Should I Sell My Bike?


I think I am going to sell my bike.

I will buy another bike but it won't be like this one. I hope there's some big dude out there, 6'5" or 6'8" or so who is looking for a barely used bike to be used in triathlons and such. When I was in Iraq I spent a lot of time wondering about who I would be when I got home. I made a decision that I'd be a member of the upper middle class. I would compete in triathlons. I would surf some and go on the occasional camping trip or service trip somewhere around the world to help people less fortunate than I was.

I had lots of other ideas too many conflicting. I did, however, set myself out on the path to upper middle class. I got into a fancy graduate school. I got a fancy apartment with exposed brick walls and a huge ceiling in Philadelphia. It was more rent then I could afford but I assumed I would be living with a girl and we would split the rent. Cocaine was just something I did for fun. It was not an addiction, not a problem.

My brother gave me two bikes when I moved back to the United States. An old 1980 66" Panasonic chro-molly 10 speed lovingly remodeled. He also gave me a single speed Trek 800 for me to commute around Philly in. Both were great gifts for coming home from war and both were great bikes.
Neither I thought were right for triathlons. I had never competed in a triathlon but that's what I wanted so I went to a local bike shop: Elite Cycles. I walked in and told them I wanted to buy a bike. They told me they'd make me a bike but it wouldn't be cheap. I didn't care.

The woman I had thought would move in with me never did. I remember the night on the phone she told me she wasn't moving to Philly. I was angry. I didn't understand why she wouldn't move in with me. I needed to pick my nose. It was a coke booger. Why wouldn't she move in with me? I didn't understand.

Working with the guys at Elite, I went into the shop a lot. I got measured and fitted. The owner of the shop was also a rolfer. We did a lot of alignment work. We talked a lot and we laughed a lot. $3,500 or was it $5,500 later, I had a bike. The guys put my name on the cross tube and a POW/MIA decal on the downtube. It is a sweet bike. All white with orange and blue highlights.

I went to a meeting of the Philadelphia triathlon club before the bike was finished. I met a few people, got scared, got angry and left. I went over to the apartment of a girl I was dating and ultimately I just went home. She didn't understand why I was so angry. I didn't either. We didn't keep dating.

I spent a summer in Chicago while I was in graduate school in Philly. I took the Elite out with me. I rode it a few times. I moved all three bikes with me to Colorado. I rode them all there some. I started climbing. Started going into the mountains more on my feet. I moved all three bikes with me to DC. I gave away the big Trek to a youth outdoors program in Baltimore.

I moved both bikes to Salt Lake City.

The frame on the old Panasonic finally had enough of commuting through Philly, through Boulder, through DC, through Salt Lake City. I donated the parts to a bike collective a few weeks back. I have one bike left and I've ridden that bike maybe once in four years.

I've never competed in a triathlon.

Buying that bike wasn't a mistake. I got to spend a lot of time with Dave Greenfield and his team at Elite. Those guys knew how to welcome me home. They were fine therapists. It has been a long road to health, to sobriety, to getting clean but maybe that bike, however haltingly, got me on the right path. I need a good commuter bike now. Something that can haul a trailer for some groceries and my little girl, maybe run down some of the gravel alleyways here in Salt Lake City.

I'm selling my bike.