For about eight years, in another century, Boulder was my home town. Whenever I get back there it brings on a flood of bittersweet memories, all those long lost friends and old haunts. These feelings are greatly intensified by the fact that the little town hasn't really changed all that much in at least 20, 30 years. Many of the exact same establishments we used to frequent are still around. I am happy to confirm the continued surprising existences of Tra Ling's Oriental Cafe, Bova's, Suds n' Duds, Jalino's Pizza, Red Letter Books (no way, seriously?) and especially the Full Cycle bike shop, which was started by a helluva nice guy back in the 1980s when we lived over on Pleasant Street and our housemate Tina T. worked there part-time. With so many shops coming and going since then, it's impressive that little Full Cycle still kicks.

Christie and I ordered some long sandwiches from Yellow Sub (which technically isn't called Yellow Sub any more but is otherwise almost exactly the same place) and hauled them across the street to one of my favorite old hanging-out spots on campus, next to the pond. There were still loads of turtles in the pond (Varsity Lake) and a pair of friendly geese crossed about sixty feet of water to say howdy and see about eating some of our sandwich bread.

On the bridge over this very pond in 1923-24, a young Glenn Miller courted his future bride, Helen Burger, before pawning his trombone and buying a bus ticket to L.A. The scene was reenacted 30 years later by Jimmie Stewart and June Allyson right there on Varsity Bridge in The Glenn Miller Story. Miller himself, like so many others, disappeared somewhere over the English Channel during World War II.

After lunch we coasted off the Hill and into town, then turned onto Pearl Street with me gushing out a running commentary. "I used to go there all the time!" "I painted that house!" "I destroyed that fence after wandering into the yard in a drunken stupor!" Etc. Our old house on the 1900-block of Pearl, along with the stereo repair place and antique shop that were next door, have been replaced by one of those newfangled modular condo buildings. The house was an old recording studio, some years before I lived there with four girls and a load of cats, and some big acts recorded in there, including the Stones and Prince. At least, that's what notorious Boulder transient Thomas the King told me circa 1990, before pouring a pint of whisky into a stainless steel bowl and gulping it down.

It wasn't long before we were north-bound on 36, with Christie aka "The Blue Flame" propelling her bicycle at roughly 372 m.p.h. and me tucked into her wind shadow, liike an empty freight car pulled by a locomotive. That's usually the way it goes with us. Thirty-six is a traditional route for Boulder's legions of competitive cyclists, so C. was soon passing one clubman after another with a sweet gentle On Your Left and an incongruous semi-truck wind blast. It's a good thing they didn't have doors, or they would have lost them [paraphrasing The Cyclist's Manifesto, p. 45]. I often wonder when we ride like this if people think she is trying to get away from me, as she is rolling so fast, and I look so much like a crazed unshaven strangler on her wheel.

Eventually, using some combination of Neva Rd., Monarch Rd., the Diagonal Highway and what-all (the land northeast of Boulder is a rec cyclist's playground, with virtually all possible routes well-pedaled; see my book Road Biking Colorado's Front Range for a few variations), we zig-zagged our way to the Longmont Museum and Cultural Center, and their old bike exhibit "150 Years of Gears."

The exhibit was smallish but well put-together, with some fine examples of bikes from many different eras and for many different purposes. If you love bikes it's worth a look. Make a ride out of it, and bring a long sandwich.

150 YEARS OF GEARS. At the Longmont Museum through July 3, 2010. Admission: $5 for adults and $2 for kids 5-12. Next free day June 12. Click here for more info and more photos.

An 1880s Victor safety in front of a newer Pierce Arrow shaft drive. The victor was one of the first non-high-wheeled bikes, and you can see they still hadn't quite figured out the handlebar height. Notice also the elaborately suspended saddle. The early safeties were equipped with solid rubber tires.

This type of rear suspension, on an early 1900s Pierce Arrow shaft drive machine, appears quite similar to that on Christie's fancy new Moots mountain bike.

While kids' bikes have been made to look like motorcycles since the early part of the 20th century, here's a bike designed to invoke the space age. In the future we will ride in space ships styled to look like bicycles.

I was about eleven years old when faux dirt bikes hit the scene and tried to blow my little mind. My next door neighbor had a yellow Yamaha Moto-bike with the rear shocks kind of like this Kawasaki version and I couldn't function properly due to my extreme coveting. Behind the fake motorcycle, an early BMX bike.

Here's the bike that Andy Hampsten used to win the 1988 Giro d'Italia. He was on this very bike during his epic win-securing ascent of the Gavia in the driving snow, one of the more well-known stages in the history of stage racing. For future trivia reference, that stage was actually won by Erik Breukink, not Hampsten. And the "Huffy" is actually a Land Shark.

Check out the brake lever position on this 1940s touring bike. I think I'll go set mine up like that right now.