Tom Ross: Pedaling Posse Parade kicks off OktoberWest
September 19, 2009
Steamboat Springs — People piled into the parking lot at Howelsen Hill on Friday afternoon for the kickoff to Steamboat’s OktoberWest, the first Pedaling Posse Parade cruiser bike ride.
At the end of the ride, the event proved a pretty popular excuse to party in Little Toots Park.
In a world where bicyclists are willing to invest thousands of dollars to acquire the latest, greatest carbon fiber, fully suspended, lightest bikes possible, cruiser bikes are a phascinating phenomenon (Yeah, that’s pronounced with a soft “P”.)
John and Amy Stonitsch have retired their mountain bikes and are in love with their Electra cruiser bikes.
“We’ve been on these bikes every weekend for the last five years,” John said. “They make you happy. They make you comfortable.”
He grew up on Long Island, and in the winter he would put a hockey puck in his jacket pocket, sling his hockey stick through loops tied to the frame of his 10-speed and ride off to skate on a frozen pond.
Amy’s Electra Hawaii model is a pink sensation tricked out in a Polynesian theme, right down to tire treads in the pattern of hibiscus blossoms.
Rob Peterson had one of the coolest bikes at the parade, a 1971 Schwinn Stingray that is one year older than he is. A good buddy gave him the bike as an extra-special 28th birthday present. If you didn’t own a Stingray when you were a kid, some punk in your neighborhood did. They stood out with their banana seats, high handlebars and a chrome back rest that evoked a Harley.
Peterson’s pal, Jay Matylecisz, customized the vintage bike with some flame decals and even drilled out a pair of dice and used them to replace the original inner-tube caps.
Karen Van Scoyk has pined all these years after the green Peugeot 10-speed racing bike she bought for herself in high school, but a new bike named Jade has healed the wounds left by a “friend” who permanently borrowed her bike shortly after she moved to Steamboat. Jade is a surfer bike from Huntington, Calif., covered with sunflowers. It has almost succeeded in easing the painful memories of the long lost Peugeot.
“As dorky as that Peugeot was, I rode it everywhere,” Van Scoyk said. “Then, I lent it to someone, and she stole it. I was so (bummed). I still think about that bike.”
Jenette Settle didn’t own her first bike until she was in high school. She made up for it by waiting until her sister, Suzette, was away at school and took Suzette’s Schwinn out of the garage. Just to rub it in, she rode the purloined bike over the dirt.
“I’ve been in love with mountain bikes ever since,” she said.
But promise you won’t tell Suzette, because to this day, she doesn’t know about Jenette and her bike.
Cathy Neelin, who once owned a pretty blue Schwinn American three-speed, has a theory to explain why some people still have the bicycles of their youth and others are left to daydream about theirs.
“If your parents didn’t move very often and didn’t clean out the garage,” she said, perhaps you’re still riding your childhood bike. Otherwise, probably not.