Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Sugar in pieces

All this time I've been desk surfing at work - busy, busy election season, you know - Geoff's been overhauling bikes like it's his job. He spent the past two on my mountain bike. Since yesterday he removed just about every moving part, greased it up, installed a new chainring and chain (my last one was stretched two inches from its original length), massively degreased the drivetrain, re-adjusted both the derailleurs and pumped up the rear shock. I don't even knowing what else he did to it when I wasn't looking. I, um, cleaned the cassette. Yeah, I've been working pretty hard.

I haven't had a chance to ride it yet, but I feel confident in making the statement that this is pretty much the best Gary Fisher women's specific Sugar 3+ mountain bike of unspecified year ... ever. I think the green sticker on the handlebars is what really puts it on top. That sticker has survived more rain and mud and abuse than even the headset could handle. You know that's quality craftmanship, right there. Thanks, Carlos :-).

As this all came down, and as my mountain bike became temporarily unrideable, I had a little time to reflect on how emotionally attached I can become to certain inanimate objects. It's interesting, because I'm not exactly one of those people who goes nuts about "stuff." I make a terrible consumer. I never buy anything new. I wear all my outdoor gear into the ground and then grind it further into the dirt just for good measure. Then, when it finally comes time to toss it away, I never give it a second thought.

But every once in a while, something clicks. I think about a happy memory or a harrowing adventure, and I remember the object and the way it carried me though. It's rare, but therein lies the beginning of an attachment that runs deep, a vulnerable yet sincere emotion so close to human that when I say I "love" my Sugar, I'll almost mean it. I actually feel this way about my car. People give me a lot of crap for this - it's a 1996 Geo Prism, 145,000 miles, lucky if it's still worth more than $1,000. But I've had it for six years. It's taken me across dozens of states and most of the Canadian provinces. It's been driven over boulders and 100-mile-long dirt roads. It's been bashed into a parked car and pummelled by a downed sycamore tree. I'm convinced that when it does cease to run, I'll cease to own a car. But not until then.

Now, I look at Sugar in his dozens of pieces, and I think that I'll probably just continue to fix him up, add new parts, do what I can to keep him on the trail until the frame disintegrates (or I do.) I know that's not what's actually going to happen. Mountain bike relationships aren't meant to last forever. But it's romantic to pretend it could.

9 comments:

  1. Damn Jill, buy that man a workstand...

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  2. What mm said: Buy that boy a workstand before he becomes disabled from working on bikes on the floor. That looks like medieval torture.

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  3. yeah, buy that man a workstand. i couldn't agree more, especially since I am "that man".

    it's really not as bad as it looks though - working all sprawled out on the floor like that - but that's only because it looks really bad. I have thought of worse things... I just don't recall any of those right now.

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  4. his? Sugar's a guy? I never thought of that. Every "sugar" I have ever known has been a woman.

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  5. MM, Tim - I really should buy Geoff a workstand. Heaven knows I owe him big. But that tiny, cramped little space with all the newspapers spread out on the floor? Yeah, that's our living room. Workstation would have to be crammed into an apartment the size of a single wide. The cost of housing in Juneau rocks.

    Geoff - you never commented on my blog before :-)

    Shawn - I didn't name my MTB Sugar - Gary Fisher did. But I've always thought of all of my favorite objects as male, and I probably always will. It's a preference, you know ;-).

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  6. Anonymous2:55 AM

    I think of all my bikes as girls....

    I still don't own my own work stand but have plenty of shops I can bum some stand time....

    Jill its so nice to see a bike that is ridin hard so many bikes in Colorado are garage art or roof rack art and never get ridin!

    As always awsome post!

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  7. yup, preference. i've never thought of any of my bikes as guys, always gals.... funny how that works, huh?

    workstands can be folded up and put under the bed, jill. blackburn and park both make nice ones.... :)

    worst weather for riding? i ride all year round in iowa and never considered it bad... hot, hot, hot july or 35 and wet in october. it's all good! keep "smilin' and ridin'"

    peace out, yo!

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  8. Anonymous4:52 PM

    "busy, busy election season, you know "..

    are you running for something?

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  9. I still ride my original steel yeti from 18 yeara ago...I hope it lasts forever...

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