I had a pretty rough go of it, as far back as I care to remember. My owners got their money’s worth though – I definitely left it out on the road.
I was made in 1999, in Wisconsin, USA and I was a sight. Eventually I ended up at a bike shop in southeastern Michigan as a loaner. I spent some hard time there, and I was beat up pretty good. Still, I gave those who rode me everything I had. I can remember chasing down this ultra-nice Tarmac on a test ride…. it was a really short ride, and it turned out the guy I’d chased down was a National Champ. I still had it.
Life started looking up shortly thereafter…. I was just sitting there in the basement of the shop when I was brought up and a mechanic started looking me over. New brake and shifter cables, derailleurs adjusted, etc. My setup though, now that was a bit of a problem. The owner of the shop hiked up my handlebar so it was darn-near level with the saddle. I’m a race bike. Still, I did make it out the door, and thankfully my new owner spent several hours cleaning me up and started dropping my handlebar almost immediately.
My new owner started putting new stuff on me shortly after bringing me home – and I don’t think he knew what he was doing though… He put mountain bike pedals on me. Then a Specialized saddle!
Specialized! On the other hand, the old fella had some heart. We rode alone, just he and I, for quite a while but, under my expert tutelage, he actually managed to get pretty quick – of course, my thoroughbred pedigree didn’t hurt. Ahem.
Then, all of a sudden, things took a turn for the worse. My owner picked up a brand new, lightning fast, lightweight steed…. and a Specialized.
I went from Numero Uno to the backup. I only got to go out when the weather was iffy… On the bright side, cycling in bad weather is badass, and I am definitely badass.
Then I started getting some new parts, and that was nice. New pedals, new stem, new handlebar, a nice carbon fiber seat post… Unfortunately my owner chose me for a ride on a relatively nice day – it was nice being out in the sun! We parked at a playground for his kids and they scattered to play on the inflatable bounce houses… and some mutton-head knocked me over, scratching the heck out of my paint. My owner was visibly shaken when he saw what had happened.
You can guess what happened next. I was relegated to wet rides and trainer days in the winter. Dammit, do you have any idea how soul-crushingly boring that stupid trainer is?! Here I am, one of the most successful frames in American cycling history, and I’m relegated to a frickin’ trainer.
That wasn’t the end of the story though. One day, my owner started stripping me down – he took almost all of my parts off – there were a couple that required special attention…
Then I went back to the shop. Three weeks later and looked like this:
New King headset, re-packed bottom bracket bearings… It was perfect, and I looked awesome. I even got a new saddle, a Selle Italia. As an American, I don’t have much use for Italian stuff (even if my owner is part WOP), but it was better than a Specialized saddle:
This year I’m making it out while the sun is shining! No chance of rain and I’m out there cruising around, usually three or even four days a week! I went on a four-day tour – once reserved only for the Specialized – and it didn’t even rain! Four days, a hundred miles a day… Here we are on day four:
Better, I got new shifters (shown above), a real Bontrager saddle and some of the baddest-@$$ leather bar tape available…
Not only am I back, after 18 long years and some really tough miles, I’m as good as new with a new lease on life. Best of all, I’m having fun. I don’t always get the best days, and the fast days are reserved for the other guy, but I’m definitely getting my due, and that’s all an old Hall of Framer can ask for. I am a 1999 Trek 5200 and my life is good.