Dear Bicycle,

I purchased you over 15 years ago to help me raise money for children. You supported me well during that ride and have ever since. Recently, though, I don’t think I’ve given you the credit you deserve.

After that initial charity ride I shunned you and relegated you to a life of collecting dust, rust and cobwebs. I kept you inside, out of the elements, but you were always kept hidden behind the couch or in a dark shed. Over the next 12 years you only saw the light of day once or twice but never complained. Sure, you developed flat tires and rusty gears but you always remained faithful. Ready to be ridden when called upon. Several times you’ve been ungraciously knocked to the ground due to my poor riding abilities. Scratches formed in your beautiful paint but you wear them with pride like battle scars.

Over the last several months I’ve exposed you to riding your designers would have never thought you capable of. Bearing my weight you’ve powered on like a champ completing each ride and eagerly wanting more. The static and dynamic pressures I’ve placed on your frame have pushed you to the limit but you’ve responded with grace and poise. I’ve ridden you through water, mud and dog crap and you never complained aside from an occasional squeaky spoke.

Even though you’ve remained faithful to me after all these years, I must admit that my mind and hands have wandered with yearns for aero wheels and dura ace. Sleeker, younger models dressed in carbon fiber and titanium have caught my eye. I’ve caressed them in the local bike shops and often find myself daydreaming of a time when I’ll be able to actually sit on one of these lithe machines. During our recent rides together my eyes have wandered to the state of the art rigs that pass us by. Even though my devotion was wavered you’ve always carried me with no questions asked. Any cyclist would be lucky to have you.

Over the next two months you and I will be together more than we have in years as I complete my century training and get ready for my first 100 mile ride. I only ask that you not treat me that way I’ve treated you and to help me as I push both of us to our physical limits.

You’ll always be my first bicycle love.