It’s hard to believe that I launched GRAVELBIKE two years ago. So much has happened since that very first post. Yet, even with the growth and changes, I still feel a bit like a kid at times. From the excitement of planning the next two-wheeled adventure, to the simple satisfaction of making it home before the rain starts to fall, I’ve had the good fortune to experience it all. Bikes have come and gone during the past two years, but the memories remain. In my quest to inspire others to ride everything, I’ve managed to broaden my own horizons in the process (both on and off the bike). For everyone who has been a part of the ride, I thank you.
After your first day of cycling, one dream is inevitable. A memory of motion lingers in the muscles of your legs, and round and round they seem to go. You ride through Dreamland on wonderful dream bicycles that change and grow.
H.G. Wells, The Wheels of Chance
My two-wheeled obsession started a relatively young age. The day the training wheels came off, I began what would be a lifelong love of bicycles and cycling. I wasn’t the most coordinated or athletically-inclined child, but those limitations seemed to vanish the moment I threw a leg over my bike.
Bicycles also satisfied my urge to tinker. Armed with my well-worn copy of Anybody’s Bike Book and my father’s tools, I would spend countless hours learning the intricacies of my bicycle’s various components (although back then they were simply called parts).
Inside dad’s toolbox was the holy grail of tools–genuine Campagnolo cone wrenches. Thanks to Bicycling! magazine and Eugene Sloane’s Complete Book of Bicycling, the Campagnolo mystique was not lost on ten-year-old me. While I may have casually borrowed my father’s other tools, I treated those cone wrenches with a sort of reverence.
Eventually I began amassing my own set of bike tools; the commandeered Campagnolo spanners serving as the collection’s foundation. Bikes came and went, but no matter how much I pruned my stable, those two wrenches remained in my possession. When I hit a particularly rough patch, and N+1 turned to zero, those tools became talismans–reminders of what once was.
I don’t know if my father–or mother, for that matter–ever fully understood the impact that bicycles and cycling had on me. When mom died, I rode my bicycle as a way of coming to grips with her passing. In dad’s final years, many of our long-distance conversations included talk of the riding here in Colorado. After his death, I found that I missed those post-ride phone calls more than I ever could have imagined.
Today I plan on venturing into the garage, opening up my tool chest, and pulling out those Campagnolo cone wrenches. To others it may seem odd, but to me, it’s a fitting way to remember my dad on Father’s Day.
I wanted to celebrate GRAVELBIKE’s 200th post by taking a moment to thank everyone for their support. The blog’s readership has grown tremendously over the past year, and it’s great to know that there other like-minded folks out there. So to all our readers, twitter followers, and everyone else who’s taken time to check out the site–thank you.
Although GRAVELBIKE is essentially a one-man show, I’ve been extremely fortunate to receive support from some amazing people in the bicycle industry. Guys like Mike from Black Mountain Cycles and Peter from Vecchio’s, our advertisers, and the companies that have provided product/review samples. Your generosity has been instrumental in GRAVELBIKE’s growth.
Mark @ GRAVELBIKE