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Getting a lot of mileage & exercise out of his ‘prop’

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POSTED January 20, 2010 2:48 a.m.
I often refer to my red 18-speed mountain bicycle as a “prop.”

Like the set on the classic sitcom Seinfeld, the Omega-brand bike had a place in the bedroom of my old apartment. It was mostly seen but seldom used in those early years.

I purchased the bike in 1990 at the retail store where I worked part-time, paying less than $100 after my employee discount.

Perhaps once every month I would take the bike out for a ride to the park or around the neighborhood while never physically challenging myself.

The bike had other purposes, too. I used it as a coat rack and would sometimes hang my damp clothes. Later, I attached a child-carrier seat to it, toting around my young son, Josh.

In recent years, the red mountain bike stood in the garage with two flat tires with a bent crank. I knew I would probably resent if I opted to toss it out. So I held on to this old bike.

Fast forward ahead.

I got involved in the group exercise cycling class offered at my fitness club, going three times a week on the average since June. On most mornings, I would pedal my not-so-old 21-speed mountain bike to get to and from the gym.

In the fall, I went on my first-ever group cycling trip along the American River in Folsom. It was then that I decided to bring the old but lighter in weight – barely – red bike back into service.

It cost me $70 to have the crank fixed and replaced, with Savio, the owner of the Stockton bike store, informing me the repairs alone were worth more than the aging bike.

So be it.

Once repaired, I replaced the tires with a set of the all-terrain type. I was pleased at how the bike performed on that bike trip.

This past Saturday, I once again took the bike out for a long distance ride.

A member of the Stockton Bicycle Club, Mike, led the group of seven enthusiasts on a mapped out trail starting from Bear Creek High. From there, we headed north, using Davis Road to the Lodi area, turning west on Woodbridge Road towards Interstate 5. From Thornton Road, we continued along Peltier Road and hooking up to Blossom Road just outside the town of Walnut Grove. A gas station / convenient store in Thornton served as our rally point prior to the return trip.

I pedaled and pedaled, surging far ahead on the trail while riding the old red bike equipped with plenty of memories.

This ride would be one more for the books.

When all was said and done, I took pride in finishing the estimated 40-mile loop on the bike that I joked was, at one time, nothing more than a “prop.”
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