Bikezilla

Ride the Puddles

Bikezilla Profile: Harry

Posted by bikezilla on February 19, 2011


This is the first in a series about the people I meet who, to me at least, define “Bikezilla”.

Those of you who’ve followed Bikezilla on WordPress are familiar with the bane of my riding existence, Badass Old Lady (BOL) and know that I’d really like to do a profile on her (assuming that I can speak through my trembling and that I’m not too ashamed to even look her in the eyes after I pee myself).

But there’s another profile that I’ve really wanted to do; partly because this guy doesn’t fill me with the shrieking fears of Hell, partly because he’s totally badass and amazing.

I met Harry about 3 1/2 years ago, maybe even just a little further back than that, and because we both love cycling in our own personal ways.

Harry owned a pair of bikes when I met him.

His favorite was his steel framed road bike (I think a Schwinn), that he rides during the summer (yes, I’m aware of mixing tenses, but I feel totally justified, so, blah).

The other was a Trek, a trail bike (meaning a mountain bike style frame, but lighter, with 700c tires instead of 26″).

The Trek was at least ten years old and last spring the Trek gave up the ghost.

Harry, as you can guess from his bike selection, isn’t a wealthy guy. So this was a blow for him.

But whoever’s out there watching over everything seems to like Harry on some level.

Just when he needed it he met a guy who was moving out of state and who had multiple bikes. But the guy could only take one of them with him.

He was leaving the next day and for whatever reason offered to sell Harry a beautiful Specialized hybrid (trail bike) for . . . $25! Dude, talk about a steal.

This bike is an upgrade from the Trek in every way. It’s lighter, it has a newer, lighter and better component group, it has better aesthetics. It’s a dream bike for Harry’s winter riding (except that I think maybe some tires with heavier tread might serve him well).

None of this, so far, is especially amazing.

What really blows me away about Harry is that he rides all year long, in ANY weather. You might think, “come on, not really ANY weather” and you’d be wrong.

The only limit Harry has is that he stops taking the trail bike / hybrid out if the non-windchill temp drops below -40F.

Right, 40 degrees below zero before wind-chill.

Harry is 64 years old.

That’s some Bikezilla freakin’ shiite that’ll put even BOL to shame, right there.

But, shhhhhhh, please don’t tell her I said that. I’m afraid of what she might do the next time we cross paths on the trail.

I’ve said to him, “You know you could die in weather like that?”.

His only answer is a shrug.

Riding in 20F is pushing MY limits. I won’t even attempt to hang with Harry.

Thankfully, the temps in Illinois seldom dip that low, though 0F is pretty common come January and February, most years.

Harry has a cousine who is 99 years old and still lives on her own and takes care of herself. I guess “amazing” is just in his genes.

He came here from his home in Clinton, Iowa to go to Tool and Die School, and after school he went into the Army and took himself a little visit to Vietnam.

When he came back he moved back to Chicago on his mom’s advice, because there were more opportunities the fit his interests up here.

So he’s been commuting around Chicago since 1970. He’s such an unassuming guy that you’d never look at him and think “badass”, but he is.

Now he’s studying herbal medicine and yoga, soon to be certified in each. Then his plans are to move back home to Clinton, Iowa, close to his family, and open up his on homeopathic medicine shop and yoga school.

Harry, I know you said you’d be stopping by in the next few days. I’d love it if you’d use the comments section to give us some more details about your life and your cycling.

Good luck, Harry. I’ll miss you when you head back home.

Bikezilla Profile: Harry

Harry

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