 16 cent Slurpee, cherry of course.

I’d sit and look at this concrete slant and think about it.  Even though I had just learned to ride my bike, I knew this was something special. The angle beckoned to me.  On the top side was a driveway with the wall creating a curb so cars wouldn’t drive over.  I looked at this bank from all angles and somehow knew that I wanted to ride my bike on it.  I had no idea how to get over the five inch high curb at the top and knew the kink at the bottom would surely cause pain if I rode straight down it.  Approaching it straight on to ride up it like a jump was out because there was no way I could pop a wheelie that high.  A couple of times I approached it at an angle, lifting my front wheel an inch or so only to feel the tire bonk and bounce back to the parking lot.  I just couldn’t figure it out.

After high school, I moved to Philadelphia and wasn’t too far from where I had learned to ride as a little kid.  As soon as I learned my way around, I went back to the old neighborhood and rode down the little alleyway, hit the sidewalk jumps and went back to 7-11.

As usual, cars were parked in the lot but there was just enough room.  I cranked hard a couple of times and charged the wall.  I lifted my front wheel and met the slope perfectly, carving an arc I had dreamt of for 13 years. I swooped up watching my front tire come within a couple of inches from the top.   Rolling off the wall, I quickly looped back around and I put in an extra crank and rode right out to the elusive driveway at the top.  A whole body smile of satisfaction came over me.  I looked down at where I had just been and knew that I had somehow fulfilled a destiny that I had been leading to all my life.

With a quick hop over the curb, I dove back into the bank.  This time I knew how to lift my front wheel and bend my knees to make the transition from the concrete to the blacktop smoothly.  With a whoosh, I sped into the parking lot and rolled across.  I stopped and turned to look back at what I had just done.  I felt warm inside, complete.

As I was enjoying this moment, one of the store employees came out wagging a finger at me.  “You can’t ride your bicycle on there!” he shouted.  I just looked at him.  “Yes I can. I finally can”.







By brettdownsconspiracy

Bike of the Year?

(Thoughts while riding yesterday)

Want to know exactly what is wrong in the bike industry?  This bike just won the bike of the year award from Velo News.




Please pay attention to what is ironically, the bottom line :

“Prices range from $4,260 for the 15-pound Ultegra model to $12,790 for the sub-13-pound Dura-Ace equipped Black Inc. ride.”

I understand that the best of the best equipment is always exciting but seriously, how many are they going to sell at $4200 much less at over $12K?  Is this bike really going to impact cycling in general in anyway?  In my opinion, the bike of the year is probably selling 1000 units a month via Wal-Mart.

A couple of years ago I wrote an entry about what the bicycle industry was getting wrong.

Not to beat a dead horse but the best way for the bike industry to grow is through getting more people on bikes, not making bikes most people can’t afford and have no need for.  Bike companies and shops make money selling “bread and butter” bikes- those priced under $600-$1000.  Those are for the new rider or casual rider.  These bikes are the way people can be introduced to cycling as an activity, transportation, exercise or sport.  If those bikes are dialed, the rider will enjoy his experience and continue riding.  Another bike rider created is the future of the industry.

It’s time to stop being short sighted and invest in the future.  This means taking care of the entry level rider, making the experience better and working toward cycling infrastructure.   By making bikes accessible we can profit both monetarily and as an industry.

It’s a hell of a lot easier to sell ten $100 bikes than one $1000 bike.  It makes more sense to serve 9 more customers too.


By brettdownsconspiracy