There's nothing quite like a new bike. I feel it; the swooping curves of its frame, tapering and bending like bermed singletrack; the fresh suspension, springing with the anticipation of a hundred after-work rides; the accurate shifts, snapping into place like bullets in a chamber. Running my hands over the glossy contours, I see myself flowing down a favorite stretch of trail, riding without thought, like a child in summer. The moment before throwing my leg over the saddle is a moment of perfect potential—there is no knowing where this bike may take me.
The dimpled tires’ rubbery aroma recalls sticky-hot days in the desert and crisp fall morning between the aspens. The sweet hint of chain lube reminds me of trailhead beers and sandals after a hot ride. Soon, dried sweat and blood will blend into this mechanical bouquet, and the bike will smell of pain and joy and adventure, as it should.
With a swift spin of a wheel, the freehub springs to life and clicks a clean, cheery crescendo, like a jet engine ready to take off. I squeeze the brake levers and feel the solid resistance of just-bled calipers silently squeezing polished rotors into submission—comforting hydraulic certainty.
There’s not a scratch on the crank, no rash on the derailleur, no chips on the downtube or oil on the stanchions. This bike is a work of art, a tool, and a friend. It will make me a better rider, a better man, perhaps a better human. Together, we will see and do things in spectacular places, each reliant on the other equally to get there and back. This new bike and me, we are a team. I will treat it well, and in return, it will show me people, places and things beyond imagining, like a—
“Ummm, would you like to take that bike for a ride?” The shop rat regards me curiously.
I place the new bike back in its rack, squeeze its unsullied grips one more time and flick the price tag. “No thanks. Not today.”
“You know sir,” the kid begins. “There’s nothing quite like a new bike….”