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TDN: A Look Back

Written By CJ

January 16, 2021

TDN: A Look Back

I have several drafts ready for my Tour de Nowhere blog. They are the usually goofy Cathy nonsense and they will be coming soon. Then something happened that made me look back in gratitude and I need to write about it.

When I graduated from high school my mother sold our house (we lived in Scottsdale, AZ) and moved to upstate NY. Home literally left. I was not going to move to NY so I had to find a place to live and start college that same week. (I graduated a semester early). One of my girlfriends from high school, Sharon, told me not to worry I could live in her family’s garage. Little did I know that move would change my life forever. Sharon, her sister Sonja, and their father were avid bicyclists. They sucked me into their cycle mania.

Mr. Schoonover (I could never manage to call him by any other name) helped me pick out my first road bike, a Nishiki International. He helped me negotiate and made sure it fit me. Sharon, Sonja and our bicycle friend Bill bought me my first set of bicycle cleats. They were made by Sidi and they were way more than I could afford. I was thrilled to be able to ride with cleats like all the real cyclists. I could pull up on the pedals and that was just amazing. They had a slot that the pedal went in and then you tightened the strap on the toe clips. So to stop and get your foot out you had to flick the little buckle on the strap with your hand. There were a number of hilarious failures like when my chain fell off on a hill and I fell over and couldn’t reach the buckle. Sharon stood over me and laughed for a moment before she released me.

Because of the Schoonover family I have been an avid cyclist all my life. I often would send notes to Mr. Schoonover via Sharon mostly blaming him for my cross country adventures. She said he enjoyed following my antics. Mr. S died recently and I find myself very sad but also so happy to have known him and been enveloped into their family. I am sure it wasn’t easy to have me around and although I paid some nominal amount of rent the support they gave me far exceeded what I was paying them.

Mr S. bicycled all his life too. In his later years he had a three wheeled bicycle and was out and about on that. We will all miss him.