Sunday, April 17, 2016

PARTING WAYS -- April 17, 2016

Yes, it's can fall in love with your bicycle.  It becomes and extension of your body, moving with you on the road or down the trail, becoming one with you...literally, becoming a part of you.  So much so, that if a friend offers to allow you to ride their bike, it feels odd...even foreign.  Your bike can actually develop a personality or reputation.   Often you find yourself talking to it, encouraging it, and maybe even swearing at it.  You go places with it...a companion that will help you navigate any road, trail, bog, or rock garden.   Heck, you may even name it!  And, if you are like me, you spend precious time carefully taking care of it.

Top of Cooper Mill Road near Raymond B. Winter State Park.  My first big mountain bike trip after purchasing my 2011 Stumpjumper--July 13, 2011
For the past five years my 2011 Stumpjumper has been all of the above.  Reliable, trustworthy, and up to any task I put it to.  It's been up mountains, down fire roads, through swamps, and across rock gardens.  I've ridden it on trails in four states (Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, & Delaware) and crashed it in more places than I care to count.  I've raced more adventure races with this bike than any other (an unsung hero of Team White Squirrel) and it has accompanied Mark Lentz and I on dozens of exploration rides.  It has been beautiful in it's simplicity.  My first hard tail mountain bike since I parted ways with my 2006 Stumpjumper back in 2007.  Easy to fix, easy to maintain, and amazingly fun to ride.  In short, it's been a good companion.

Taking a break with my 2011 Stumpjumper in Potapsco Valley State Park, Maryland--July 31, 2012
However, after five years of continuous riding, the time had finally come to part ways with an old friend.  With the purchase of my new Stumpjumper I have to say goodbye to the old.  Trust me, I'd love to keep it around as a spare bike...but that's just not in the cards right now.  So, after one last meticulous cleaning, I took my old bike to Gung Ho one final time so the guys at the shop, who so skillfully built it for me five years ago, could carefully box it up for me so I could ship it to it's new home in Big Bear City, California.  My hope is that whoever ends up with my old bike will appreciate it and take care of it as much as I did.  It has a lot more ride left in it and I'm sure it will serve them well.  As for me, I have a brand new 2016 Stumpjumper hanging in the garage waiting for my back to heal. It's almost time for me to begin a new relationship.

Life is a journey, not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- April 17, 2016

The last ride with my 2011 Stumpjumper -- April 16, 2016