By Janet Matthews
Illustration by Adriane Hairston
It was in the early 1990’s when we started riding bikes, specifically for my husband’s health. His couch potato life style was literally killing him. We lived on the high plains in Texas, home to abundant sunshine (inexhaustible source of Vitamin D) and strong winds (great for developing strong cardio and calf muscles), which became a definite negative when the spring sandstorm season arrived. Even though there were ample ribbons of flat paved roads to ride, we opted to purchase mountain bikes, based on our doctor’s suggestion. We were embarking on a sport we knew absolutely nothing about.
Not unlike lots of folks, we started out with department store bikes. As our skills improved, so did our equipment. Our first “real” mountain bikes were aluminum frame, front suspension hardtails. Our bikes carried us over sandy flatlands full of thorns as well as trails in the canyons of our home state. We rode singletrack most of the time, and felt that mountain biking was our ticket to better health.
Our biking lives changed when I received a promotion that took us away from our home of 33 years. Our new location boasted weather that was conducive to riding almost year round—no more sandstorms! Even though mountain biking was still our first love, we decided it was time to take a shot at the local roads. There were a number of road cycling clubs at our new location, providing a variety of rides throughout the week. With the addition of road bikes to our stable, we spent many weekends riding back roads and some urban areas that included paved trails and streets designated for bicycles. Life was good!