If you have ever felt Juancho’s spurs in your shanks out on the trail, the man you want to thank is right here at the compound. If you have ever awakened in a cold sweat, heart pounding, with the nightmare image of a stout, hobbit-like man bearing down on you in the forest, stop by and thank my Dad today.
It all began with a Schwinn Scrambler, maroon with yellow mag wheels. The year was 1978.
Our dirty family secret is that my father was a roadie, and a highway commuter. He rode a blue Raleigh racing bike, leather saddle, silver toe-clips with leather straps, and I was not allowed to ride it. This is how I learned that a bike is not a toy.
(I rode it anyway, with one leg slid through the frame because it was too tall, but let’s just keep that between us OK?)
There were other bikes, namely a Fuji Palisade, that came into my life one Christmas in the 1980’s. I traded in my parachute pants for some lycra and raced a few sprint triathlons.
Then I got my hands on a yellow Jamis Dakar, and with the finality of a sex change operation, I gave away my road bike. No regrets, no remorse.
That Dakar survived many surgeries and mutations, eventually landing a second life as a messenger bike in Portland, Oregon, 1995. That almost killed it.
None of that would have happened without the Scrambler though, and the permission to ride it as far as I could as long as I could still get back home.
Last night I rode Munson in the company of my parents (two of them anyway) and my brother, Paco. They hung tough, they fell off their bikes, and they loved it.
…and S’quatch, Taco, that’s the only reason I let you get away from me out there.