My life is an evolution. Rather, the stuff in my life is in a constant state of evolution. From computers to cameras to bicycles, nothing just gets thrown out. Parts are replaced, and the old stuff usually finds its way into something else. I’m a pack rat. And I have a basement full of crap to prove it.

Lots of people just throw their stuff away when it breaks, or when it’s obsolete (whatever that means), or when they just have a hankerin’ for something new. Maybe it goes into the trash, maybe they sell it on ebay or in their annual yard sale, or maybe they give it to someone like me who hordes all kinds of useless junk. I know this to be true. I see all their old “junk” on the curb Tuesday night, waiting for someone to come along and pluck it from the refuse. Failing that, the trash man hauls it away to that black hole from which nothing returns. Furniture, computers, boxes of dishes or books or toys, bags of clothing and, yes, bicycles. Sometimes I feel like stopping, warming up the wrenches, and carting off the useful bits. My wife, however, thinks I should leave it alone. I don’t like sleeping on the couch much, so my dumpster diving is kept to a minimum. However, my own stuff is never placed before the mercy of the masses. It evolves.

Three computers make their homes in ours. Actually, there are about 7, but only 3 are currently functional: my wife’s PC, another PC in the attic (rarely turned on these days), and the laptop. Of the three, only the laptop was purchased as-is. The others were grown in a test tube. Cases were purchased or salvaged, motherboards and processors replaced as component technology moved on, memory upgraded. The laptop will limp along until its screen dies or its keyboard stops working, long after its expected lifespan. In a few years we’ll probably still have 3 computers, all but one will be continuations of the existing 3, and won’t have a single component in common with their current incarnations.

Last night I finished some upgrades to the bicycle. Nitto Rando bars, a dirt drop stem and new cabling. This time I routed the shifter housing from the barcons underneath the cork tape. Christie says it’s much less embarrassing than the giant loops that used to precede the head tube. As we (the bike and me) took a spin down the road, after I was sure everything was working as it should, my thoughts wandered to the evolution of this machine. She’s a $30 Salvation Army bike. I have replaced the following: fork and headset, front wheel, tires and tubes, freewheel, derailers, handlebars (twice), stem (twice), saddle, pedals, cabling and shifters. Original to the bike are the frame, rear wheel, crank and bottom bracket, seat post, brakes and levers. I’d like to switch out the crank set one of these days. And maybe paint her. And, and, and…….. This machine, which I’ve not yet named, is another of my evolutions. It will never stop, but nothing is just thrown out. The old parts are still here. Some have found their way onto other bikes. Some are waiting to be called to service. And a very few utterly useless, broken pieces may have walked that last mile to the curb.

A few weeks ago I ordered a Fuji Odessa 2.0. This is quite possibly the least expensive bike Fuji offers. It’s also the only mountain bike I could find in my price range with a rigid fork. (Shocks are for weenies and I’m trying real hard not to be a weenie.) This will be my winter bike. I told Ted (of The Pedal Pusher) that I wanted a different seat post, fenders and a rack. It’s not even here yet and the process has started. Don’t be surprised if, 5 years from now, I still only have one mountain bike. I will have only ever had one mountain bike. And though it started it’s life as a Fuji Odessa it won’t have a single component, piece or part that it had originally.

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