Goodbye old friend

Saying farewell to a much-loved companion is never easy - even when it's a mountain bike.

by Martin Thomas   November 10, 2013  

As my eBay customer carefully carried his new Giant Trance 2 over the hall carpet - scrupulously avoiding contact with walls, radiator and front door in a way I very rarely manage - I felt a wave of sadness sweep over me. I would probably never see the Giant again.

It’s done little more than take up space in my shed for the past three years; its sale will bring closer the happy day when I buy my next bike; I haven’t wanted to cycle off road for years, and yet despite all this, when I saw it being pushed up the street away from my house, all I could think about were blissful traffic-free rides on the South Downs.

I remembered the first time I cleared Butser Hill near Winchester, lungs aflame, then I recalled the first time I descended it, clinging on desperately with a massive gleeful grin plastered across my face.

I remembered the stolen work day rides – charging out of Brighton onto the Downs as quickly as possible, turning west onto the well-ridden chalk paths, past the ruined building near Devil’s Dyke, through the gates, past the sheep, up the winding hill towards the youth hostel, along the farm track and then over the cattle grid onto the road, cutting left past the farm onto the treacherous grassy path over the hill and then down towards the back end of Port Slade, then on to the seafront – mud flying from my tyres – before the eastward sprint home, hopefully arriving within an hour of my departure.

I remembered the pride I felt when I first cleared the tricky ascent near Saddlecombe Farm and the pain I felt when I broke my arm after falling off when my front wheel got stuck in a rut near Waterhall golf course. I remembered the slogs up to Firle Beacon, and Truleigh Hill, and Bramber, and Kingston, and Washington. I remembered the crackle of my tyre cutting through frosty grass on cold February mornings, and the whirring buzz of dew-sodden disc brakes slowing my descents towards the back of Stanmer Park from Ditchling Beacon.

Road riding has taken over these days but the Giant sale money will go towards something versatile enough to cope with road or track. Something CX-oriented. Something like the Kinesis Tripster ATR, perhaps, test-ridden last week through a joyously muddy and leafy Stanmer Park and the cause of much glee and merriment.

So the future’s undoubtedly bright. But before I rush off to embrace it, allow me a moment to say goodbye to a faithful old friend.

13 user comments

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As a purchaser of second hand bikes I can only assure you that the current owner will experience and cherish all of the above (and more!) on his new toy! The Giant looked quite the machine - ready for anything.

The Human Cyclist A blog. Try it, you might like it...

sm's picture

posted by sm [355 posts]
11th November 2013 - 7:48


Thanks sm, here's hoping.

Martin Thomas's picture

posted by Martin Thomas [601 posts]
11th November 2013 - 8:08


*Sniff!* You made me miss my Giant OCR with this post... thanks... I remember her fondly...

Vive Le Fantasy Cycling Game!

posted by enrique [1879 posts]
11th November 2013 - 13:41


You won't want to hear this but mine's had an airing this autumn and it's been ace. Having done exclusively road riding for 2-3 years now, I had an itch that needed scratching and this coincided with a work event that took me within 30 mins of a well known trail centre.

Cue a nominal amount of cleaning, lubing and a quick spin around the block and it was in the back of the car along with the (thankfully clean) camelbak, shoes and (peaked) helmet. Trail centres might be a guilty pleasure compared to finding your own way over hill and dale, but it was certainly a 'lunch break' that put a smile on my face. Big Grin

I've done a couple more rides since on it and for winter training and for nothing more than a break from the norm, MTB is the way to go.

PS: I was amazed how some MTBs such as the downhill rigs have evolved since I was more into it. I thought road bikes were expensive...


posted by arrieredupeleton [577 posts]
11th November 2013 - 15:49


Bah! Not listening!! *covers ears with hands...sings loudly...thinks happy thoughts* Wink

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posted by Martin Thomas [601 posts]
11th November 2013 - 16:11


this has brought a tear to my eye and sad memories I buried deep earlier this year when i done exactly the same thing with my beautiful matt black giant reign X2 with delicious 180mm totems and forumla mega brakes which hadn't seen trail nor hack for near 3 years since my complete conversion to the 'dark side'

i felt so firm & right in my choice in those days of long road rides & warm nights during the summer but lately my heart has been heavy as i miss my friend and sadly the other friends with it who didn't convert but who have been swapped by equally good road friends.
damn those recent videos of the red bull rampage i forgot about our religious annual May trip to innerleithen & glentress, the fun park & me hitting the high step ladder drop for the first time ever on the last trip after 5 years of trying.

