Keeping It In the Family

The knee surgeon tells patients not to return to athletic activity for a year post-surgery. I don’t figure he means road cycling, but I’m pretty sure he does mean mountain biking. Part of reconciling myself to this news was giving up saving for the new full-squish mountain bike I’d been planning.

Last week, Jeff texted me, “Need an incentive to heal?”


Jeff's bike

And so he sold me his old Niner, refurbished to like-new condition, the bike I’d ridden last winter that convinced me I needed full squish and 150mm of front fork travel. I won’t say what I paid, but I will reveal that I’m grateful and that the price included a tray of Pat’s baklava.

And I’m also grateful to have a wife who’ll bake a tray of baklava to support me in a sport that causes her a fair amount of inconvenience and worry.

Having my Friday beer at the bike shop, I mentioned I’d bought Jeff’s Niner.

Kevin said, “Is that Don’s old bike?”

John said, “I’m sure it is.”

I’d known that and forgotten it. And in truth, the bike is probably like George Washington’s ax, the one whose handle has been replaced three times and the head once. I doubt anything but the frame is original, but still, Don’s another friend of mine. We’ve ridden together. His kids went to school with my kids, and they were friends.

And all of that, the community within the community, the fact that the bike shop crew knew the provenance of my bike better than I did, well, that matters at least as much to my healing as does the vision of riding that Niner.

About swampyankeecyclist

I'm Andy Engel, just a middle-aged, middle-class guy from Roxbury, Connecticut. I've been married to my best friend since 1988, and we have two grown sons. I like riding bikes, and my biggest accomplishment is the 180K D2R2. I own 5 bikes but my go-to rides are a 2016 GT Grade gravel and commuter bike and a 2016 Specialized 650b hardtail mountain bike. Additionally, I have a 2000-something carbon-fiber Orbea road bike, a 1990-something Specialized Sirrus that's my old dirt and commuter bike and which now serves as a spare and a trainer bike, and a 1985 Ross Mount Hood MTB. All but the 650b have Brooks saddles. I work from home now, but used to commute 32 miles round trip to work by bike year round. I was a carpenter and still love building things, but regular paychecks, insurance, and vacation time lured me into journalism. I've written a couple of books on carpentry, and I've been an editor at Fine Homebuilding, Fine Woodworking, and Professional Deck Builder magazines. Currently, I manage construction events at the JLC Live and Remodeling Show trade shows. Additionally, my wife and I run Transylvania Guest House, an Airbnb. Find us on Instagram. Come stay with us and I'll show you some great cycling.
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