Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

08 July 2015

One Of My Teachers

In yesterday's post, you might have noticed Vera behind a repair stand.


No, she wasn't getting fixed.  As good as I felt, she might have done the ride even better than I did.  At least, she didn't shed any tears.  (And, if she had, she wouldn't have claimed that the wind was causing her eyes to well up--something her rider would do!)

That do-it-yourself repair station, with various tools dangling from chains, stands beside a bike shop that holds a special place in my cycling life.

The Peddler of Long Branch, NJ is probably the first shop focused on high-performance bikes (which, in those days, pretty much meant imported ten-speeds)  I ever visited. 

Back in those days, they were in a squat storefront that looked as if it had been built from driftwood. Located just across the street from the beach, it was the sort of place where, had you not seen the bikes in the window, you might have expected to find surfers and latter-day hippies. Actually, in those days, some cyclists fit into either or both of those categories. 

They're still in the same building, though it's expanded and been remodeled more than a bit.  I'm guessing that paint and aluminum siding were done in response to some sort of pressure to reflect the aesthetic (if one could call it that) of nearby Pier Village. 

All right, so it's not terrible-looking.  But it's hard not to feel a little nostalgia for the shop the way it used to be--especially because it's one of the places where I went to learn more about high-quality bikes. 

Anthony "Ducky" Schiavo, the founder, was very patient, thorough and friendly in answering my questions.  I would later learn that, prior to opening the shop, he'd been an elementary-school teacher.  He understood that nobody is born knowing the difference between Reynolds 531 and Columbus tubing, and that most of us didn't--in those days before the Internet or even before foreign cycling publications were readily available--have many reliable sources of information about cycling. 

In other words, he continued his teaching even after he left the classroom. And, given how well he could explain technical details in vivid language, I always suspected he was a very good writer.  

A writer.  A teacher.  A cyclist.  Someone after my own heart, you might say.  A role model.  He definitely furthered my education.

So...Would it surprise you to learn that I bought two bikes-- my Nishiki International and Peugeot PX-10--at the Peddler?  I didn't think so.



  1. Ducky was the best. He introduced and then stoked my now life long fire for cycling and was a tremendous mentor to me. He also taught me how to sell. I will forever be grateful to him. He was brilliant and kind and special.

  2. Mtnwing--I'm not at all surprised that "Ducky" so influenced your life. We lost him too soon.

    Thanks for stopping by!