Speeding Into A New Sunrise With Eighteen Gears Two Wheels And A Kickstand

I have a bike sitting in my apartment, it’s purple. A really dark purple. There was some confusion… when I pulled it out of my parents’ basement it was so dirty I thought it was green. Then the bike repair dude told me over the phone “you had the black bike, yeah it’s ready” and I said “you mean the green one”, there were a few heartbeats before he said “…okay. It’s ready.”

Then, when I finally got my hands on it this afternoon the sun let loose from behind a horizon-wide bank of grey clouds and the light hit my bike just so and… it’s a dark purple. Classy.

My last bike was a ten-speed tank. It literally weighed more than the combined weight of two of my friends bikes. It’s possible it could have weighed more than some of my friends. It was a brand-name bike, and it lasted a long time and it carried me a long way… actually, I can’t remember where it went. I do know it went a few thousand miles with me.

My little brother was bike crazy. He had a full-on racing bike by Bianchi. From what I remember he spent $800 on it back in 1988, I’m not sure what the exchange rate is now but today that’s like six quadtrillion Zimbabwean dollars. I know I didn’t have my bike when he bought the racing bike, so mine must have disappeared when I was eighteen or so.


His bike weighed about four pounds. It was crazy. My best friend at the time had a racing bike as well. He was trying to get good enough to go professional, he probably could have. He definitely had the thighs. I went out riding with him once and I had to turn around after ten miles, he had to keep stopping to wait for me so I let him practise in peace.

He actually rode across Canada one summer. It took him some stupidly quick time like a couple of weeks to get from Ottawa to Vancouver. Here to there is something like 5000km… and he actually rode up the freaking Rocky Mountains. His father drove the whole way with him in his little Ford Tempo then they came back together.

My brother’s bike is still in our parents basement. I thought about taking it out for a spin but honestly I think if I sat on it I’d bend the thing into a U. And it’s hard to blame that kind of thing on the dog.

So my new previously-used bike is a Rocky Mountain, which is kind of a big deal. It’s a Canadian company that specializes in mountain bikes. Mine has road tires instead of those big, thick knobby ones that tear huge scars into the forest underbrush. I’ve been interested in mountain biking in the past, and we do have some excellent mountain trails just a few miles from here. But I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t survive a ten mile in-town leisure ride at this point.

My cousin, the nurse, is a hardcore mountain biker. He lives just to the right of Toronto and somehow he managed to find some hills where he and some friends built all kinds of tricks and see-saws and suspended trails. Some of them are really extravagant… some look like they threw some 2×4’s randomly at some trees while someone else fired a nailgun into the air.

I’ve been trying to get this bike for three months now. I actually asked for it last summer but my parents thought that might be the year they finally decided to ride their bikes. The classy-purple bike sat in their basement for something like four or five years. So I managed to get it to a repair shop to tighten the brakes and get new tubes into the tires. I thought I was going to have to get whole new tires because I thought the quick-release system was seized.

Five minutes after getting the bike out of the car, and after repair dude had quoted a price and taken my bike into the back, my mother tells me the tires are just fine… my step-father actually inflated them the day before and they were still inflated when they went into the back of repair dudes shop. I hadn’t noticed because I was still pissed off at Other Stuff.

While she’s telling me I’m about to spend money on replacing perfectly good inner tubes I’m watching some kid pull a tire off a bike using the quick-release system and I realize I’d been trying to remove the tire backwards.

So today I essentially spent $85 so a guy would wash my bike.

But, I don’t care. I have a high quality bike and it only cost me a little self-respect, pride and $85 I was probably only going to toss away on keeping myself from going hungry.

The cool part is I can pretty much only drive it at night. The Lithium keeps me from doing more than a few hours of strenuous stuff in the sunlight, so I’ll be tearing around my little village after midnight.

I’m going to take it out once I’m finished this but just for a little spin so I can figure out where the gears are.

I just added ten to twenty miles to my horizons… good times baby, good times.


4:18am Update: Holy crap… I totally forgot what exercise does to people. And eighteen speeds really feels like I’m cheating. Wow… this is going to be cool. I’m just going to have to figure out how to carry two gallons of water for every five miles I bike.




About Gabriel...

