....a little story
The Junkman gave me an old 10 speed to ride. Nothing fancy, 3 main tubes cro-mo, you know the kind, introductory bike, one step up from heavy steel. But I hadn't been on a touring bike in 20 years and was interested. "Take it home," he kept saying, until finally I grabbed the thing and threw it into the back of the truck.
Like most things the Junkman gave, this, 'good as new' bike needed work. I'd made twenty yards and the rear derailer wanted to touch every spoke on the back wheel. That 20 yards cost me. I spent a day getting the thing road worthy. Rebent the frame and mounting bracket...it needs a new rear movement screw stop, tap the old hole and put in a bigger screw...only I didn't make it that far; you see, I had two or three broken children's bikes laying around, pulled out of a dumpster figuring one rideable version could be made from the parts. My small sons played in the garage and yard watching as I worked.
Got the six year old going. He was happy. Got the three year old up and on training wheels; he was scared. The baby got to keep his bottle.
Then a call from a neighbor 20 miles away, he wanted to go Mt biking. I hadn't really ridden in, I mean Ridden...has it been ten years?
That was one special Friday afternoon on the Mountain. Riding reminded me of the best of munk, of what and who I was. My friend had a full suspension bike, and after a few yards on that, I knew what I had to do.
On Saturday the Junkman's wife called and told us he'd died shortly after we saw him. I never got to tease him about all the work still needed on that ten speed.
On the day of his funeral I drove to Billings MT. and my son and I picked out a 7 speed Alum 20" wheeled Mt bike that cost more than my old man would have spent on his honeymoon. It was worth it. I wanted my son to ride with me. Because there was a plan now. That old ten speed, perfect and ready to go, was going to cost a lot more than even the Junkman bargained. But he will get a kick out of knowing his kindness put in motion a desperate happiness; this old man of 47 rides again.