Monday, April 27, 2009

Letting go

I recently sold an old mountain bike frame of mine. I have to admit that I am hopelessly attached to just about every bike I have now or have ever had. Given that bit of knowledge, this bike was special. The bike frame in question was a Kona Hot, a handbuilt Reynolds 853 steel hardtail from 1997. Only 100 of these frames were made each year and you got to choose your paint colors and scheme to further the mystique of uniqueness.

I rode that bike everywhere from the Mammoth Mtn. downhill course to sky island singletrack in Patagonia, AZ. It's amazing to think about all of the trails in all of the places that I rode that bike. All of the adventures that I had on it, all of the sights that I saw and friends that I made while riding it.

For a long time, I have thought about building this frame up as a single speed mountain bike, but that never seemed to pan out. Then I started riding bikes with disc brakes and full suspension and all kinds of new equipment and technology and the steel hardtail frame started looking more and more dated. Finally, I had to admit that I probably wasn't going to be building it back up and that it needed a new home with someone who would have adventures of their own on it. It's still sad though, but at the same time, passing the bike on to someone else has brought up more memories and recollections about riding it than it ever did hanging from a hook in the basement.

There are some bikes that I just can't fathom getting rid of. I still have my first "real" bike, a 1986 Trek 760 road frame. This was the bike that started me down the road to hopeless bike geekdom that I have been traveling all this time. So much racing and riding. I held on to this frame through thick and thin. A hay bale in a Wilmington criterium trashed the fork, the wheelset and tweaked the derailler hanger, but I still held on to it. It lived with my parents for a few years and has traveled around with my various moves over the years as well.

I have begun resurrecting the Trek recently. First thing was to get a steel fork made for it. I took the advice of a friend and had Justin Pogge of Old Field Cycles in Tallahassee, Florida to make a beautiful lugged steel fork for it. Now my efforts turn towards paint and perhaps a lugged steel stem. I don't feel a need to build it up "original" or make it some kind of restoration project, but rather a way to update and breathe new life into something.

Despite rambling on in a questionably sane way about strong attachments to inanimate objects, it feels good to publicly declare one's geekhood. I sincerely hope that everyone develops the memory sense that comes from such a deep bond of attachment. And now I wait not only to rebuild the Trek of my youth, but to build up the new Surly touring bike that is on its way to the shop. New adventures await!
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