...diagnosed with manic depression when I was nineteen, for the next 14-years I lived without treatment or a recovery plan. I've been homeless, one time I graduated college, I've won awards for reporting on Internet privacy issues, and a weekly humour column. In 2002 I finally hit bottom and found help. It's now 2022, and I have an 8-year old son, and a 12-year old son... I’m usually about six feet tall, and I'm pretty sure I screwed up my book deal. I mostly blog at saltedlithium.com....
This entry was posted in Bipolar, Bipolar Disease, Bipolar Disorder, crazy people with no pants, Everyday Stuff, Health, Living With Manic Depression, Manic Depression. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Speeding Into A New Sunrise With Eighteen Gears Two Wheels And A Kickstand

  1. thordora says:

    Awesome. Wind in the hair at night this time of year-BLISS.

  2. markps2 says:

    uhh, I don’t like to give advice , but I have to say exercise at night will prevent sleeping. No sleep/messed up sleep cycle will likely bring “mania” of manic depression on.
    Now don’t think of that orange. As in you have to think of an orange in order to NOT think of an orange. As in thinking abour sleep and worry of mania may bring insomnia and mania on by thinking too much.
    uhh don’t think too much ok?

  3. Gabriel... says:

    Thordora, you are officially comment number 2,222… which is a very cool number. I actually spent most of the ride this morning mostly in a state of fear. I kept watching the tire roll over little obstacles and thinking “holy crap, my tire’s going to get stuck in a rut and I’m going to die”, or “Jesus, I’m going really fast… I’m going to die”. I actually came within a few feet of a skunk as I was leaving my driveway. It looked like it was dancing a little jig, like it couldn’t decide to spray me or not as it ran for cover. I don’t know if that’s a good or bad omen…

    Thanks for the advice Mark… Katherine Heigl gets me manic as well but I’m not going to stop watching this scene in “100 Girls” three or four times a day, even if it’s dubbed in German and even if I stay up most of the night thinking about it… if the exercise plan has me too pumped to sleep I’ll modify it, but it only took about 45 minutes this morning for my heart rate to come back down to the speed of a frightened bunny’s and another fifteen or twenty to fall to sleep. Don’t think about the elephant Mark, whatever you do don’t think about the elephant… no, not that one, the one behind the yellow one.

  4. exactscience says:

    Cool. As for carrying two gallons… try this http://www.camelbak.com/index.cfm

  5. Gabriel... says:

    I love those things… there are only three convenience stores for 12km, and they’re within a couple of blocks of each other, so whenever I get more than a mile away from my apartment I usually start thinking about how much I need one of those water backpacks… I wonder if you could fill one up with chocolate milk.

  6. markps2 says:

    I take it for granted you understand that I think the post writing was excellent. People don’t often take the time to say something was well done, but do complain about a squeeky wheel.

  7. Gabriel... says:

    Thanks Mark, that’s always nice to hear… read. I don’t hear or read that very often. Or maybe I do but then I just want to read and hear it more. Did you see the elephant behind the yellow one? Don’t think about monkeys riding elephants. Squeeky wheel… cute.

  8. bromac says:

    This is fantastic! Exercise does so much for moods, I believe. Plus, the fresh air. I think this is going to be great for you!!

  9. thordora says:

    I really hate Kate Bush. Have I mentioned that lately?

  10. How the heck can someone hate Kate Bush?

  11. Gabriel... says:

    Don’t kid yourself Mohareb, there’s a huge anti-Bush sentiment out there… so much so it has extended towards other Bush people like George and that band Bush-X.

    Thor… I checked and no you haven’t mentioned your hatred of Kate Bush, at least not on this blog. I have to admit that’s a pretty random thing to leave as a comment. I think it’s possible you’re referring to the headline… maybe? If so I actually stole it from Golden Earring’s “Radar Love”…

  12. But… A sound that kils! Babooshka!

    Wutherin’ fucking HEIGHTS!

  13. Gabriel... says:

    Hey, I’m right there with you Mohareb. I liked “Running Up That Hill” for about twenty minutes back in 1989… I was also a fan of that Enya “Orinoco Flow” song but that was probably some residual effects from my four or five sports related concussions. I think the dislike people feel for Kate comes more from her voice than the actual songs. As an experiment I say we get Slayer, Primal Fear, and Slipknot to cover her tunes just to see what would happen.

  14. Excellent. We need to assemble a rock supergroup to perform her music, made up of Neal Peart, Jimi Hendrix, and Freddie Mercury. It shall be called “Only Mostly Dead”.

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