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Bicycles, A Superior Invention

I have used a bicycle most of my adult life for fun, transportation, fitness and a part of my lifes work. I have worked at least 15 years in the bicycle industry and more as a volunteer in clubs, puting on events and teaching bicycling use, repair and racing to interested people. From my biography page at http://lennyh.com but not quoted:

I lived during 1973 in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, California, where I worked at a drug treatment facility called Tarzana Psychiatric Hospital. Life was easy and as most 22 year olds I lived day to day like the proverbial grasshopper of Aesop’s fables. Then came to America the Arab oil embargo. At least the Arab countries were blamed for an immediate increase of gas price from $.30 to $1.00 per gallon.

People were led to believe that there was not enough gas in storage, so people in Los Angeles could only buy gas on odd or even days, depending on our licence plate, and often they could only buy 5 gallons at a time. The stores also had empty food shelves, as trucking slowed to a crawl. Daily trips to the store were now hit or miss in getting food. This experience taught me some long remembered lessons. As solutions to these problems came up, they often were simple and effective. The immediate food problem solved itself with buying larger quantities of food when it was available. Next in importance was getting around. The bicycle proved the solution to that problem.

I have commuted by bicycle from 1973 to about 2000. I raced bicycles from 1981 at age 30 to about 1990, never too seriously but as well as I could. A memorable series I raced and crewed was is the Arizona Challenge. Held from about 1983 to 1987, it was a 24 hour race covering 325 miles and including a total of 17500 feet of climbing. It only took me 23 hours to finish in 1986, the race would be won by Jim Elliott in 17 hours and 45 minutes that year. Another memorable race was at the Mountain Bike state championships of 1991 in Arizona south of Flagstaff. I raced a single speed of my fabrication in the Ironman race. Sam Houston, my 8 yr old son at the time raced the 15 mile race also. At one point while riding in 2nd place I heard the whisperings of a voice saying to go back and find Sam. On the second time of hearing this distinct command I did go back and found Sam who had gotten lost, found his way and riding happily along. We were happy to finish the last half of the race together.

Wanting to be more involved with the vehicle I loved to use, I worked in bike shops in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Traditionally bike frames were brazed not welded, so I learned to make frames using fillet brazing. I specialized in fillet brazing of thinwall cro-moly tubing and built frames and trailers to pull by bicycle. Over the years I built over a dozen bikes a dozen trailers and numerous contraptions of bicycle origins. Lenny does not commute now (it is missed) as a back condition has slowed him some. June 2008 I discovered motorized bicycles and have now built 4 different bikes to try and get back into 2 wheel commuting.

This is just an introduction to bicycles and how I have incorporated them into my life. My wonderful wife Nancy also has used the bicycle for transportation as I did not have a car at one point in time. With 4 children we were able to survive almost 3 years during the early 1990’s in Mesa Arizona with its desert dry heat with no personal vehicle. I figure I have over 100,000 miles on bicycle for transportation and fun. I used a bike with trailer to deliver 250 newspapers for a couple of years.


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