[Warning: This is long.]
Today. coming home from my regular ride, I passed through a pretty fancy neighborhood. It was "big item pick up day," the weekend you can put almost anything out on the curb and the city will haul it away for free. Of course, I was checking out the trash piles as I rode by, but was going just too fast to dive for anything that might have been a "must have." In one pile I saw an almost perfect Nishiki road bike from the early 80s. It was a carbon copy of the one I had at the time, but it was blue with gold pinstriping (mine was BRG with copper). It had the original group still on it and the same crumby reflectors it came with. Even the front sprocket guard was perfect. I slammed on the brakes, hung a U, and picked it up. It was covered with dust (probably hadn't even been thought about in years) and had the original gum walls on it (flat, naturally). i really wanted that bike, but couldn't figure out how to get it home. Just then a kid, maybe 16, driving a pretty beat up Jeep Wrangler, stopped on the other side of the road. He jumped out of the Jeep, ran across the road, and said he had seen the bike while going the other way and turned around to get it. Well... I had my hands on it and, as far as I was concerned, it was mine. But then I thought, "Here I am with a pretty decent bike that probably cost more than that Jeep, wearing enough lycra and gear to finance this kid's lunch money for the next three years, and I am going to argue over who gets the bike?" Besides, I could see he really wanted the bike too. He was kind of chubby, and his face was just plain innocent. I told him I had the exact bike in the 80's (before he was born...), thought all he would need to do was change the tubes and tires, lube everything, clean and wax the he11 out of it, re-tape the bars, and he would have a pretty good bike. He said, "awesome - I really want a bike like that and I want to ride it until I get good." That did it. I caved and said, "Take it! Get it out of here quick. If you didn't come along I would have walked home with it." He said, "Hey, thanks man!" grabbed the bike and took off.
That felt good.