I’ve wanted one of these since 1991
I’m channeling Lester Burnham as I roll my new bike through the front gate.
Mine. 21-speed hardtail mountain bike. The bike I’ve always wanted and now I have it.
It’s just past 5:30AM in Phoenix. Four days in a row now, I’ve told myself, “Just sit up and put your feet on the floor. If you still want to lie back down and hit the snooze button for another half hour after that, knock yourself out.”
Four days in a row I’ve thrown on some swim trunks and an old Prescott Rally t-shirt, laced up the Keens, and gone for a bike ride. It’s frigging addictive. All I have to do is talk myself into getting vertical and then almost 25 years of restrained desire takes over. “Yeah, buddy. Let’s ride!”
Let me explain.
First, GBXM isn’t turning into a bike magazine. I’ve just wanted a proper mountain bike since before I was a freshman in high school. That’s 1991, by the way.
My folks kept me in quality, 2-wheel transpo as far back as I can remember. Dad went to high school with a guy named Harley who ran his own bike shop back in Kansas. No matter where we lived, no matter where the Army sent us, my brother and I were set for bikes.
When we moved to Germany, we took our bikes with us. All my friends in the neighborhood had bikes and we rode everywhere together. 10, 20, 30 mile trips. We took paved bike paths, dirt single track through wooded nature parks, and public roads. We rode to the swimming pool, to village festivals, to friends homes.
We went everywhere on our bikes. And I seemed to be the only one with a single-speed, BMX ride. White tires, pegs front and rear, cable brakes. Those 20+ mile rides? I can still see it clear as day – me standing up, cranking on it so I could coast with the group for a couple seconds. Everyone else had “10-speeds” except one person.
Enter the Cannondale.
Caron had a Cannondale mountain bike. It was black with gold lettering. She let me ride it a couple times. Ever since – and that’s 24 of the 38 years I’ve existed in this dimension – I’ve wanted a Cannondale. I’ve wanted a black, hardtail Cannondale MTB with green lettering.
Long story short, last weekend a chain of events lead me to the local Performance Bicycle shop in Peoria, where I ended up buying a brand, spankin’ new Diamondback Apex 29er. It’s a dark, matte grey with neon green lettering. It’s a hardtail. It’s got 21 speeds. And it’s got my ass out of bed before 6AM every day this week.
Every day is a brand new start.
I see this now.
What’s more, this past Saturday night, I smoked my last cigarette (again). I’ve ridden my bike every day since. Tuesday morning was cool and overcast. Wednesday morning was cool and overcast – and it rained on me.
20 years of smoking does nasty things to your cardiopulmonary systems, so I’m thrilled to be riding upwards of three miles a day right off the bat – even if that’s less than 30 minutes of pedalling. We all have to start somewhere, and I’m lapping everyone who decided to stay in bed.
I haven’t felt this good in years. Maybe even decades. I feel like a kid again. Like maybe this two-wheeled contraption is my ticket out of midlife crisis. Whatever it is, it’s friggin’ awesome.
It’s a great thing when you realize you still have the ability to surprise yourself.