The last time I hopped on my mountain bike, I was in my early 20s. Well along my career path with a successful startup behind me, my future was promising. I would ride every morning, through the bush, as fast as I could. Pushing my own limits like every irresponsible young adult should. It was my me-time where I could think about the day ahead, and map out what needed to get done. Yet, one fateful day, all that changed.
My OLD Route
I had created a route for myself which gave me the best of all worlds when it came to riding. My first leg to the forested area gave me a good chance to warm up. Arriving at the nature paths by Trent University in less than 10 minutes. Then I would have some fun “off the beaten path” for a bit and then would return back the way I came as fast as possible. Of course, there were other routes, trips, paths that got mixed in there. My parents at the time were living on Haliburton Lake, which leads to some awesome rides and many fond memories, including the reason I have a bear bell to this day.
I was coming back full tilt, on my way home, I had just crossed Park Hill and it was pouring rain (never let the rain stop you!). Just as my trip curved around Nicholls Oval my back tire popped loudly with a sound akin to a gunshot. This was the first time that I had an inner tube fail. While I was able to recover, the bike’s recovery was not so simple.
The long road to recovery
Given that it was pouring rain, I was forced to walk my bike back home as to avoid damaging the rims. When I got it home, I surveyed the damage, and to my surprise, I didn’t see anything visible on the inner tube. Inflating it showed that it could hold some pressure. I was left befuddled as to what had caused the mass deflation on my ride. The next day I took the bike out for a spin, but within a few minutes, the back tire was completely flat. I put a new inner tube into the tire and gave it a go, but again it was flat within minutes. Checking the inner wall of the tire itself, I found nothing.
The natural next step was to go to a pro; I had a good relationship with the bike shop down the street, Spokes & Pedals (they’re still there today!). I brought my bike in for service, and like always the nice man joked that it looked like my bike had gone through hell. A couple of days later, I received the call that it was ready to be picked up.
I don’t know what it was, something had changed. That invulnerable sense that I had on my bike, was gone. I didn’t find the enjoyment that was once there pushing the limit. For a few years after, I would try to go out on my bike but would find myself apprehensive about the back tire keeping pressure.
The Right Push
Fast forward over a decade; now upgraded with a wonderful family and still making video games for a living (Underworld Ascendant). My life in all regards is pretty awesome. So when asked to go for a bike ride with my son; shamefully something I had yet to do for the first 10 years of his life, it was time to shake off the cobwebs. While others have tried to get me back on my bike, the request of my son could not be unmet.
You know the expression “it’s just like riding a bike?”, it really is true. I still had some hesitation and found myself occasionally checking my back tire. However, overall it felt great to be back on my bike. I just need to start planning out my new route 🙂