Riding in my backyard.

A few years ago my wife and I were climbing down in Thailand and crossed paths with another couple from our home state of Colorado. Of course phone numbers were exchanged and promises of keeping in touch were made, but as is always the case when traveling, I figured the chances of ever seeing them again was probably slim to none.

A couple of months later, I shockingly got a call from them asking if I would consider performing their wedding ceremony back here in Colorado. I’m certainly no high priest, monk or other religious elder type but I do practice a certain Eastern philosophy so maybe that’s what prompted them to ask. Although I was flattered at the request, I hesitantly agreed.

This couple was friendly and pleasant enough on the surface but I knew straight away that our worlds were far, far apart. He was brash, “confident” and one of the original founders of Niner Bikes. She was an entrepreneur, actress and fashion model. They both had very A-type personalities where I on the other hand, am a middle of the road kinda guy who admittedly loves to play really, really hard but wants my superpower to be the ability to be invisible. Different orbits all the way around.

I’d never heard much about Niner Bikes up to that point, but while doing some background research in preparation for their wedding ceremony, I became intrigued with the Niner story. Ironically, I’d also been thinking seriously about jumping into the world of building up my own bike so it was sort of a perfect segue into putting my plan into action.

To be 100% honest, after I gave them the instructions to kiss and officially end the wedding ceremony, I never heard a single word from them again, not even at the reception. This wasn’t a huge surprise really, but I still felt a little used and pissed at myself for having agreed to participate. C’est la vie I guess.

Regardless of the circumstances, I was still interested in the Niner brand and after some more research and serious internet searching for a good deal, I grabbed my Chile Pepper coloured Niner EMD frame from Cambria Bikes and entered the world of building up bikes.

Building up my own bike up from scratch has without a doubt been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. I know the bike inside and out, can easily repair or adjust anything on it and most importantly, I now have this everlasting sense of accomplishment for having built something on my own that gives me infinite pleasure every time I click my shoes into the pedals.

This week I hit 12,000 off road miles on that bike. I’ve admittedly been tempted to upgrade it from time to time, but this bike has given me so much on a personal level that when push came to shove, I simply couldn’t bear parting with it. I’ve gone through countless tyres, replaced both wheels, replaced numerous broken pedals, recently upgraded to a 1x drivetrain, but the frame, as beaten up as it is, is still the original.

My bike has also been my reliable source of fitness, both physical and mental. Even on the worst of days, I can jump on my bike and within minutes, whatever is concerning me will give way to a sincere smile and a content soul. I’m also grateful that bike has given me a vehicle to experience parts of our great state and other parts of the west I may not have had the opportunity to see without it.

Although a lasting friendship was never in the cards from that chance meeting back in Thailand, at least it led me down an unexpectedly wonderful 12,000-mile path that has given me more joy than I ever could’ve expected.

Climb high. Ski fast. Pedal far. Live simply.