For as long as I can remember, cycling has been a part of my life. Whether it was a 10-year-old mountain bike rusting in the shed, or a brand new road bike perching proudly on its own stand in our study, I’ve always had a bike.
Growing up in Melbourne’s outer southeastern suburbs meant having a bike was of great benefit. Living in a large housing estate meant it wasn’t possible to simply walk down to the local milk bar – you had to ride.
I remember one day riding with my friends to Fountain Gate Shopping Centre on my new mountain bike (it had gears you could control, which was our latest obsession), and being amazed that I had actually ridden through multiple suburbs!
Years later, I’d bid farewell to said mountain bike. It had become clunky and rusted and was no longer rideable, but it had a good run (or ride, as it were). My next bike would be my pride and joy, a sharp metallic blue Mongoose Pro with stellar suspension and many speeds. I was immensely proud of the fact that I’d saved up for this bike with my own hard-earned money. It rode like a dream and handled the steep hills of Berwick without a problem, save for the occasional ride when my legs were a bit heavy. It’s hard to explain the joy I felt as a 15-year-old from simply riding down to the shops or to McDonald’s, but this bike provided that and for that I loved it.
The bike stayed with me until my early 20s; being a uni student with a part-time job I suddenly found myself with little time for riding, or maybe it was just laziness. One day, I was riding with my dad, and as he flew along on his shiny new road bike, I clunked behind him on my beloved Mongoose. He would drift out of sight, then stop to wait for me, and inevitably zoom away again. It became clear that my once shiny new bike had become a rusting clunker, as is the fate of all bikes which are not regularly serviced.
That was the last time I ever rode my Mongoose. Two weeks later I caved and purchased a road bike of my own. But more on that later…