Tag: Big Wheel

Spidermonkey of the Week – Jenny Lynch

by Jenny Lynch

Jenny Lynch and Lindsey Fahey

Jenny Lynch and Lindsey Fahey

@Ken Dorado – I see your Big Wheel® Night Rider and raise you a Cabbage Patch Kids Big Wheel®.  Nothing screams “badass” like a purple and teal “bike” with flower stickers and a basket for your toys.  (Side note: Anyone who has seen my current bike may notice that my style has not changed much over the years and I still tote around just as much luggage).

Cabbage Patch Kids Big Wheel

Cabbage Patch Kids Big Wheel

Growing up on a small cul-de-sac in Chicago provided an excellent training ground for riding.  My routine consisted of going around in small circles over and over and over and…..  I looked forward to the time when I could take on the wild yonder past the end of the block.  When I was finally able to graduate from my Big Wheel to the big leagues (i.e. a Huffy), I was ecstatic.  My first “real” bike was a lovely shade of neon pink.  It was, of course, adorned with handlebar streamers and spoke beads, a natural continuation of “badassness.”  Every 4th of July the kids in the neighborhood would decorate their bikes and form one large crazy train that rolled throughout the hood.  I remember thinking that life could not get any better.

4th of July Kids Parade

4th of July Kids Parade

(I’m not this old, but I found this picture online of my neighborhood walk/bike parade from back in the day.  Cool to think of how far back it has been a tradition!)

My next big bike milestone came when I outgrew the neon pink machine.  My parents got me another Huffy (nothing like building brand loyalty at an early age).  It was purple with neon pink accents and a neon pink paint splash effect on the frame… much more sophisticated than its predecessor.  This bike also had the potential for pegs.  Yes, pegs, the ultimate bike accessory!  My peg dreams were quickly quashed by my parents (and in retrospect… probably for the best).  I loved my pegless bike in all its glory for many years.  I even loved it after I unsuccessfully tried to stand up AND let go of the handlebars at the same time [fail…scars].

Come junior high, my purple bike with neon splashed paint was not as cool looking as I remembered.  It was even rejected by a bike thief in the neighborhood (three bikes unlocked and out in the open, only two were taken… hmm, was it that bad?!  How rude…).  When I started high school, I retired from my amateur bike career and sadly there was a long hiatus before my love for biking was rekindled.

Mountain Biking!

Mountain Biking!

Fast forward many years and, on a whim, I purchased my first road bike.  Similar to my Big Wheel, there was some amount of purple and flowers involved.  After a couple more years, Lindsey Fahey decided that it was time to be legit with this bike thing (reference Fahey SMOTW).  After much trepidation, I joined her and a lovely group of ladies on a Tuesday morning ride.  Despite having no clue what I was doing, I was so drawn to how friendly everyone was and how accepting they were of such a flaming amateur.  The more I went on SM rides and met people, the more I grew to love the team and the whole underground bike culture that I had previously evaded me.

Two monkey years later, I have learned a ton, I am still NOT “so pro”, but overall I have had a wonderful time and look forward to many more years pedaling away.  When I sat down to write this I was flooded with amazing memories from my childhood that involved bikes, fun, and friendship.  Reflecting on the past few years and my time with Spidermonkeys, that continues to be the theme.
wind farm

Spidermonkey of the Week – Ken Dorado

by Ken Dorado

Hi, I'm Ken

Hi, I’m Ken

My fondest memory on a bike was when my dad would take me on a ride. Placing me in the child seat on the back of his mountain bike. Family and bikes – that’s what it’s all about. Riding through the streets near our house, feeling the wind and the rush of speed gave me the feeling of freedom and all that I was exposed to during those early summer days. I was lucky to realize early on that this was a healthy escape. I was in nirvana in a kids bikes seat.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve had some form of human powered transportation. My first ride was the special edition Big Wheel® Knight Rider™. Since then I’ve been addicted ever since.

My original ride

My original ride

After wearing off the plastic tires on my Big Wheel®, I graduated up to a red BMX bike in my teens. There, I learned to do my first wheelie.

Diamondback Zetec

Diamondback Zetec

After graduating high school, I moved onto college at Purdue where I learned the real meaning of owning a bike. Getting to class in a lot less time than on foot. Every minute counted for much needed rest. I enjoyed riding around with my Diamondback Zetec.

After college… I had it all… a travelling full-time job, a girlfriend and an overweight frame to show how “happy” I was. For some reason, I didn’t feel fulfilled and so I ditched the first two (tried to get rid of the third) and found a new religion – amateur racing.

I was first introduced to racing by my friend Ted Ramos and I had the honor of riding with him on Team Get-A-Grip. He’s a great coach at Well-Fit and dear friend. This is where I did my first set of mountain bike and Xterra races. If you’ve never done an Xterra race you need to. Xterra racing consists of a small tight-knit community and you are so close to nature. Nothing beats adventure endurance racing when combined with swimming, mountain biking and trail running. I’ve had my ups and downs with endurance racing, especially from my first triathlon. As easy as a doing a triathlon sounds, getting towed in by boat mid-swim was definitely a reality check and game changer for me. At the end of the day it added fuel to the fire.

Xterra World Champion Conrad “The Caveman” Stoltz and I

Xterra World Champion Conrad “The Caveman” Stoltz and I

If you thought it couldn’t get better than that, enter the world of Chicago Cyclocross (CX). Better known as the ChiCrossCup. What better way to train during the off cycling season with fun races!? I found CX as a great way to find release and decompress from a long year of hard criterium racing and triathlons.

Jackson Park - Date: 2009

Jackson Park – Date: 2009

Indian Lakes - Date: 2010

Indian Lakes – Date: 2010

After a year or two of racing with Get-a-Grip I ended up rolling with Team Iron Cycles. Although these guys were way more hard core than I, hanging with this crew made me a better all around cyclist. Here, I ended up taking on more road races seriously, especially criteriums. Although I wasn’t big into travelling to races at the time; I’ve really enjoyed going to the Tour of Galena. It’s the trifecta of road races. You get the opportunity to race a time trial, road race and criterium all in one weekend and take in the views of a gorgeous town.
This also happened to be my first experience hanging with the Spidermonkeys.

Tour of Galena - Criterium - Date: 2012

Tour of Galena – Criterium – Date: 2012

I ended up rooming with Spidermonkeys like Sara Rice, Peter Monko and Hayes Sanborn. There was an air about their demeanor which was down to earth but when they brought their game into the race their performance was nothing short of epic.

After getting to know some of the Spidermonkey’s I knew this was a special crew. I had to join them. Not only because of their diverse membership, which consists of volunteers to racers. The Spidermonkeys magically checked all the boxes of what I was looking for in an cycling group:

✔ – Vision

✔ – Great leadership (Dean & Vanessa – You rock!)

✔ – Strong relationships with members

✔ – Support for social causes

✔ – Tight-knit cycling and social community (Never miss a group ride or outing)

✔ – Humor (Hey, it goes a long way)

✔ – Great partnerships

But what they most represent to me. An extended family – ✔

Goose Island Dock Party - Date: 2013

Goose Island Dock Party – Date: 2013

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