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Pocket Rocket - 37
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Date: October 18, 1999
Posted by: Fred Matheny
Email: FMatheny@asimba.com
My most memorable ride on a Bike Fridays

I have had a Bike Friday Pocket Rocket for six years and as a member of the cycling press, I've had plenty of chances to ride it in memorable events.

In my tenure as Training and Fitness Editor for Bicycling Magazine I did rides like the Hotter'n Hell Hundred. In my present incarnation as Senior Editor for Asimba.com (a fitness lifestyle Web site with free training plans for cycling and other sports) I rode Lon Haldeman's Desert Camp in Tucson, hammering out 550 miles in six days. It even handled eight consecutive days of rain in Ireland on what the local racers called "hard roads"-bumpy, barely paved tracks through the bogs and over the Connemara Mountains. With fenders and slightly wider tires, Bike Friday proved the equal of everything the leprechauns could throw at it.

But my most memorable ride on Bike Friday didn't take place in an exotic location. Instead, it was a prosaic 100 miler in Ohio. You see, I grew up in northern Ohio but moved to Colorado in 1970. So when I go back to the Midwest to visit relatives, I always pack along my Pocket Rocket. On this occasion I left Cleveland at dawn, picked my way south through the urban sprawl and headed west into Lorain County where I grew up. The air was clear, a light mist rose from the fields and the summer humidity had been washed away by a cold front. I cruised the flat farm roads, meandered through tall fields of corn that shielded me from a pesky west wind and marveled at how the hills of my youth had been dwarfed in my perceptions by years of riding real mountains in Colorado.

Outside of Elyria, I turned onto a newly-paved bike path, part of a rails-to-trails conversion. It led to my old hometown, Kipton, a hamlet of several hundred people. If you've never tried it, I highly recommend riding a bike around the town where you grew up. The last time I had ridden the streets of Kipton, I was a kid on a balloon-tired Roadmaster. Now I was older-quite a bit older-and the bike was lighter, faster and much more sophisticated. But I could still feel something of that sense of freedom and possibility that is the essence of cycling and, come to think of it, the essence of youth as well. Down by the old railroad station, past the house we lived in, through the tiny downtown, a side trip to the elementary school, now closed. A bike is the perfect nostalgia machine and if you don't have an easily packable Bike Friday to tote on your homecomings, you'll miss the ride of a lifetime.

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