its been approximately 5 years since i've had a vehicle at my disposal.
cars were my everything; i was a mechanic at a ford dealership... i built hot rods in my garage... for christ sake i was even in a rockabilly band that played songs about cars.
however all that quickly changed one night thanks to a bottle of vodka and some bad ideas. i pulled my ford ranger out into a busy intersection without stopping and got t-boned by an unsuspecting minivan driver.
clearly my fault. clearly intoxicated. clearly a genius move on my part.
that night caused my world to change drastically.
i was quickly fired from my job at ford (you can't be a mechanic with a suspended license.) the money i needed to pay for my lawyer pretty much usurped my savings. the money i spent to fix the minivan pretty much took care of whatever money i had leftover (thank god i didn't hurt the driver... i think about that all the time.)
more or less i went from being a relatively successful young man with a good paying job, to a broke and out of work kid with a police record.
my truck was cashed. totaled. i couldn't even drive illegally because there was no truck to drive.
so i ditched life in dupage county and headed down to champaign where my brother was living. also where there are buses and you can live on a minimum wage pizza job.
it was in champaign where i (re)discovered life on a bicycle.
a poor place to get away from alcohol (its a college town), i frequented the bars on the block by my work. on a tuesday night, in a conveniently empty bar there was a raffle going on. for every gin and tonic you bought you got a ticket. the prize was a brand new shimano equipped mountain bike. despite the corny ass paint scheme complete with rolling rock slogans and tacky graphics, this was my chance to ditch the bus pass. lucky for me, the bar had about 15 patrons... mostly frat guys and what-have-yous... and i was sure i could out gin and tonic them all.
9 rocks glasses later i had in fact done so. not that it would have taken that much, seeing as 14 of the 15 other people there were oblivious to this righteous giveaway, but 9 gin and tonics is a damn good time.
after bribing the bartenders with promises of free pizza, i was on my drunken way home on my sweet ass new bike.
that was it. it was over for me. i was officially a bike person from that day forth.
i've come a long way from that silly bicycle... i've had road bikes, mountain bikes, and track bikes between my legs over the years... but that same excitement i had when i hopped on that silly fucker has stuck.
my life did drastically change the night i wrecked my car. at the time it was or seemed all very negative. court, money, cops, lawyers, etc... but the end result of all that negativity has brought forth one of the most positive aspects of my life.

everyone has their individual reasons or passions for riding. but there is something really fantastic and sometimes mysterious that brings us all together:

we are cyclists. we weren't always, but we always will be.

keep riding.

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Comment by Bob on January 17, 2009 at 6:53am
Rock On witchabadself! Cool story.
Comment by brandon lee* on January 15, 2009 at 5:24am
Comment by Jon on January 12, 2009 at 10:08am
Very interesting story, I'm glad noone was hurt. It's sometimes a hard road to find something you love. Ride safe.
Comment by J Mills on January 6, 2009 at 11:10am
Yea, just be careful riding in the upcoming months brother!


Comment by Leah on September 17, 2008 at 12:56pm
wow, what an incredible story.
i'm glad that, despite the hard road in getting there, you were able to find something you love. and i love the phrase, "we are cyclists. we weren't always, but we always will be." so true.

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