“If you can stay on it, you can have it.”

Christian Mortensen - Big Bear Lake, CA

“If you can stay on it, you can have it.”

We were at an outdoor BBQ at some new family friends' house, the Butlers, when I was about six. One of the boys showed me this old, rusty, red direct drive (no brakes!) bike in an even older wooden shed behind the barn. I was in love! My dad said, "If you can stay on it, you can have it."

He held the bike up at the top of a small but steep, grassy hill that ended with a rock wall before it abruptly turned into a thick New England maple forest. I got on, he let go and I was off! I hit the rock wall so hard the front fork broke off  and my body ended up hitting a tree just past the rock wall. I was in love with cycling!

Dad got the fork welded back on and I was into all kinds of accidents and adventures! I got a paper route and bought my own  gold Schwinn Sting-Ray with the five speed shifter, hand brakes, and I dressed it up with a banana seat and sissy-bar, and ape hanger handlebars.

When I was a teenager in love I used to borrow a neighbor's tandem and ride to my girlfriends' house, ten miles away, and we'd ride all over town before I had to ride back home.

All my life, my favorite peaceful venture is to ride. I have commuted to many jobs, or just put on huge mileage after work. I watch the Amgen Tour to see some of the places I have ridden old, used Huffy's and such, including Patterson Pass, from Livermore, CA to Tracy and back. Quite a ride!

Now I'm almost 57 and I love to ride my Specialized Roubaix for as long as time allows! What a joy this thing is! My favorite ride is from Big Bear Lake, CA, down and around Lake Arrowhead and back.

My son can finally (almost) keep up with me on a short ride of about an hour. He's seventeen, and an avid cyclist on his Specialized Allez, even though he's a bit accident prone. I constantly encourage him to ride so he can always have this peaceful time to himself.

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