Bike rider by Immortal Shots

We asked a bunch of people, "What was it like buying your first bike?" and the responses, while wide-ranging, were pretty touching.

Hardship.. and freedom

Some wrote tales of hardship and achieving freedom by bike.  There's nothing quite like pedaling through breeze on two wheels while powered by your your own motion.  Historically, they also played a huge role in mobility for women.  So much so that Susan B. Anthony called the bike a Freedom Machine.

Here are some of the touching stories shared by those who chose to tell us about the time when they bought their first bike.

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It was a bike co-op in Chicago when I was in college. I was tired of walking and taking the train. The employees didn't really help, but I didn't need them. I found my new friend right away. I took her for a test ride to be absolutely sure, and after paying $68 I pedaled to class. I loved the smell of the city on a bike, the feeling of freedom, the air rushing past me. I gave that bike to my sister when she moved in with me to start college.

Ian Los Angeles

I was 16 and had worked all summer to buy myself a bike. Before that I had always walked everywhere I went and when you live in MS, it can be pretty draining. I would be tired before I even got to work. I bought my bike and was so proud of it. I remember feeling so free as I rode my bike to school and work. I had it for 10 years and when I left home to get married I passed it on to my sister who loved it just as much as I did.

Laurie Biloxi

i remember as a kid i got a job stuffing envelopes for the winter so i can save up for my haro shredder. i still have it, first thing i ever earned on my own.

Michael Commack

My first time buying a bike as an adult happened eleven years ago. My brother had recently passed away and I needed a reason to go outside and live again. I found a vintage Schwinn road bike on Craigslist that captured my heart and then found a local ladies cycling group. It was amazing - being out on a bike again, feeling like a kid, and making so many new friends. The cycling group disbanded years ago, but many of us still get together. And the bike? I've added a few more to the corral, but that one is, and will always be, a favorite. It always brings me joy when we go on adventures.

Nic Tempe

I must have been in 8th grade. My school was on the other side of town, and I wanted a way to commute other than by bus. I scraped together some $100, and bought a yellow BMX bike. It had a candescent front light powered by a dynamo that rolled along the rim of the wheel. We've come along way since 1992!

Eitan Columbia

I had a lot of bikes that were hand me downs or garage sales finds and swaps. Buying a bike new was my reward to self for getting a real job out of college. Turned out I hated working in the city and moving from meeting to meeting but I loved that bike to death. It took a year to qualify for vacation but as soon as I could claim it, I took that bike for two weeks across europe and had the time of my life. When I got back, I ditched the job (but kept the bike). Good thing, too, as I met my soon to be wife while riding that bike around canada.

Greg Boulder Creek

My first bike, a fuchsia Electra Townie 3 speed cruiser, changed my life. I was really depressed after a bad breakup. Riding it increased my serotonin, made me more social, increased my ability to get around SF, decreased my time getting around SF and using it to commute set a positive tone for my work day and a welcome way to relax at the end of the day. Riding my bike changed my life in so many ways. It maybe even saved my life.

Jill San Francisco

I bought my first bike when I was 12 years old. I was working my ass off at my father's cafeteria and earn enough money to buy something bigger. So I decided to buy a new bike. I was very proud of my self. This was one the best purchase I made at my teenager ages. 🙂

Peteris Riga

I don't remember my first bike; I was a mere 5 year old. But I remember my first bike I purchased as an adult. I was living on the beach, and I'd gotten into a bit of trouble and lost my license. I bought a beautiful sky blue cruiser with a white leather seat. I still have it, and I call it "The Cadillac"

Brittany Brevard

My first 'fitted' steed was to start an amazing journey, a nearly 13 year effort to raise awareness and fight ALS, riding the Tri State Trek for years, founding the Iron Horse Challenge in Ohio, and leading to 'rolling' for the Blazeman Foundation on Triathlons. Then in 2014 a sudden cardiac event left me dead on a charity event...when I recovered I didn't miss a beat and I'm still riding as a daily commuter all year around, Spring to Winter, and dragging my 4 kids around as well. I've had a early prototype of your MonkeyLectic light and its rides with me everyday, rain or shine, snow or heat. Always secretly wanted a program-able one so I could continue to share the End ALS message even in the dark. A fitting metaphor. Blaze on!

Shawn Columbus