Hi! My name is Scott Ryder, and I’m a long-time resident of the North Shore. I’m also a cyclist and a photographer, and I’m passionate about both.
Knowing about these passions of mine, my friend Mike Rogers of Big Mike’s Bikes asked me to contribute some guest posts to this blog. So I’m pretty excited to start writing to you every few weeks about cycling and cycling safety, and sharing some of my photos, too.
Like Mike, I have some ideas about how beautiful towns like Gloucester can help more people, young and old, either pick up the sport for the first time or maybe drag that old bike out of the garage, get it tuned up (by heading down to the pop-up shop at Stage Fort Park or just calling for mobile service!) and jump on the saddle. Boom: instant happiness.
I’m not a competitive cyclist myself, but I love photographing the Grand Prix of Gloucester every fall (you can see some examples on my Instagram account). I’ve found that you don’t need to ride fast or long to enjoy the sport; I just ride to relax and slow down my life. And I love how cycling lets you explore roads you usually wouldn’t by car.
I started cycling early on in my life. I think I was off training wheels by age four or five. In the ’60s, that’s how kids got around. I wasn’t driven to school; I walked or, if the weather was warm enough, rode my bike. Spring was the season of anticipation, looking over your bike, pumping up the tires, brushing off the winter dust. If you were lucky your Dad would take you to the local bike shop or the Western Auto store. Ahh, that smell of new tires and inner tubes!
For some reason, back then boys’ bikes were always red, black or maybe green. Girls’ bikes were blue, or maybe white. And a boy would never, ever ride a girl’s bike — the wrong color was as unthinkable as a step-through frame!
You didn’t see as much recreational cycling then as you do now. Adults would ride to work or the train station, kids would ride to school or buzz around the neighborhoods on weekends. No one wore helmets and there were few if any bicycle locks.
Times have changed. Helmets are a must, as are locks if you leave your bike anywhere unattended. I never see kids riding to school on their bikes or in the neighborhood. However, recreational riding has grown into a favorite activity for the adults. Summer roads are packed on weekends with both cars and cyclists. Unfortunately we don’t always get along.
A lot of what I’ll be writing about here centers around just that: bicycling safety! And that includes improved manners among cyclists and motorists. Just a little understanding and patience on both sides can save lives.