I got my first bike when I was 6 years old. It was given to me as a gift when my family lived in Texas. I didn't know how to ride a bike, so Mom and Dad installed training wheels for me. With the training wheels, I had a hard time catching up to my friends who were all much faster. The training wheels didn't come off until I returned to Hong Kong at the end of that summer. From that day on, I rode my bike almost everyday from spring to autumn. As I outgrew my BMX, my parents bought me a youth-size road bike. When we moved to Vancouver, we gave away my bikes. I was very sad. Every now and then, I would go to my local bike shop and stare at the $800-dollar road bikes there. Mind you, that was 24 years ago, and I was only 14 years old.
But growing up in Vancouver also meant excellent trails for mountain biking, and throughout my university years, I would hit the pavement or trail on my awesome Kona Hahanna bike. Until it was stolen. Luckily my graduation gift from Uncle Galen was used to buy myself an old Kawasaki mountain bike. On the first day, I converted it to a commuter bike by swapping out the tires. When I graduated from UBC, I was in very poor health. My solution was to ride my bike everyday for 40 or 80km from my home in Kitsilano to Stanley Park and back. That Kawasaki bike took me to places that I never thought I would bike to. By the end of the summer, I had gained 20lbs of muscle and my health was much improved.
In 2007, I decided to get back onto riding road bikes. Partly I was inspired by Lance Armstrong's seven wins at the Tour de France, but partly it was just because I wanted to ride fast, and my mountain/commuter bike just wasn't cutting it anymore. I bought a second-hand Cannondale R600 on eBay. It was the most expensive bike I have ever bought, but it was also fantastic! Soon I was doing longer rides (Ride for Heart, Pedal 100, Wheels for Wellness, Pedal 100 again with my friend Duncan). The first I rode 100km seemed like an impossible task, but as I got stronger and more experienced, it got easier.
My Cannondale was actually about one size too big for me, so in 2009, I bought a carbon fibre frameset on eBay, and swapped most of the parts from the Cannondale onto this new bike. I've been riding this bike since then. Each year, I spend a little bit of money to upgrade the bike, and now the bike even looks different from the original 2009.
These days I longer see Armstrong as my inspiration, with the doping allegations against him coming to light. But I still watch the Tour de France, watching Cadel Evans, Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome overcome their struggles to win the race.