My first adult bike was a little Trek hybrid. It’s still in my mother’s garage. It served me well. During my spring between colleges – my ‘semester off’ – I started out in terrible shape. A mile out and a mile back was a lot for me. Then two miles. Then three, riding to Laudholm Farm in wells to walk in the chill of early spring. Then I’d go twice a day. Then farther. By the time I went off to the Shire I was riding maybe 15 miles a day. Didn’t know what I was doing. Riding a bicycle: you never forget because you never really learn.

I didn’t ride at all for years. Just went to the gym, mostly for the elliptical. Trapeze, firespinning: no biking. It wasn’t until I got to Boston that I eventually got a bike: an old off-brand hybrid, barely my size, cleaned up by a guy who just enjoys cleaning up old bikes. I used it to commute to work and back. Five or six miles each way. Before two months had passed it was dead. The rear cassette broke in half while I was in the middle the street. The wheel dropped right off, dragging, sparks. I took it to the local bike shop and asked how much it would cost to fix. They said they’d throw it out for me for free. RIP Bike 2.

At that point – flush with cash, as befits one who pays no rent – I decided to really invest in a bicycle. I’d never Really Invested in a thing before. In anything at all. But I figured, anything worth doing is worth doing right. And the righter I did it – the more I spent – the more I’d feel obligated to do. If I bought an expensive bike I’d *have* to ride it. Get into a bit better shape. (Dating a lovely depressive is no way to get physical activity. And I’d done it like three times in a row.)

After much deliberation I settled on a cyclocross bike. It would allow me to ride on pavement but also on the sand and gravel paths which ring the Charles. It would also let me ride on Boston roads, which are really just awful any time of year and doubly so in winter. It was also that such a bike was on an exceptional sale – a year-old, during a clearance sale, plus my modest ability to talk a salesman down. This bike was carbon, with a lifetime warranty. SRAM shifters, gear-inches 28 to 140. Zertz inserts, which the newer model had discontinued. Also she was just pretty as fucking hell.

Specialized 2011 CruX Expert Carbon. I had her fitted, and brought her home, and named him Hanno. After the great explorer. After the discoverer of so much of the world. And because there’s just a total dearth of shit in this world named after Carthaginians.

then a week later I brought her back in to ditch her pedals in favor of Shimano ½s and a pair of MTB cleats. And a CamelBak MULE. And a Crank Bros 19 multitool and a MiniMorph pump and a pair of Knog Blinders and THEN OK LET’S RIDE.


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