|I think the view from beneath the Hillborne may be better than what I get to see riding it.|
Today, even if I wanted to sell the Hillborne I would be quite reluctant to do so as it is no longer made in a size that would fit my height and proportions. I acknowledge that even Riv's former smallest size is still a bit large for me, but somehow over the years, we - the bike and I - have come to understand each other and rarely (unless taking it on a truly extended trip) do I take issue with it.
Over the last several months, I have not ridden this bike as much as I have in the past. It's had some issues that needed to be resolved and although certainly still rideable, I found myself choosing other bikes over this one. I told myself that over winter we would dismantle and reassemble the Hillborne in order to get all the minor issues resolved (plus, it was in desperate need of a thorough cleaning), but it always seemed to take a back seat, at least until one warmer weekend recently.
Having the bike dismantled brought back memories of putting it together for the first time (well, watching Sam and doing my best to offer assistance as needed). I remembered how excited I was to get this bike, having believed it was something we could never really afford to buy. It was an expenditure that I felt guilty about for years afterward, but knowing how much use has come from this bike, it's reached a point today that the cost seems a trivial detail -- which is not to diminish the amount spent by any means, but rather that I've just come to accept that the bike has earned its keep.
I couldn't help but smile remembering summer bike valet duty a few years back and having another valet crew member knock the Hillborne over (accidentally, of course), resulting in what I refer to as twin chips on the frame. I recall Sam being livid about the incident, as well as my attempts to reassure him that everything would be fine. It was not the first chip on the frame, and it would not be the last. I wasn't pleased about having my bike knocked over, particularly as I was still highly protective of it, but I knew it wasn't the end of the world.
Because I haven't shared a similar duration of time with other bikes I ride, we don't have the same quantity of stories - but we're getting there. The VO Campeur and I, for instance, find our relationship to be more than just passing ships in the night, having spent (hard as it is to believe) a year riding together now. That bike is starting to show its own small signs of beausage and we share stories like this one of getting caught in an onslaught of hail too. In time, I have no doubt that I'll have a very similar attachment to the Campeur.
As often as bikes seem to leave my grasp, I freely admit that I am decidedly more content to have those that stick around. There's a level of comfort that develops over time and through use that isn't quite the same on a new ride. Oh, I do love the invigoration and discovery of a new bike, but it's a different feeling to one of familiarity.
I know that there will likely always be trade-outs and additions taking place over the years with the bicycle herd, but to find a bike that just works - even when it isn't perfect on paper - is something special, and having the opportunity to share the scars and marks of the roads traveled makes for a beautiful history together.
Do you prefer to leave imperfections from wear on your bicycle, or do you clean/paint/resolve them right away? What stories have you shared with your favorite bicycle? Do they keep you attached to the bike itself, or do you think the stories would be there regardless of the specific bicycle?