(Taking a tea break on the way up Monitor Pass with my Nishiki Competition circa 1984)
I've hung onto my old steel racing bike for almost 20 years now, with the hope of giving it to my nephew when he was old enough to be responsible and showed an interest. I bought it at The Missing Link in Berkeley in the spring of 1980 while attending UC Berkeley - in part to rehab a low back injury sustained in a car crash.
A few years ago that hope seemed doomed to end in disappointment as Aaron was suffering from the worst case of scoliosis I have ever seen. He underwent surgery, had his spine straightened, and two rods attached to his back. After this my sister thought it too dangerous for him to ever ride a bike again.
I had a great phone conversation with Aaron last night, and I asked him if he had ever ridden a racing trike. He said "no" with a very inquisitive tone so I recounted my conversation with my sister about his disability. He immediately assured me that he can ride, and quite well, as he rode his bike as his sole transportation his entire Jr year in college until it was stolen. So guess what? My long-awaited dream is going to come true! :D
I am going to fix it up a bit with new tires, brake pads, brake lever hoods, and a properly sized handlebar and we are going riding sometime in August when he gets a break from work. Assuming he likes it, and it fits, the bike will be his. I am keeping the 12-speed drive-train stock, but the lugged construction, fully-sloping fork crown, Superbee brakes, Omega headset, and hand-built Ofmega wheels are legends in their time, so he will inherit a living time capsule.
We were both pretty excited talking about this when I happened to remember that my Ex and I were up from LA to start our long bike trip from Mt Shasta back to Stockton (~ 450 miles) and ended up at the hospital where he was born a few hours later. A good steel bike really is forever.
I hope he will treasure it, and that it will bring him as much joy as it has me. Even when the grey hairs become too numerous to pluck out, there are still some beautiful moments that yet await us in life. I just know I'm going to get all choked up watching him ride it away!