Friday, May 29, 2009
It's All About the Bike
Back in the early 90's, the woman that I had been married to for a decade decided that I was not providing the lifestyle that she wanted to live. It took a few years, but eventually the marriage dissolved, and we went our separate ways. I was alone for the first time in many years, and I needed a way to deal with it. So many times in my life, I had turned to various methods of overcoming loneliness, most of which were not that healthy. But fortunately, I had learned how to use more positive addictions to heal myself. This time I turned to my bike; a 1989 Fuso FRX, built by a framebuilder named Dave Moulton. When I bought it, I was working at a Fuso dealership, so even though the FRX is not a custom built frame, I had the opportunity to call Dave and have some features added, including a Cinelli bottom bracket shell with above bottom bracket cable guides, and a Fuso head tube badge (he had gone to decals a few years earlier). I wanted the bike to be bright yellow, but Dave suggested that I add gold pearl, a very nice touch. I built the frame with all Suntour Superbe components, because I didn't want any Shimano, and I couldn't afford Campy. Today, this bike is a dinosaur, but in its day, it was beautiful.
Anyway, enough porn. I started riding. A lot. Tuesday night North Gwinnett Club ride, Wednesday night the Chicken City Cyclist club ride, Thursdays, another N. Gwinnett club ride, and then Friday nights a small ring only ride with some Chicken City guys, followed by pizza at the Monkey Barrell. Saturdays were usually an organized long ride, and then Sunday morning a solo time trial. Same thing, every week. It kept me sane, it kept me somewhat sober. It was the best rehab I could have found.
Time went on. I met G (a Chicken City Cyclist), got married, moved to Idaho. I hooked up with some mountain bikers at Vertical Earth, a local bike shop, and kept riding. I started upgrading my mountain bike, till I finally ended up with my current one, A 4" travel dual squishy that is worth more than my truck. It is a sweet ride, and I love it. Northern Idaho is an amazing place to mountain bike, and I hate that I am going to lose a season due to my knee.
The Fuso is an old bike now. I drool over a Scott carbon fiber bike every time I go into the bike shop. It's lighter (5 lbs), stiffer, faster, newer. It is also out of my price range in my current financial situation. But at this point, that is not a bad thing. After I hurt my knee, I spent some time on eBay, found some good deals, and upgraded the Fuso. It now has a 9 speed drive train with Shimano (yes, Terry, I know) STI shifting. I got one short ride on it before my surgery to make sure everything worked. Everyday, I go down and look at it. I know that it is going to be 12 more weeks before I can ride it, but I just like looking at it. It is still a beautiful piece of craftsmanship, a totally utilitarion machine, a piece of art.
The title of this post, of course, is playing off of Lance's book. And I understand what he meant about it not being about the bike. Rebuilding your life, whether it is a major rebuild, such as recovering from cancer, or from the death of a marriage, or if it is a smaller overhaul, as from knee surgery, it is about how you handle yourself and your priorities. It is making sure that when you recover, you are stronger and deeper.
But it is also about the bike. I know that in a few weeks, I am going to climb on the Fuso and ride, and I know how that bike will feel. I have thousands of miles on that bike, and at times, it has been a part of me. I am looking forward to the ride.