Just a note: Hellbent is a brand name.
August 5, 2002
I just got a second bicycle, and the world looks pretty good from behind its Hellbent handlebars.
My second bicycle is the result of a careful, considered analysis that became an obsession.
The seed for this acquisition was blown carelessly into the back of my mind sometime in the first few months of the year. Back then, it was small, like a baby puncture vine, and I could easily put it out of sight of my mind’s eye with the admonition that my existing mountain bike, which has 24 gears and a front suspension fork, was sufficient.
But I never got the root, and, like any good weed, the thought just grew back, bigger and stronger each time.
The admonition about the adequate bike began to be accompanied by a “yeah, but,” as in, “Yeah, but I’m actually riding the bike off-road and maybe I could ride even better, or at least try, with a new bike.”
At first I contented myself by reading reviews, doing online searches about the bikes available and asking anyone who would answer how they liked their dual-suspension mountain bikes.
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It ended abruptly one recent Saturday, when I drove to Reno and bought the new bike. I had actually visited the bike two weeks prior, but hadn’t the nerve to even test-ride it, for fear it would follow me home.
All my assurances that maybe, by the end of the summer, if I had saved enough money, and lost enough weight, I would consider a new mountain bike went out the window.
I bought the bike.
I brought it home and leaned it along the garage wall, next to the other bike.
And that’s when all the guilt kicked in.
The new bike has more gears, a fancy dual suspension system and perfect, shiny paint that has yet to be chipped by rocks, scratched by sage or worn bare by bent cables. It rides like a dream, shifts crisply and swoops through curves like a bobsled.
The old bike is, well, old.
I tried to promise the Yukon D yes, the old bike has to go by its model name now D that I wouldn’t forget it. I would still ride it to the gym, or around the neighborhood.
I could swear the Yukon is communicating with me telepathically, reminding me of how it patiently allowed me to walk it up all those hills when I first started mountain biking and was so out of shape I couldn’t actually climb anything.
The Yukon recalls all the days it ferried me to the gym and back, in all kinds of weather, remaining reliable even when I made it work way past the recommended tuneup intervals, with the tire pressures all wrong and the chain shrieking for just a splash of lube. The Yukon stayed functional even when I crashed clumsily all those times while learning D the hard way D to get in and out of those fancy clipless pedals I put on it.
Someone asked if I wanted to sell the Yukon, but I couldn’t stand the idea. If it goes, I want it to go to a home where it will be loved and appreciated and ridden, not consigned to a dark corner of a garage and allowed to decay. It’s still a good bike, after all.
All this angst over a four-year-old collection of metal and rubber that has no life whatsoever, at least as we define it.
Apparently, though, it has a soul.
And I have a conscience.
I better go for a ride soon.
n Christy Chalmers would still like to hear what you think about your dual-suspension bike. E-mail her at email@example.com.