As Valentine's Day draws near, I can recall the pang of a long-forgotten heartbreak. With a stiff drink in hand, I sift through old photos. We were so young and happy back then. How did we drift apart? What went wrong all those years ago? Of course, I’m talking about a bike.
I love bikes, but there have only been a few bikes in my life that I’ve truly been in love with. I own one now, the Specialized Allez Sprint. But all the others are long gone. Now, as an old(er) man filled with sorrow and regret, I want to write Valentine letters to all these amazing bikes. So the theme of this week’s Dream Quiver is love and loss, because these are the bikes that got away. After all, February 14 is coming right up.
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Singlespeed CX: All-City Nature Boy - $1,747.99
We all make dumb decisions when we’re young and in love, but I think you may have been one of my smartest. Before you, I was attracted to fixies, until I got burned by their brakeless behavior. When I turned 20, I decided it was time to grow up and find a partner that was a bit more mature. You were the right bike at the right time. Together, we commuted, went grocery shopping, and raced alley cats. You taught me to love riding through mud and snow. With stiff gearing, you made me stronger. I tried my best to protect you, but my cable lock was not enough. I don’t know where you are now, or if you’re still alive. I hope you are. Some nights, when I look up, I wonder if we’re looking at the same moon.
Road bike: Cannondale CAAD10 - $2,249.99
You were my first road racing bike. My roommate brought you home one night and you looked so sleek and fast, I knew one day I’d make you mine. I waited patiently for months, and when he left, I was there to pick up the pieces. I started shaving my legs and wearing lycra for you. Together we discovered Strava and crit races. But as I cat’ed up, I started getting smoked, and my eyes began to wander. I wanted something fancier and carbon, so I traded you in. What a mistake. To this day, I still yearn for the classic lines of your robust aluminum frame, and your stiff and snappy handling. Please forgive me. Please. I should have kept lovin' you whether times were good or bad, happy or sad.
Hardtail MTB: Kona Honzo ST - $3,299.99
I used to say that I would never ride a hardtail again. I just couldn’t deal with the pain anymore. But then I met you. With your steel frame, progressive geometry, and singlespeed-compatible dropouts, you made me believe in hardtails again. I didn’t care if you were a bit hefty, you had strength and character. I remember that first bikepacking trip we took together. I strapped 30 pounds of gear to you and we slept in the rain together. That summer, we shredded trails and crushed the egos of a few full-suspension bikes. Then, when the time came, you allowed me to sell you to some high schooler, so I could pay for my wedding. I’ll never forget your sacrifice, or the joy you brought to my life. You became the light on the dark side of me.
Trail MTB: Santa Cruz Hightower LT - $5,799.99
You did more for my riding skills than any bike has before or since. With you, I had the confidence to send the biggest jumps, the steepest rock rolls, and gnarliest chutes. You were a steadfast companion through my first enduro races. You made me feel like the king of the world. I even believed that I was, until my own confidence killed you. I tried to clear an enormous gap, came up short, and crashed, tomahawking you 100 feet down the mountain. Though your frame was incredibly tough, our luck was bad. A jagged rock cracked your down tube. Now, you’re only a memory. But you’re not lost. Every night in my dreams I see you. I feel you. That is how I know you go on.
Total cost: $13,097.96
Amazingly, this might be the most affordable Dream Quiver I’ve ever put together. I guess it just goes to show that money can’t buy you love … maybe. Every one of these bikes has a special place in my heart because I rode them at pivotal points in my life when I discovered a new avenue or discipline to channel my love of cycling. If I could, I’d buy all these bikes right now, but I don’t have enough money or space for them.
What if I could only pick one? That’s a tough choice, but I have to go with the All-City Nature Boy. I think I just need closure after my original Nature Boy was stolen. Plus, it might be fun to relive my singlespeed-obsessed college years, though my deteriorating knees might protest.
Do you have any special bikes that you’ve loved and lost? What are the bikes that got away? Let me know in the comments!