If you recall in this post, (and this one), I decided to take the final Friday of every month, and post the pre-edited content from my feature in PAVED Magazine’s, ‘Axis Of Stevil’. Since I was away from the computer on Friday, I’ve opted to insert this here today.
As always, I hope you enjoy it.
Photo by Brian Vernor
She sits in the corner of my garage, glistening and begging to be ridden further than I am physically capable. A brand new custom steel Ritte is proof that I give no better presents than those that I give to myself. My old bike, as clapped out and torn back as it is, still holds a post deep within my heart, but this new one is a thing of beauty- Each weld, artistic in its painstaking execution and every component lovingly installed.
Rarely does a bike stop me in my tracks, though this one has me frozen in place. I finish my pre-ride ritual by zipping up my jersey and approach her with the reserved anticipation equaled only by that of meeting a prospective lover. Making this association proves to me that I have a problem, but admitting it is half the battle and regardless, I don’t care. I have dreamt of this day for months.
I place my gloved hand onto the carefully wrapped bars, and roll her out of the garage for our maiden voyage together. The pawls click and echo though my head like the empty chamber that it is. I have nothing in my mind but pointing us away and sticking my proverbial foot in it.
The gravel parts before me, as we make our way to pavé that has seen my tires ten thousand times before. I shift and the chain drops to a smaller cog. I pick up speed and shift again. Click, click, click… Wind blows across my face and nothing exists now but my breathing and the sights, smells and sounds of the miles before us.
Though I can’t kid myself into believing I am in any way similar, delusions of a bygone era set in with quickness and I feel an alignment with the hard men of Belgium. My scarred legs act as the pistons to the engine in my chest, as we cover more ground and get lost on a seemingly endless ribbon of black tarmac. Leaning into corners with more speed than is sensible, I repeatedly attack invisible competitors in imaginary breakaways. I hear Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwin‘s commanding English droll in my thoughts describing the opening of my own personal suitcase of pain, and the deafening roar of non existent crowds lining the course waft into the air behind me.
Almost immediately we develop an understanding that she is far more bike than I deserve, but as the miles tick off, and my thoughts wander aimlessly, any care or concern for the world around me shrinks to little more than a speck in the distance over my shoulder. I am hers and she is mine, and together we have nothing before us but everything.