Ti BikeJust over eight years ago, the missus and I were expecting our first kid.  And as fat and out-of-shape as I am now, I was even more grotesquely overweight then.  I was over my ideal weight by about 50lbs or so.  Absolutely no athletic ability to speak of, I got winded walking up the three steps to the front door of my house.  I was fat, repulsive, and I realized that this was no way to greet my firstborn.

So I bought a $300 entry-level mountain bike and started huffing it around town.  Then I took the bike the dirt and decided that a $300 bike wasn’t something I should use to bomb around these dirt trails.

As I have a slightly obsessive personality, one thing led to another, and eight years later, I ended up with eight bikes in my garage – each one quite different from the next.  Dual suspension, geared hardtail, singlespeed hardtail, geared 29er, singlespeed 29er, the list goes on.  But they were all mountain bikes.

I took pride in riding mountain bikes.  Because mountain bikes are fucking hard.  Mountain bikes are big and burly, not skinny and frail like road bikes.  Mountain bikes have big chunky tires that eat up the earth, not thin little pussy tires that glide on the road.

But I went further.  While everyone’s riding aluminum bikes, I only rode steel frames.  Heavy, tough steel rides.  And I assembled almost all of them myself.  I bought the frames, I bought the bike parts, I bought tools, and I gradually learned how to assemble bikes in my garage.  I was obsessed with building bikes.  If I’m honest, I probably enjoyed tinkering with bikes more than actually riding them.

In that time, I’ve had nothing but disdain and bucketsful of fuck you for road bikes and the sinewy, shaven fuckfaces who ride them.  Road bike riders are goddamn nerds.  And nerds ruin everything.  Road bike nerds are the fucking worst.  These shitheads with their immaculately specced carbon fiber bikes with carbon wheels and carbon parts and their shitty skin-tight bike clothes that are color coordinated with their Kenny Powers sunglasses and matching helmets, and their shaved legs and heart rate monitors, all nerding over their wattage and VO2 max and cadence and GGGAAAARRGGGGHHH, fuck you, fuck you to hell, roadies!

God, I hate roadies.

But the sad reality is that over the past two years or so, my time on dirt trails dwindled to almost nothing.  Trail riding takes time.  It takes time to get all your gear together, it takes time to actually get to the trail, and when you’re there, you wanna take your time to enjoy the trail.  Mountain rides go slow compared to road rides.

Having a couple of ingrate kids with increasing demands (soccer! baseball! camp!) meant time that would’ve been spent on the trails was now rapidly being sucked away.  A three-hour trail ride now turned into a mere hour-long sprint on the road.  To do this, I had to convert one of my mountain bikes for the road.

This bike was a proper Frankenstein’s monster.  I had bought the bike for $50 from my local bike shop and had immediate stripped it of all its shitty parts, then had the whole thing repainted.  Then through some manner of witchcraft and sheer luck, I was able to cram road wheels (which are larger than mountain bike wheels) into the frame, and cobble together something was somewhat roadworthy.  This beast would serve as my road ride for over two years.

But it was far from perfect.  The chain would fall off the bike frequently.  Using road bike parts on a mountain bike frame had its challenges.  Most of all, it was slow as fuck.  The combination of being an older heavy lugged steel frame with only 9 speeds meant that I wasn’t about to suffer windburn on my rides.

Denial: not just a river in Egypt, as they say.  I was in denial so long about needing a road bike, I can’t even pinpoint the moment when I finally did face up to the fact that my Frankenstein bike wasn’t cutting it anymore.  I mean, fuck road bikes, right?  I don’t ride road bikes.  Asshole nerds ride road bikes.  And you know who else ride road bikes?  Old people.  Old fucks whose bodies can’t hack it any longer on a mountain bike.  Because they’ve gone soft.  And old.  I’m not old, I’m still young!  That’s what I kept telling myself over and over again.  Somehow, in my head, I’d conjured up the perception that getting a road bike is a sign of giving up, growing old.  I wasn’t prepared to do that.

But then, I went and bought a fucking road bike anyway.

 

TO BE CONTINUED…