'i hope your new owner cherishes & gazes on you with the same love i did & gains as much pleasure from long saturday afternoons on cavehill or the mourne mountains or quick summer evening spins at the local park - i miss u my friend - forgive me for thinking i didn't need u any longer - i did & i do'

posted by bfslxo [140 posts]
12th November 2013 - 15:57


I sold my old Giant to a friend. Over the summer I arranged to meet him for a drink, and for the first time we'd ever met at that Central London location, he didn't arrive by bike. I felt a bit empty, I'd been looking forward to seeing it again...

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8799 posts]
12th November 2013 - 16:44


I still cry myself to sleep at the thought of the day I sold my racing bike for student fuel (beer money). I kept the training bike instead of the one with the Columbus slx frame, C-Record gruppo and the world's most beautiful brakes.

I haven't been able to sell one since. That was nearly 25 years ago.

To be fair though, I did get pished many times over on the proceeds.

My eyes prefer Celeste, my bum prefers titanium.

Jack Osbourne snr's picture

posted by Jack Osbourne snr [335 posts]
12th November 2013 - 20:39


I've worked in the bike industry for years and owned 50+ different bikes including 25+ full suspension mountain bikes

it takes me away from having so much attachment to pine for these sold / traded bikes, because most were owned for 1 season, at the most 2 seasons

recently I have been thinking about selling my mountain bike (Stumpjumper Expert Carbon 29'er) because it does not see anything like as much use as road bike or commuting hybrid, once a week is not even common any more!

but I know I'd always regret not having some type of mountain bike for the occasional off-road ride, and so it keeps its place in my stable of bikes Smile

posted by hampstead_bandit [305 posts]
25th November 2013 - 13:44


I'm thinking of parting company with the full sus I have.

Since getting my 29er ht it just doesn't get a look in. I offered it to my son but he still likes the 4x style set up of his ht and delcared it boring! Kids these days hey!!

Great piece btw - really got me thinking about former bikes!

posted by Super Domestique [1660 posts]
26th November 2013 - 14:57


I was faced with this recently when my trusty 'do it all commuter' 2000 Cannondale H700 Hybrid (frame built in the USA - Magura hydraulic rim brakes) had to go in for a new headset and the stem was siezed to it. Although I'd been eying up sexy CX bikes, which make great commuters, the H700 been a good friend. Talked through some options with the LBS and realised I didn't want to lose it. Pimped it up with some carbon forks, front disc brakes, lightweight stem and a new seatpost (ditched the heavy post-moderne suspension one) and it now rides much faster. It also looks a bit 'different' which I quite like. The LBS were really helpful as I suppose it was a bit more interesting than their usual bike maintenance work. Nothing like a bit of 'cosmetic surgery' to pep up your relationship!


posted by Shades [247 posts]
28th November 2013 - 14:17


Funny you should say that. I have a KHS Montana Pro that's 20 years old this year. The frame's a bit rusty and the bits are all knackered but I'm seriously thinking of tarting it up for winter use...I can't go through the trauma of losing another old friend. (Not unless I have a shiny new friend to distract me from my loss...)

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posted by Martin Thomas [601 posts]
28th November 2013 - 15:21


specialized stumpjumper bought just before my son was born, foolishly I thought I'd still get to ride it, ha! got into the road as it was much easier for a quick fix and the stumpy spent the best part of 5 years on a hook in the man cave. complete strip and rebuild a few months back and for a 6 year old bike a she is like new again so treated her to a blast around cannock last friday. safe to say we both loved it and the thousands of miles of road only helped me ace those switch back climbs Smile

the only real sollution is to not sell them, the n+1 rule is strong in this house hold.

posted by mrchrispy [354 posts]
5th December 2013 - 20:47