Two years ago I made a new friend.
This aluminum-framed amigo entered my life while I was in mourning over the theft of my faithful Fuji Newest 2.0. After careful consideration I named this radical Roubaix “Velox,” as an homage to the world’s fastest, vegetarian dinosaur.
Velox and I made an attractive pair of vagabonds. Together we explored the Pacific Northwest like a modern-day Don Quixote astride the lean-mean-and-mischevious steed Rocinante: modern-day knights errant, finding misadventure and madcap antics.
Velox propelled me to a podium-finish at the Deuces Wild Sprint Triathlon.
We left no trail unexplored, no road un-rambled, and no winery un-corked.
Even the rainy Seattle winter did not deter my commitment to commuting with my stalwart companion.
Velox was born as a racing bike: sleek and white with a lightweight frame and a carbon fork. However, as any long-term couple knows, the key to maintaining excitement in a relationship is to fight monotony and mix in some variety to spice things up. Even though it was a big scary step for both of us, recently Velox and I began tasting the forbidden fruit of long-distance touring. We started small, with a titillating weekend trip to Bainbridge Island.
Any addict can attest that it always takes more and more to recapture the feelings of the initial RUSH. My next move as a full on, unrepentant, cycle-o-holic with no intention of checking myself into rehab was to bike halfway across the country…1,400 miles..in 20 days.
In the aftermath of my pedal-powered pilgrimage, I haven’t been an attentive partner to my chain-lubed companion. We needed some time apart: I felt spiritually and physically vulnerable especially in my Gluteus Maximus area; Velox felt dirty and self-conscious after so many days on sometimes dusty dirt roads. We had explored new territory in our relationship; we needed to process our emotions.
In accordance with the ages-old traditional spiritual ritual practice among the white North American male, I explored my feelings through golf.
Velox got some serious pampering at the bike-salon: oil, wash, blow-out..and new grip tape.
We’re not quite ready to take another big tour together just yet; we’re working on establishing boundaries and open lines of communication within our cycling-civil-union. While discussing the new framework of our relationship–the aluminum frame-work if you’ll pardon the pun–Velox and I came to an important realization about this fine Fuji-of-indeterminate-gender’s appellation: my bike’s name doesn’t convey the courage and spirit wrapped up in its cables, the tenacity twirling through every link of its chain. This bike and I conquered four miles of backcountry hiking in Eastern Oregon, dramatic tire punctures, and punishing mountain passes together.
This bike needs a name that encapsulates the warrior spirit imbued within every spoke. Dinosaurs may have been ferocious, but they were flesh and blood; one little comet turned the mighty thunder-lizards into so many old buried bones. My bike is an instrument of creative destruction: forever forging ahead in pursuit of forward progress. My bike is a BATTLE-AXE. From this day forward, the bicycle formerly known as Velox shall be reverently referred to as Battle-Axe: Vanquisher of Terrain most Varied and Terrifying. The appellation in appropriate because Battle Axe is my most effective weapon for wandering. Also, and not insignificantly, after 20 days on the road with a saddle that was originally designed for RACING wedged into my perineum…my unmentionable areas looked and felt as though I had been sitting on top of a battle-axe for the past month.