Riding a Bicycle


I have something in my life that helps to keep me together – physically, mentally and spiritually. It’s called a bike. Others have gardening, yoga, fishing, horseback riding – I have biking. You gotta have something because life takes its toll if you don’t. I don’t care how spiritual you are, if you don’t have something that gets you out of yourself and into nature, you’re dying on the inside, and it shows to your friends and family. (Photo courtesy Bridge Incredible Challenge Bike Ride at bridgeride.com)

gold Schwinn Collegiate

Like most people, I started biking when I was a kid. But when my knees blew out from playing too many contact sports, and all I had left for exercise was biking, rollerblading and swimming, I turned a corner. Suddenly my bike was more than two wheels – it was a life-saver, a friend. (Photo courtesy Bike Boom Refurbished Bikes at bike-boom.blogspot.com

Waitsel's black Bianchi Alfana road bike

My first bike as an adult was a gold Schwinn with chrome fenders. It was a beaute. I rode that thing up hills and down, which probably wasn’t good for my knees. Eventually I bought a black Bianchi road bike made of steel. Biking is actually one of the best things you can do for your knees; but, if you’re going to be riding on hills, you need a bike with gears. The thing that caused me to switch from my “cruiser” to a road bike was something called the “Bridge-to-Bridge;” or, as it was affectionately known to aficionados at the time, “100 Miles of Pure Hill.”

Bridge to Bridge Incredible Challenge Bike Ride - Starting Line in Downtown Lenoir

Today, it’s known as the “Bridge Incredible Challenge Bike Ride” (http://bridgeride.com) and starts in downtown Lenoir, NC. But when it first began, back in 1989, it was called the “Bridge-to-Bridge Incredible Challenge Bike Ride,” because it started at the Catawba River Bridge on US 321 and ended at the bridge atop Grandfather Mountain on US 221. (Photo courtesy Aaron West at SteepClimbs.com)

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