Sometimes a bike becomes more than just a machine.
It takes on characteristics of a friend; or it becomes special and feels like a well-worn baseball glove every time you put it on.
That's how I feel about my 1999 Haro Escape mountain bike.
It started out as a cutting edge (for the time) off road ride. I remember many outings on the trails near my home in Westerville, Ohio. Many times the bike would get submerged in mud bogs, and I'd have to come home and pull the crank apart to let the water drain out.
Years went by and all was well until my bike was "wounded" in our transition to Florida. The movers snapped the front suspension fork, so I replaced it with a rigid fork and added slick tires to build a commuter bike.
After that it was really fine rear panniers and a lighting kit.
Then, tragedy struck. I was mowing the lawn, went in for a quick shower and when I came out my trusted friend was gone, stolen out of the garage.
I panicked and roamed the area for hours, hoping some misguided youth had thrown my steed in a neighbor's front yard. No such luck.
Several weeks and a police report later, a local bike shop called. I had posted a notice on Craig's List and the diligent shop owner had located my Haro.
A kid had sold it to him and I bought it back for $40.
The bike was scratched and the bags and lights were stripped off. Even the pedals had been removed, with a pair of old junkers in their place.
My bike had been violated and so had I.
But I rebuilt her, cleaned her, added new lights, new pedals, had the wheels trued...
And now my Haro and I ride again.
Life is good and my horse is back in the stable.