My coworkers and I never back down on an opportunity to cram one another. Dinner is often the most ammo-laden battleground of the day. Good or bad (especially bad) shots will be fired. Such salvos that are heard are, “Of all the meals I’ve ever had, that was one of them,” and, “That was the best chicken I’ve tasted, today.”
While riding today I thought to myself, “This is the best bike I have ever ridden.” Then my thoughts turned to all of the bikes I have ridden. Over my life I have ridden an XC race hardtail and FS, an AM FS, a freeride FS, several incarnations of the latest DH design, 26″ SS, 29″ SS, and multiple BMX and road bikes. My previous favorite was my 1998 Santa Cruz Heckler.
This was the first bike I built component by component, from frame to cable ferrules and spoke nipples. I picked what suited me best at the time. The gear ratios, lengths, heights, component levels and brands were all of MY choosing. I loved that bike. Yes, there was a fair bit of sentimental value to it. But also, it was my do everything bike. I was able to hop on my Heckler no matter the trail or time of year. I rode it like an XC bike, DH bike, AM bike, and even the occasional beer run. It didn’t excel at those specific disciplines but it did exactly what I wanted it to do. Point, pedal, go; predictably.
Today’s ride wasn’t particularly special in any way. I wasn’t faster, I didn’t ride farther, the trail wasn’t some epic locale. I was out having fun, riding, not thinking about the bike. Again my bike did what it was tasked to do. Just like my old Heckler, my current bike was built up component by component (except the wheels, they were a compromise soon to be replaced). As with all things, changes occur. My riding style is different now. Technology is different now. But like my old bike, I can hop on my current bike no matter the trail, no matter the distance and become one. As I was riding my CrMo Rocky Mountain I thought, “This is the best bike I have ever ridden, today.”