Monday, June 26, 2006

Why did I quit riding, and why am I about to start up again?

This was a question asked of me recently. When I left the bike business in 1993 I also scaled down my lifestyle and got rid of most of my possessions, even my bike. I moved into a small studio apartment and there was no room for a bike.

I took up running to stay in shape; I found if I ran for 30 or 45 minutes I could get a good work out. On a bike my ride would take much longer than this, so running gave me more time for other things.

I am no stranger to running; in the 1970s when I lived in England my chosen sport was cyclo-cross. For those non biking readers of this blog; cyclo-cross is the winter sport of cycling and basically you find a course that is un-ridable on a bicycle and you hold a bike race on it. Riding cross country on grass and mud, and when the terrain gets too hard to ride you dismount and run with the bike on your shoulder.

(Above) See what I mean about un-ridable!

Cyclo-cross suited me for several reasons. During the summer I was busy building frames and had no time to train and race. The cyclo-cross season ran from October to February and as training I could get by running five miles each evening, and riding cyclo-cross at weekends.

In 1970 while on a training ride at night I was hit head on by a motorcycle taking a corner on the wrong side of the road. My right fore-arm was shattered in three pieces and I still have a stainless steel plate in my arm to this day. My arm was in a cast for five months; after that I was a little wary of riding in the dark.

Cyclo-cross events are usually held on a circular course about a mile in length. You race for one hour plus a lap. The slower riders will be lapped by the faster riders several times during the race, but each rider has the number of laps counted, and at the end of an hour a bell is sounded and everyone does one more lap.

One hour cyclo-cross is the equivalent of eighty miles on the road in terms of effort and energy expended. Pros and amateurs rode in the same event and some of the bigger events would have riders from France, Belgium, and Switzerland competing. I did alright in cyclo-cross; became skilled in the many techniques required of the sport like dismounting and mounting the bike without stopping, and because of this I could beat riders who were younger and fitter than me.

So this is why I have no problem with running or rather I didn’t until about three years ago when my hip started to give me trouble. I had to give up running and take up walking. Now walking doesn’t do it for me anymore; I walk as far as twelve miles taking three hours which is too much time out of my day. So time to get back on the bike again.

I bought a Fuso frame recently that I built in 1986; figured I better get one before they got too expensive. A good friend of mine sent me enough components to build it up; all Campagnolo SR from the 1980s; I’m just short a bottom bracket, but one is on its way to me now so watch this space for updates and pictures.


How do i get to my old stuff said...

I guess it's still not quite clear to me why you stopped riding. I guess I'm assuming you love bikes because of your building history, and it's hard to conceive of giving them up merely because running is more effecient workout-wise. On the other hand, you don't mention what you were focusing on, so it was probably quite compelling.

Will you take up some type of competition again?

Dave Moulton said...

My creative passion was in building bicycle frames; my entire business was linked to bicycle dealers throughout the US. By the early 1990 most of those dealers had stopped selling road frames and switched over completely to MTBs.

I felt abandoned; rather like a spouse who had been dumped for a new love. I moved on and found a new love myself; a new creative passion, namely writing and songwriting. And just as when you move on from a broken relationship you don’t need remnants of the past (In this case bicycles) hanging around the remind you of how things used to be.

I am not interested in competition anymore, just want to stay healthy and continue to enjoy what I am doing now.

How do i get to my old stuff said...

Thanks for filling us in. Looking forward to seeing pics of your ride. Cheers.

VintageSpin said...

I think part of the price an artist pays when they become known is their passion. That which drives them to create can be taken over by marketability; what they esteemed becomes distain.
It can happen to athletes also. Lance saying he "hated the last couple of Tours" says more about what was necessary than what he loved to do.
So it is with riding; I had quit for a few years. But I got back on, and it seems with the same energy I had in my prime.
Racing, business doesn't get in the way of my ambition now.
Welcome back Dave.