Have you every wondered how long a mountain bike will last?
The others looked at me, and they all had wondering looks on their faces. Then they began to laugh. There were comments of “That’s not possible,” “You’ve got to be kidding,” and “You are joking right?”
I smiled. “Actually, he is wrong,” I said.
“I knew it couldn’t be true,” one of them said.
Dale stared at me like I was crazy. “Marty, I can’t believe you are lying.”
I raised my palms at him. “No, no, I didn’t say you were entirely wrong. You are wrong that I have been using the bike for almost three years.”
“Really? Two then?”
“Nope. I have had the bike for ten years, actually.”
They all had big eyes of disbelief, and I could only wonder why anyone would think such a deed could not be done. I had always been the type of guy who was great with maintenance. I have had commendations from teachers and even my parents for being a keeper.
It was not surprising. I valued things a lot. I always do my best to make sure that whatever possession I had is well cared for and still retain their best conditions. My mother used to say that any lady who married me would be very lucky indeed.
I faced my friends. We were in our favorite bar, a place we always met before we began some mountain climbing. Of them all, Dale was the first person I knew. We had met about five years ago during a mountain biking competition which I had won, and he had taken the second position.
We had met at a bar and talked like long lost brothers. We parted and met again two years later. He was always surprised that I still had my bike with me. He, on the other hand, had purchased and changed three different bikes in three years. He purchased one each year.
There was another mountain biking competition in this town, and we had met the previous night again. He then introduced me to the others who had gone to the high school as he.
“My bike is named Skylar,” I began.
“Is there a reason why you gave it that name?” another, a lady, asked.
“It used to belong to a horse I used to own,” I said.
“You used to own a horse too?” the lady asked.
“Yeah. I named him Skylar. When I started to learn how to ride a horse, it was Skylar that I used to train myself. Then we won a lot of local horse racing competitions together.”
“Where is the horse now?”
“Unfortunately, he died ten years ago. I was so heartbroken by his death, and I grieved for a very long time. My mom advised me to find something else to do that could take my mind off the loss. I used to ride mountain bikes with my older brothers, so the next I did was buy a very new mountain bike.
“I rode up the mountains with lots of supplied and found a cave where I stayed for three good days. I practiced a lot, and through my grief, I began to develop a love for mountain biking. I fell in love with the bike and decided to name it Skylar. We have been inseparable since.”
“How many competition have you won with it?” a guy asked.
I mentally counted all the trophies I had gotten from different mountain biking competitions. “Twenty-eight,” I told them.
“Wow,” the lady said. Two other guys whistled.
I smiled. I didn’t believe anyone could appreciate the love and care I had for my bike. We had been through many weird situations together, and it had saved my life countless times. When all these are put into consideration, together with the fact that I was a very careful guy, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that my bike was still in top condition.
“How many times have you had it repaired?” the lady asked.
“Surely, you must have crashed it a few times.”
I laughed. “A few times is really an understatement. I have crashed the bike countless times and even lost a lot of its parts. I cannot count the number of parts that got lost and were replaced during the course of ten years.”
“Wow, you are a keeper,” the lady said.
“I know right?”
“Hmm, what a way to be humble,” Dale said. We all laughed.
“So, are you saying you are going to use the same bike tomorrow?” a guy asked.
“Ha. Listen. You may have won other races with this bike in other cities, but here it is different. The road is craggy, and only the newest and the toughest bike can survive. You have to get another bike, man.”
I smiled. It was the kind of smiled a teacher shows to a very naïve student. I didn’t have time to explain more about what my bike could do. “Listen,” I said. “The bike I am talking about has many miles, and it rides OK. You know what? I don’t need to say much. You will see it for yourself tomorrow.”
I was surprised to see them taking bets against me. Of them all, it was only the lady whose name was Michaela who bet in my favor. They hadn’t even seen the bike, and they were already judgmental.
The next day which was the day of the race, everyone was around, especially the spectators who seemed to be anxious for the competition to begin. I showed Skylar its critics, but they still didn’t seem convinced. One of them even decided to vote heavily against my bike after seeing it. He said he was so sure that the bike would crash and be destroyed forever.
The competition began, and I combined my experience with that of Skylar which had been on many different rough surfaces. The competition was really one-sided, and I was able to win with a very large gap between the next person in line and me.