I could hear them chatting as they pedaled away on their big carbon rigs. "Did you see his technology?"
They were talking about my bike. "Looked like he was having fun", came the reply, "the dude was smiling."
Yes I was.
I was idling somewhere flat on Colorado Trail making my way to Breckenridge and had just traded greetings with the aforementioned dudes. The trees were in car freshener mode as I leaned on my '98 Schwinn.
The 26er had twenty year old suspension that bottomed out with a sound akin to smashing a metallic tomato. The linkage yawned a ringing burp when the tires left the ground.
It had bar ends and thumb shifters to mark my knees with pokes and gashes when the geometry got tight on the punchy climbs.
It was my Bike
I found it hanging in my cousins garage when I wanted something to ride down the hill to the coffee shop. In the 3 days hence I replaced its flat pedals with SPD and currently enjoyed the view down the Rock Shox fork to where the rubber boots met the caliper brakes.
Online mountain bike reviews, written when Y2K was something people still worried about, describe the Schwinn S-10 as a low-cost full-suspension bike that is designed to work when the rider is seated. It's Literally a fat-guy bouncy bomber. I dropped the post and adjusted my style to remain seated most of the time.
At first glance, riding a twenty-year-old clunker might seem like a huge style cramp. But rolling through Breckenridge and not spending 60$ a day for a rig and still tasting the sweet trails above, it all became clear: the bike gods had given me just enough and it felt so good.
Later that day, as I rolled out from Breck fully caffeinated, a voice beseeched me to "wait up a second." A Florida rider on a shiny Santa Cruz asked me to show him the good trails. And so I did.