Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Loaner Bike….

Back in 2004 I bought my first full suspension, disc brake equipped, full on mountain bike. It wasn’t my first mountain bike by any means. I had been riding since the early 80’s and my first “real” mountain bike was a Schwinn High Sierra with Suntour derailluers – boy was that thing the cat’s meow back in the day...from there I had various bikes. A Giant Iguana, Diamond Back Ascent and a Raleigh of some type...

Anyway, I had quit riding for a while and in 03 I decided to get back into it. I bought a K2 Attack 2.0 and started riding the heck out of it. Seeing as this was my first bike with suspension and since disc brakes were still fairly new, I felt like I was on the cutting edge and loved my bike.

I kept her clean, well maintained and when the savings would allow, I upgraded various bits and pieces… lightweight wheels to make her faster, high end carbon bar with bar ends, upgraded shock, better brakes, and so on...I took her out to the nicest places and made every opportunity to take her picture and brag about her to my friends.

Last year though, a new girl came into my life. I built up a single speed and my previous love, the fancy full squish, disc brake equipped, love of my life was relegated to the garage. More and more I began to long for the no-shock, no gears, simplicity of the single speed. All my love and attention went to the new girl, buying her presents and trinkets to make her feel pretty….
She received all my attention and most of my ride time (unless of course I was out with the roadbike)

In an effort to show her she still had a place in my life, I brought the old girl out of retirement as “the loaner bike”. My rationale was that hey, at least she’s getting out of the house. I had her tuned up and cleaned, lubed and prepped by the bike shop – sort of like a spa day for bikes.

In the beginning, I’d only loan her to my riding friends that had a short term need. Either their bike was in the shop or they had some last minute malady that they hadn’t planned for...I was careful who I loaned her to so that she wouldn’t be treated badly or abused.

Unfortunately, like a bad pimp in a B movie, I started being less “particular” about the men that took her out. Pretty soon I was loaning her out to anyone that asked. I had total newbies that had never been mountain biking that would try to downshift under full power on a steep hill, I had guys that repeatedly fell over in the rocks, I had a nephew of mine that jammed her chain in the front crank twice and I stood by idly as he repeatedly yelled at her and blamed her for his lack of skill...never once defending her honor….oh, how the girl I cherished had fallen...

Well, last week, I had the opportunity to take the old gal out for a couple or really good rides in Tahoe and up above Placerville. Luckily for me she doesn’t hold a grudge and took me everywhere I needed to go and did everything I asked of her with no complaints. I did notice though that she was moving a little less than smoothly and I’m sure the incident where she came to a sudden stop and I slammed"boys" against the seat was not something she did on purpose...and, as we drove home together after a full day of playing dirty, it dawned on me that she’s still a lot of fun to take out on the town...err trail...

I decided this week, that all the abuse stops now. No more will I treat her like a 2 bit crack fiend. I’d help her get back to her former glory. So last night I spent the evening tearing her apart in preparation for her redemption. I pulled out the parts bin and took a run by the bike shop for some additional baubles to help with the re-birth..she’ll be better than ever when all is said and done and I promise to never treat her badly again..

I vow to spend quality time with both my dirty girls...of course not sure how I’m going let the road bike know she’s not getting any new upgrades in preparation for the upcoming Coast Classic...I just hope she’ll understand...

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