Erica Young has not been on her bicycle, dubbed “the red pony,” in years. But seeing how long it has been around and how many miles on the tires, the aptly named two-wheeler has earned a bit of a break.

The 1956 Schwinn may not have the vibrant red color it did when Young received it for Christmas, but that is the way she wants it. The 56-year-old bicycle is almost completely original save for the seat and the soon-to-be replaced tires.

But those upgrades were a must because Young has big plans again to use the bike she “rode rough” through her youth and college years.

“I rode it everywhere,” said Young, who received the bike as a gift when she was 7. “I always kept it around because I rode it constantly.”

The extended break is the first in decades, when before she would ride it around Tucson as she was growing up, and then all over the University of Arizona campus as the years passed by.

“There’s something about riding a bike — you can smell everything and it’s just really fun,” she said. “When I was younger I would tell my mom I was going out and would take the bike with me. Me and my friends would ride it to the stables and do things that mom never knew about.”

Young, 62, moved to Sahuarita, Ariz., just south of Tucson, after college and was only one of a handful of women to work in the mines at the time. She said there was a law that kept women out of the mines but she pursued her goal by shoveling dirt and rock, and eventually became an operator.

She and her husband moved to Ahwatukee Foothills in 1992 and have been here ever since.

Her current goal is to ride “the red pony” if she has to go anywhere within a 2-mile radius of her home. To get it back to working condition, she is having it tuned up and new tires put on at South Mountain Cycles.

“I used to ride her all over,” Young said. “I want to get back into it. Riding is amazing and this bike has always waited for me.”

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or troemhild@ahwatukee.com

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