Thursday, April 14, 2011

Single Track

I have a lot of hobbies, Nicole will tell you that I have a lot of expensive hobbies.  Some of my hobbies are more like flings or new interests that fade over time.  There are only a few that I would say I am more passionate about and will always be a hobby I enjoy above other hobbies, one of these is Mountain Biking.  I have not been a Mountain Biker my whole life, I actually rarely rode bikes until I was over 18.  My love for bikes started when I was required to use one for my daily transportation.  Prior to this I had owned a few bikes, mostly cheap ones that came from warehouse sporting goods stores.  But I didn't know anything about these bikes and I hardly ever rode them outside of my parents driveway.  But when I went on my mission I was required to purchase a bike, with the limited knowledge that I had previously had about bikes I obtained one from a company that solely supplied bikes to missionaries.  I can still remember the first few weeks riding my new bike, my mission companion made so much fun of me for my obvious beginner habits.  One of which included running next to my bike before mounting it.  Over time and with practice I was able to learn many basics to riding a bike, I began to love riding my bike.  
I learned how to repair my bike myself, I even rebuilt the generic bike that I originally purchased.  I bought new parts, including a new frame, fork, brakes, wheels, handlebars...ok so basically I built a new bike.  Every week I would strip my bike down and give my bike a complete tune-up, this actually really annoyed some companions as they didn't want to spend P-Day sitting around why I did this.  I loved my bike (I took away a lot more than my love for bikes from my mission, but this blog is just about my bike), I was proud of the skills I acquired.  
After my mission I took my bike with me out to school in Idaho, I rode it almost everyday (even when there was snow and ice).  And then I moved to Las Vegas, my bike got locked on my back porch.  It wasn't fun to try and ride while it was 115 degrees outside, I didn't know of any trails in the area to go riding, and most places I went I needed to use the car.  So there my bike sat on the back porch baking in the sun, I neglected that bike.  Parts began to deteriorate in the dry heat, my tires had cracks and actually melted, the seals on my shock no longer worked, and basically all the moving parts no longer moved.  I tried a couple of time to rebuild the bike, but bike parts can be costly and I wasn't motivated to spend money on it since I didn't really have anywhere to ride.  When the time came for us to move to Vermont the bike got left behind.  It was a little bit of an accident and a little bit intentional, we packed our moving pods and I had completely forgotten about the bike.  It wasn't until the pods were gone that I remembered it, I could have salvaged some of the bike and taken the working parts with me.  But since the car was already packed pretty tightly I regretfully abandoned the bike.  It was a sad day...

After settling into life in Vermont and seeing many other students ride their bikes and learning of many trails to ride on I began to miss my bike and the days I had spent building and tuning a bike.  I decided to covertly undertake a new project to custom build myself a new bike.  I regret that I had begun this process in secret, Nicole had no idea I was doing this.  It was almost like I was having an affair with this new project bike.  Well, eventually she found out and because she loves me, she supported me.  Mistakes were made and lessons were learned, this was the first time I built a bike completely from scratch and mostly used parts off of E-Bay.  I must admit that I might of been able to save money if I just went to a bike shop and bought a comparable bike, for some reason bike manufactures get the parts cheaper when they buy in bulk.  And even if the part is a great price on E-Bay the shipping costs can make up for the saved money.  But, there is a different sense of ownership and pride when I know that my bike is unique and hand-built by me.  After some major changes, including reselling a frame and throwing out broken parts I completed my bike.  Below are pictures of the the bike I built, the first one on the left is the original frame and fork, the one on the left is the updated and current build.  (Not the best pictures, and although I love my bikes I don't take many pictures of them). 

I loved riding my new bike, I rode it to and from school and all over town.  Although school was only a mile away and town was very small, I made the most of my new bike.  There were days that Nicole and I had the same schedule on campus and I opted to ride my bike instead of just riding in the car with her (it was actually faster for me to ride my bike than it was to drive).  Not only did I get to casually ride for transportation but I found some great trails in the area.  

The Kingdom Trails were about 45 minutes to an hour drive north of where we lived.  Although there were many trails in the area where we lived, the Kingdom Trails were well worth the drive.  I went as often as I could, some of the best mountain biking I have ever done.  There are many reasons why I loved Vermont, and I would love to be able to move back there so I could ride these trails again.  Here is a video I found on YouTube that gives you a good idea of what the trails are like.  

I have yet to do much Mountain Biking here in Colorado, I know there are countless trails but many of them are outside of my familiarity.  I attempted one trail during my first month living at 5,000 feet above sea level and I'll just say it was a disaster.  The trail I picked was uphill for the first few miles and my lungs couldn't handle it, by the time I reached the top I was to winded to enjoy the ride back down.  But now that I've adjusted to the elevation I am hoping to find some trails to ride this summer.  While I was working I was able to ride my bike to work everyday, but now that I a Stay-At-Home-Dad it has a flat tire and is awaiting to be stripped down and tuned up.  

Here are a few random pics:

Although I have a bike that I proudly built myself, I am itching to build another one.  The biking industry is almost as rapidly changing as the technology industry.  My bike is already outdated and I need a new one. 


Saturday, April 9, 2011

King's New Financial Adventure

I've been telling King that he needs to start pulling his weight around here and so he came up with a great idea.  King has a lot of experience in this area and decided that others could benefit from this luxury.  What do you think?

~ Nicole