You came into my life in the summer of ’95.
I had to spend all my pocket money just to get hold of you. After a lot of mmm’ing and aaarrr’ing I settled for a Principia MTB for various reasons, built locally by hand by fellas who went to the same university as I did back then, and very light. But, above all, I just fell in love with you at first sight since you looked so beautiful, gunmetal grey and no other distracting colours or patterns, just simple and clean. Which I haven’t always kept you and hence your name: ‘Dirty Pia’.
At first I kitted you out with some basic gear. As I saved up, you got new wheels, tyres and XT groupset. And you really came into life and the wonderful frame you have just took the beating I gave you without a moan.
I’m sorry that I haven’t been the nicest of owners but you have always had a place in my heart. I had to give you a new front wheel when we got broad-sided by a Parisian car driver who didn’t look. The broken front brake, along with the scar for life I gave you, when I pushed you a bit too hard and we ended up in a fence, you wear with pride and have never moaned about.
I have left you just standing there in the bedroom or living room for months, or even years, when I either just supported the local pub or when I played with other bicycles. I have even taken you apart to get these bicycles up and running and yet you haven’t moaned.
Today, for the first time in months, I took you out for a ride. And I even let others ride on you, which you also don’t moan about.
On today’s ride you hurt my right knee and my hands went numb after 8 miles. And my arms are knackered after taking a beating from your rigid frame. I still ride you with a smile on my face.
I do really wonder how the heck I managed to ride you to the coast either on the FNRttC or DunRun. You are not a long distance or comfortable bike to ride, but you are well fast and nippy in London traffic.
You got me back into cycling and not just a vehicle for commuting but got me out there to ride for fun. Even when I bloated to 20 stone you carried me around, got me back into cycling again and I lost my load of lard.
After 15 years of service the seat post snapped and therefore the only original bits left on you are the frame and forks, but you are still my Dirty Pia.
Thank you old girl for the memories, and the ones we will make in the future.