bike, the Firemonkey, has passed away.
bike was a second-hand Kona Fire Mountain, I bought
it in June 2003 for £70 from a flying buddy.
I had to walk to the airfield to pick it up from the
hanger where it had been left rotting for months.
This was days before I left for my first engineering
job in Inverness. A pannier rack meant it could carry
half of my stuff to my new home. Once there, I took
the bike out in a new direction every evening and
explored the city thoroughly. For the three months
I was there it was my only mode of transport and main
source of entertainment.
went off-road with a new pair of knobblies that summer.
Despite an arm wound, I was hooked. My flatmates thought
I was crazy when I spent £250 on new parts for
the bike. I learned most of what I know about fixing
bikes by putting it together anew. The difference
was incredible and the cromoly frame felt wonderful
either on or offroad.
all new trimmings it gained the nickname "Firemonkey"
in honour of the monkey work put into it. With loaded
paniers it took me to airfields far away or campsites.
Loaded with tent, food, water for three, toolkit and
camping gear it took on twenty eight miles of rocky
tracks around Aviemore without complaining. I learned
all the basic MTB skills on it, spending hours practicing
bunny hops alone at night and wheelies in an Inverness
rode it in the company of friends who had £500-1000
hardtails and it held its own in the Pentland hills.
I once saw it out of the corner of eye and wondered
"That's a nice bike, whose is that?" I just
didn't recognise it with the big tyres on.