My first mtb frame is up in the attic, I am saving it to make an art project out of it that will eventually hang on a wall. It is the bike that kicked off this insatiable appetite for two wheeled locomotion. There are two other mtbs up there along with a circa 1990's crt TV a set of old wheels lots of used tires. Really? What am I going to do with used tires? My hockey bag and sticks. Man haven't used that in well, forever. At one time I played and coached hockey. I doubt that I could even hockey-stop. One of the hardest things I have ever learned in my life. It looks so simple, take a metal edge and slide it sideways on ice to a stop. Simple.
I have life reminders all around, things this body used to do and do fairly well. I have a skateboard that is collecting dust, a reminder of several chapters in my life spanning more than half. The time I spent riding skateboards was full of pain, suffering, and the pure joy of freedom. I have scars from 20yrs ago, but to have the feeling of dropping into a ramp and carving a nice back-side five-0 didn't come easy. It's in there somewhere, that feeling just like the hockey-stop. It's there but gone.
The one love that I have tried to replace with bikes is the hardest loss. Railing a bermed stretch of perfect single-track comes close to the feeling of carving fresh pow in the Utah backcountry, but it does not compare. It's been ten plus years. I've been on a board since, but it was only frustrating not to be at the level once considered normal. It is a love lost, the one that got away. You try to stay in touch, but it is too painful, the memories. The truth, that you will never have what you once shared. The only proper thing to do is self-medicate and find a replacement. I cannot begin to explain the stoke one gets from being out in nature on the edge of "this could go seriously wrong" and having it go "so right". Cheating death or the feeling of cheating death is a pure drug, and it is readily available.
I keep increasing my numeric value that people call age, and with this my ability to do the things that I love decreases. I have my substitute, not the one from Mrs. Parker's class in fourth grade, but rather the bike. It is not the equal to snowboarding that I would like it to be, but it works. It is the drink to calm the nerves, it is the shot of adrenalin at flat-line. Fall and Winter is a tough time for me, it is a time when I have a feeling that I am not in the right place doing the right thing. I love bikes, but I will always have a first love, that high school crush that got away.