The joy of being a mountain biker doesn’t begin and end with the ride.
If you measure the quality of a relationship by how well it’s going when you’re not out having an adventure, a mountain bike can be your soul mate. It’s that rare, cool friend that’s always up for anything. It doesn’t give a rip about anniversaries, never asks what’s the magic word is, and would not in a million years ask you to help it move. It doesn’t mess with the the radio stations. It lives by the bro code that the most special gift is understanding how much you both hate to shop. It would pedal itself into the Grand Canyon before inviting you to a baby shower.
Your bike wants to do this. Indulge it.
Your mountain bike doesn’t need it’s own special parking spot. It doesn’t prefer one side of the bed over the other. You can leave it slumped against the wall of the garage or hanging upside down from the ceiling. Prop it against the side of the house like a buddy who’s had too much to drink, or bind it to a street sign with chains so thick it looks it looks like the next ride will be to the bottom of the James River — it doesn’t matter. A bike adapts. As long as you’re comfortable, it’s comfortable.
You know those long winters when you don’t see your bike for weeks, yet know you must have walked past it a hundred times? That’s because it’s not there. And I don’t mean it vanishes into domestic camouflage with the family pictures hanging in the hall and that weird chair in the corner nobody ever sits in — I mean it actually disappears. It knows that sometimes what a relationship needs most is space. But, if your bike does happen to materialize during your off season, don’t ignore it. Grab it and go riding ASAP. Assume it knows something you don’t. Snow tires, gloves, and balaclavas were invented for a reason. If you’re not in tip-top shape and could maybe use a park with beginner paths, or at least some single track on level acreage, try Pocahontas, Dorey, or Poor Farm.
Winter kept you off the bike? Spring is right around the corner.
Finally, nothing keeps a secret like a bike. Want to spend the whole afternoon riding the bunny trail, spinning in the granny gears so fast your derailleur might catch fire? That will be your little secret. Remember the time you tried that Superman and ended up having the nastiest, non-potato gun related accident those college kids who helped you back to your car ever saw? Mum was the word. And is there a single person on earth who could have kept quiet about the time Britney Spears’ Toxic got you so hyped up you lost all sense of physics and went flying off that berm and into the creek? Not a chance.
The shared adventures are what you think about the most, but it’s the little things, the kept secrets, the affability under fire, the awareness of the other’s mood, that make the relationship worth the ride.