Why, Where, and When I Ride My Bicycle

by Paul Witt

You could say my connection to bicycles started about 90 years ago when my father opened up a small shop in Cleveland Ohio where he did locksmithing work and sold Schwinn bicycles. When I was five years old, we moved to Gettysburg and shortly after that my parents gave me my first bicycle. Of course it was a Schwinn. Growing up, Colt Park in Gettysburg was a great place to ride around town and over the battlefield. On many days I rode to school at Keefauver Elementary. Back then we weren’t into bike tricks. Speed was the thing, whomever had the fastest bike was the best (which was really who had the strongest leg muscles). 

When we moved out of town, other than the occasional trip to a friend’s house, I didn’t ride my bike very often. Upon receiving my driver’s license, I transitioned from being a bike guy to a car guy. When my kids where at the right age I got them bicycles and even one for myself, which I hardly ever used. I bought it used from John Lawver Sr. for $15. At work, one of my jobs was to go to the bank. So every day I would get in my car, drive 1 mile, go to the bank and lunch, and then drive 1 mile back to work. After doing this for 30 years I had an epiphany; I have an unused bike at home that I could leave at work and ride the two miles round trip. So for the past 15 years that’s what I have done almost every day unless it’s raining or below freezing (I’m not a fanatic). My noon-time bike ride is something I really enjoy and look forward to. It clears my mind and lets me view the surroundings in a different manner. Two one-mile bike rides a day is a pitiful amount of exercise but I figure it burns up all the calories in my lunch and I don’t have to worry about parking.   

Being in the hotel business I have seen an increase in the number of people bringing their bikes when they come to visit Gettysburg. The battlefield is a great place to ride. The roads are smooth and there isn’t a lot of competing traffic. I always wear a helmet after hearing Evel Knievel (who was not the brightest person on earth) say, “You got a ten-dollar head, put it in a ten-dollar helmet.” If you are thinking about doing something new, don’t reach for the stars. Set your aim lower and get started.

Paul Witt is a hotel owner/operator who lives in Gettysburg PA and is a great supporter of Healthy Adams Bicycle/Pedestrian, Inc.