Today I was invited on social media to do the #loveyourspousechallenge. I'm not all about these boastful, I love my life so let me shove it in your face type challenges. I know that's not what they're meant to be about, but it feels a bit contrived... Then I got to looking at my old photos. I came across my first adventure with John and was overwhelmed with joy as I relived our story. For example, the first thing we every did together was build a bike!
When John and I first met, we bonded over books and bikes - the body powered kind. We used to hang out at a bike cooperative in Urbana, IL called The Bike Project. The Bike Project's main objective was to fix up bikes left around the university campus and re-sell them the following year. They also invited anyone to come and learn how to fix their own bikes.
The Bike Project seems to have grown since 2009, because it used to be about four regulars along with John and I that hung out there. The place was swamped with old bikes in various stages of disrepair. Somewhere in the pile, John and I found two old Schwinn Varsity frames that need a lot of work. They were so rusted and dirty that I don't have pictures of them.
Someone at the coop got it into our heads that no one would buy these old heavy steal bikes even if we made them look brand new. So we did what any rational person would do...
We decided to combine them to make a tandem bicycle.
John had the bike knowledge. I knew how to weld. It was meant to be.
I didn't have any tools to weld with. I was right out of college living in a tiny apartment. I didn't even have a bed. While a tig welder might have been higher on my list of priorities than a bed, I still didn't have one. Locals to the rescue, however. We heard of a guy who fixes things, and we headed over to his house, the bike frames tied to John's xtracycle (sort of an extended bike to haul things).
I miss the days where we do everything by bike. Have I told you we once bought our Christmas tree and lugged it home on our bike? Those were the good old days. I digress. Back to the story.
This guy, who's name I am sorry has escaped my memory, let us take over his shed for a day. He didn't care that I was a bit of a messy welder. He was stoked to help us achieve our goal.
A few hours gone by and great stories shared, we had a single tandem bike frame!
Welding the frame was the quick part. We had to true some wheels, create a long enough chain, rig brake cables, shifting cables etc. I'm pretty positive the people in the shop thought we were nuts. It was a blast!
When we began dating, I knew that we would be partners in our future endeavors. Building a bike required collaboration and trust. After all, we did eventually ride the thing. I don't often reminisce about the way our relationship started, which is sad because it was an awesome way to pass our free time.
...We did eventually ride this bike a number of times. It is strong enough to hold us, but man it wobbles and flexes like crazy! Mostly, we have it as a keepsake of our first collaboration...
Thanks for traveling with me down memory lane for a while.
Whatever your adventures may be, whomever they are with, enjoy them! You could be cooking dinner together or attempting a first ascent in Patagonia; they are all worth while if you love it!