The Reunion

Life is a decision every second. Have you ever made one that every time you thought of it, you regretted it; not just weeks or months, but years later? Maybe you have. In this fast paced world of instant gratification, it's not everyday that you get second chance. There is no control-z in life, but sometimes fate has a way of putting you in a position of changing the past...

It was back in '95 when I got reintroduced to cycling. A close group of friends were into mountain biking and upon hearing how much fun it was I decided to give it a shot.  After a little bit of research, the day came when I strolled into my local bike shop and walked out with a Trek 950 Singletrack.  It was steel, rigid, specked out with decent components and figured to be a pretty good entry-level bike. It ended up being perfect and the following seven or so years the bike and I traveled thousands of miles, on and off road. It remained solid throughout, weathering a few crashes better than I did. Then one day in a moment of clouded judgement, I parted ways, and sold it to a good friend of mine. As time passed I found myself periodically thinking about that old bike, wondering if I should've ever gotten rid of it, or maybe kept it for nothing more than nostalgia's sake.

I figured that if only I could get one more ride in I'd strip it down and hang the frame on a wall as an object d'art, mud and all.

Fast forward ten years. The opportunity of getting the bike back presents itself, and I jump on it. It was nice to get the call from Nick even though life had put quite some distance between us. He had heard that I was needing a tree felled and told me he could help out. I said to stop on out to take a look sometime, but quickly moved to the more pressing question, if he still had the Trek I had sold him.  He said he did and, long story short, was cool with selling it back to me.

The day arrived when the tree was scheduled to come down, yet all I found myself thinking about was my old two-wheeled friend. Was it all rusted out, tires rotted? It couldn't have been much worse, as that from what I was told, hadn't seen too many miles. No matter, I would've welcomed it back in pieces. I figured that if only I could get one more ride in I'd strip it down and hang the frame on a wall as an object d'art, mud and all.

My heart skipped a beat when he pulled it out of the trunk. There it finally was, and at first glance, appeared to be in the same condition as when I had last laid eyes on it ten years prior, save the fine layer of grime coating the top portions of the frame. I couldn't resist throwing a leg over it and riding down the driveway.  There was a strange familiarity pedaling it around, in part I had become so accustomed to my current steed. This was so much heavier, the cockpit more stretched out and the handlebars much shorter. But despite all that, the smile on my face was same as it ever was.

I spent several hours the next day breaking it down and cleaning every surface, restoring it to its former glory. Memories flooded my mind as I retraced with my finger, every ding, dent and scratch I had put on it so long ago; those annual trips to Snowshoe, the midnight rides, and bombing trails that are now forever closed. To be honest, it was quite an emotional experience. This was the bike that opened me to a whole new world, and now it was finally back in my possession. I don't give much thought about destiny, but in this one particular moment, that notion seemed quite fitting.

I have plans for this bike and look forward to adding a new chapter to my two-wheeled story. I've always felt that a mistake is only a mistake if one doesn't learn from it; rest assured, this won't ever happen again.

-ek

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