Thursday, September 1, 2011

Pretty Fast....for a Girl

This is not the first blog attempt I have made. The last one I did was interesting for a while, but seemed to be all over the place in terms of topics. I have always heard the advice: “Write about what you know.” So I decided to do just that. And if there is one thing I know about and truly love, it’s biking in most all its forms.

The title of this blog is actually thanks to a young girl  I met this past year who I will call "Skyscraper" who is  on her way to being a great mountain biker. She truly has the heart and soul of one and she is already making herself a name in the youth racing scene at only 9 years old.  She is fortunate enough to have two really dedicated parents who support her in this sport so I imagine nothing will stand in her way of being a champion if that is what she decides to do.

Anyway, back to the title of this blog. I have always been fascinated by bikes. I didn’t realize how far back it went until I found some toddler photos of me with my first tricycle. There I am looking all cute in my little blue dress riding around on my first venture into independent transportation. Then not much further into the pile, I find another picture of me with said bike upside down and I am tinkering with the wheel.  So yeah, I would assume I have been tinkering with bikes my whole life from what I can tell.
I think I have a flat

I think it’s in my genes, because I found out that my grandfather was very keen on cycling too. He even played hooky a couple of times from work so he could go watch the local bike races. He told my grandmother he was going to the factory, but was actually sneaking off to watch the two wheelers at the velodrome in Italy.  How cool is that!!  Well I think it was cool. I am guessing my grandmother’s reaction probably wasn’t   anything like that when she found out at the time. I am also going to assume there was a lot of Italian swear words muttered by her when she discovered it.  But, the point is, it’s in my blood. So it’s only natural that I would become somewhat of a bike junkie in my later years.
I grew up with three older brothers and even as a mere toddler; I wanted to be around the boys doing what they were doing. I think I have always been a tomboy of sorts.  In that same stack of pictures, there I am surrounded with my brother and all his friends, working on a go cart. I for some reason am in the picture wearing my cute little dress wielding a crescent wrench and “working” on the engine of their go cart. The picture indicates that they needed a little expertise, so they came to me. Obviously.  I was glad to oblige since apparently I didn’t have anything to do that day.
Hanging with the Boys..It's Ok, I have my own wrench.

 So for my entire life, because of my brothers, I have always been hanging around the “boys” and have always been comfortable that way. I still love to tinker on my own bicycle and am fascinated by how things work on them. I have seen much in the way of new technology advances since I first started to ride and that is awesome to me. Over the years, I have learned quite a bit about bicycles and their parts thanks to some great bike shop owners,  a fantastic and patient husband , an inquisitive mind always asking questions to anyone willing to answer them for me, and of course the largest encyclopedia in the world….the wonderful world wide web.  I also have a fascination with cool tools. When there is a specially designed tool that makes a particular task that much easier because of  said tool, I am in awe.Cleverness impresses me something fierce. I am also equally impressed when I see something that is an alternative that works for the same purpose just as well.  The whole MacGyver type mentality of using a stick of gum, a paper clip and a pen cap to change a flat is pretty cool too. I can totally appreciate the usefulness of that in the world of biking. Sadly I don't have that. But, I do have a cell phone, so it all evens out in the end.

So for a “girl”, I have a pretty vast knowledge of bike “stuff”. I also have been riding mountain bikes for over 15 years, so to some, I might seem “pretty fast for a girl”, but I've been at this a while now. This sport has come a long way since I first started, but still it seems to be dominated by males.  Yes, there are women in the sport, but the men still far outnumber the women. A stat I hope to see change one day in my future. And so there you have it. A little explanation for the title of this blog.

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