I recall the 1990 New England summer months as great for riding, but memory is like that, eliding the inevitable humidity, thunderstorms, flies. There is some chance, though, that I actually felt as positively about it then as I do now in that I was happily saving every cent, thriftily set on my dream bike: an ’89 blue to purple fade Suntour XC pro equipped Wicked Fat Chance. The guys at the Mountain Goat — friends and riding crew, the same ones who had sorted me out with a GT Tequesta a few years before — had generously put it aside after it failed to sell in the Spring. I picked it up in time for foliage season and it was my only mountain bike until 2001, seeing me through races and explorations in Arizona, Utah, Colorado and more once I moved away from its Northeastern woodsy natural home. In that time it went through a few generations of Manitou forks (wrecking the handling), a Thomas Frischknecht inspired softride stem phase, a respray, and periodic freshening up on bits and parts, indeed, until all the anodized purple was gone.
By 2005, it had been relegated to the ignominy of around town beater bike with the odd dirt road tour thrown in. Some confluence of an aesthetic reawakening, a return to rigid bikes (this time without derailleurs) plus having the means and inclination to bring it back to life had me ship it off to Carl at Vicious Cycles to paint it yet again and to restore the original decals. It’s by no means a restoration or a period correct vintage piece. Not even close: ENO crankset, eccentric rear hub, USE Alien carbon post, Conti Explorer/Twister Supersonics tires, Mavic cartridge square taper BB, etc. So, it’s, what? Perhaps a kind of coporeal metaphor or placeholder for a dream bike, an allusion, belying origins against wildly spurious anachronisms, all the confused senseless juxtapositions that somehow (for me) hold together enough to feel good on awakening.
I ride it when I’m nostalgic or in an especially good disposition, and I accept the irrational visceral exhuberance I feel. After 20 years, it remains absolute perfection.