To wrap up Bike Week, I write to my Uncle who got me into cycling (in my mind at least).
Dear Brant Hayenga (Uncle Brant),
I liked bicycles before I realized I liked bicycles.
As a three year old I was allowed to ride my tricycle 4 houses up the block and back. I thought it was the greatest adventure every time. In the summer before first grade, I learned how to ride a bike without training wheels; the next step in discovering the freedom of bicycles. I rode that little yellow Specialized that you gave me all over the neighborhood and even to the lake a few miles away. Yes miles, an almost incomprehensible distance to an 8 year old. In high school I did that triathlon. Then I moved to the perfect cycling climate of San Diego although it took moving to Austin to fully dive into cycling as a sport and a lifestyle.
As my passion for bicycles grew, I felt like I was following in your footsteps. As if I subconsciously knew you supported my hobby even though I don’t remember talking with you about it much. Actually, I don’t think we’ve ever even rode together (and I’m not sure if I can keep up with you). But in my mind, from building bikes at the local bike co-op to riding a Century, you were encouraging me.
Aunt Connie always says how much I remind her of you. She says we hold ourselves in the same way and have a similar tone to our voice. I think that’s cool. Because you’re cool.
Looking forward to seeing ya’ll soon!
PS: Would classify yourself as a mountain bike guy at heart? I mean you’ve published a book on it. That’s an area of cycling I have almost no experience… not many mountains here in Texas.
Thanks Hayden- I’m honored to have you following in my footsteps (but I must warn you, that you know you are addicted when you try to get your friends and family involved). I started riding when I was 17 (1979) when I got my first bike shop job at the Arlington Bicycle Center, working for Arpheus Webb Cain (his real name). I worked in the bicycle industry up until 1996, when I switched over to education.
Now at 52 years old I still am crazy for bikes and ride every weekend. As for whether I’m more MTB or road, that is like Sophie’s Choice. I love both, but what I am not is a technical rock garden MTB kinda guy. I like MTB rides that are more physically challenging than technically challenging. Hence, the cabin in the Zuni Mountains with more than 300 miles of dirt roads and two-tracks.
I have an extra MTB you could take with you when you go out; if you want to ride in the Zunis. I could come out for the day and take you around for a few hours if you wanted, but that would leave your girlfriend bored (not recommended).
I think you should consider landing a job in the outdoor industry (Specialized, Patagonia, Trek, etc.)