When writing this issue’s tech articles I was reminded of a story my grandfather enjoyed sharing with me whenever bicycles came up, one that serves me well every time I find myself cursing over yet another flat tire. Growing up poor just outside of Pittsburgh in the Slovak-haven of Braddock PA, my grandfather honed his skills at what has become a time honored family tradition—garbage picking. Piecing together and passing down bicycles was commonplace, as were streetcar tracks and solid rubber tires held together with a wire core.
At some point in the 1920’s he pointed his cobbled together bicycle with an old tire downhill, met some streetcar tracks and with a spectacular thwap! the wire core of the rear tire snapped, smacking my grandfather square in the back and sending him tumbling over the bars to a halt. I don’t believe he ever fully trusted a bicycle again, and was always skeptical yet supportive of my cycling pursuits much later in life.
Cycling technology is spurred on by stories like these, and has reached the point where people are riding ultra light machines to remarkable ends. Not every ride is worth writing home about, but each one can be an adventure. As we roll into our third year of this particular adventure a common theme comes to mind: Thanks. Thanks to those who’ve supported us and to the great history of cycling that came before. And thank you for reading and sharing your stories; keep them coming. This is prime time for urban cycling and you’ve got a front row seat.
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