Bikes are a big part of my life.
Five years ago, I found myself in the parking lot of Austin’s Bicycle Sports Shop. My boyfriend Scott was there, watching me ride carefully around the lot and discussing specs with the employee. I was test-riding a Fairdale Flyer Step-through, and knew from the first pedal that I’d take it home. First, I haggled $20 off for a chip in the paint. Then I named my bike: Monty after the owner of the bike company’s corgi…
…and from then on, MY Monty got me to and from every college class until I graduated. I was obsessed. It was a step-through, so I could wear dresses on it (there was no bar between my legs, so I can ride with them pulled together) and ride was just perfection. I never felt freer than while riding Monty. I loved Monty more than just about anything I’ve ever owned.
Then, after college, Monty just sat in the garage. I was going through a rough time emotionally, and I couldn’t get my life together enough to buy a helmet. I refused to ride around my new neighborhood without a helmet, but I also couldn’t make it happen to just order one or grab one from Target. I missed how easy it was to ride around my college campus, and I was in the midst of a depression. So, for years I just let Monty sit in the garage while Scott rode his BMX bike every weekend. It was hard to care about something that once made my smile bigger than anything.
We were broke, and things were hard. I was in New Jersey visiting my aunt when I gave Scott the go-ahead to sell Monty. I never rode him anyway, and we needed to pay rent. He got a few hundred bucks and sold my bike to a pro BMX-er who wanted it for his girlfriend. Luckily, my mental health problems kept this from being the devastating turn that it should have been. I had bigger things on my plate than a bike I didn’t ride leaving my garage.
Cut to last year. We were moving to a new place, and things were coming into perspective. I’ve ALWAYS loved riding bikes. It was something we did as a family growing up, riding the hilly cemetery, and my brother and I would often ride to the deli or pool in our hometown (one of us would run into the deli for candy and the other would guard the bikes- and I’d mess with his gear ratio while he was in there, and then he would barely be able to pedal when we left. Being the older sibling is da best! 😈). Riding through Kailua Town was basically one of my favorite things in Hawaii. Every night after dinner, my brother and I would hop on the mountain bikes we brought from New Jersey and ride around.
Last year, I started googling the current Fairdale lineup. I knew I had to be loyal to Fairdale, which is just about the coolest bike company ever. The founder, Taj, is a pro BMX legend and one of the first names I ever learned when immersing myself into Scott’s BMX world. Fairdale bikes are designed for whatever bike rider you are, and that includes me- somebody who wants to hop on and not think about gears, terrain, or anything but the smooth ride and knowing I can hop a curb if I need to.
Fairdale had a Flyer for sale, without that step-through that I preferred, and I didn’t like the look of their ‘girly’ Daybird Step Through bike at all. It wasn’t NEARLY as cool as Ol’ Montgomery. I was torn. Finally ready for a new bike, and there was nothing on the market like Monty anymore. Now I really started regretting my decision to sell him.
I scoured the internet and almost bought one from some bike store in California on clearance, but the cost of shipping a bike to me was just way too much to swallow. I hunted Craigslist regularly and all the other for-sale in Austin boards. I knew I wanted to get Monty back- same make, model, color, year- even if it wasn’t MY Monty. And I knew if I’d find him anywhere, it would be in Austin, which is the home of Fairdale and the city of bikes.
Then in October, I found a Monty on Craigslist. I called Scott freaking out, and emailed the guy with my heart pounding a million miles a second. Two hours later, he emailed me back. Scott called him, and we arranged to go over there. I had his address. I knew it might feel off and I might walk away without a bike. I was nervous.
We arrived at a huge house in a nice neighborhood in Austin, and a Dad-type came out with the bike. It was scratched to hell, and the seat was crazy-high. But it was a Monty. I hopped on and rode down his steep driveway. With a grin, I gave him the $140 bucks. His daughter had moved to a different state and didn’t need the bike anymore, and he wanted the room in his garage. Scott and I crammed the bike into our teeny-tiny car and drove home with our knees to our chests, a Fairdale Flyer Step-Through in the back. I got it back for 1/3 of what I’d paid originally.
I bought Mr. Clean Magic Erasers and cheap white nail polish, and spent hours rehabbing this clearly well used bike. By the end, it looked almost new. My heart was full, and Monty II took up residence in my new apartment. Of course, Monty II stays inside instead of out on the balcony. I live with a BMX rider- he does NOT play around when it comes to bikes.
Lately, I’ve been riding Monty II as much as I can. I’m going to take care of some of the things this girl had added to the bike that I don’t need, and make it all mine again. It’s just as beautiful to ride, and I’m so glad I found my bike again. I promise you I will never sell this bicycle! I still miss my original Monty sometimes, but I guess that was a lesson I had to learn while young and poor. Depression will make you give up on things that used to keep your world running. I’m still fighting that battle, but I’m sure glad to have my bike back.
All of this is to say, get ready for some Fairdale Adventure posts on my blog. Monty II and I are hitting the streets and taking pictures of our journeys. I don’t want my life to pass me by anymore, and I don’t want to have an activity that I LOVE but never do.
Thanks for reading! You can find me on Instagram for more.