This is my bike which I’ve had since I was 17.  She was the first bike that I had ever owned that was not from a second hand store or a pawn shop. To get the money for her, I had spent weeks pruning my grandma’s 100 year old apple trees. I encountered 3 wasp nests, fell out of a tree a few times, and even got overheated in the plus 30 weather. But I must say it was worth it.

 

Now that I’m 25, she has a lot of stories and has taught me a lot of life lessons. 

 

In her early years, I loved to take her out on the trails outside my hometown of Kimberley BC in the Rockies.  During these wonderful years I have:

 

  • Been stranded with a flat tire on top of a mountain (Lesson: be prepared, bring spares)
  • Been launched head-over-handle bars on logging roads (Lesson: beware of ditches and your helmet is a lifesaver)
  • Unintentionally rear-ended a black bear on a blind corner (Lesson: a bear bell is ALWAYS your best friend)

 

In her later years, I moved to Edmonton where stories and lessons continued to be made.  Although the city experiences were widely different from the mountains, the lessons were still life changing.  During these years I have:

 

  • Had to replace the front fork (Lesson: Despite being a student, your bike is not meant to carry 40 pounds of groceries in -40 weather. EVER!)
  • Had my bike stolen (Lesson: Bigger city = better bike security systems.  No cable locks!)
  • Had my bike returned 2 years later. (Lesson: Always, I mean ALWAYS, keep your bike’s serial number on file. Because you never know)

 

The last two life experiences left my bike in pretty rough shape.  She had not been treated fairly well by the person who had her.  Her gears have rusted quite a bit from being left outside as well as her frame due to paint and logos being scraped off.  An internal component in her grip shift had been broken and this limits her to the first 7 speeds.  Lastly, both her tires have been worn down to almost nothing.  She still gets me places, but I’m not sure for how long.

 

Every summer, I try to make it back to visit my hometown in the mountains.  Sadly, I have to leave my bike behind.  She’s too frail to revisit the trails of my youth and unfortunately I am unable to afford a new bike. If by what you have read entitles me to the grand prize, I promise to keep on striving to make new memories and continue to learn great life lessons from the outdoors and the world that I live in…hopefully with less bears.