I promised myself I wouldn't mention it.
But you know how it goes. Promises made to yourself are the hardest ones to keep.
And this, well, this is something to write about.
Because I turned 26 a few days ago. Usually that's not something worth celebrating. Mostly because I'm not 13 anymore, and because birthdays - even my own - tend to be a huge hassle. Even the promise of presents can't really get me excited about turning a year older. I'm more inclined to let the event slide by, unnoticed and undetected by even my closest friends.
But this year was different. Not because I didn't vehemently insist that anyone who happened to remember it forget about it immediately [because that's exactly what I did], or because I didn't treat it like any other day [because I did], but because of a small package wrapped in brown paper, tied with a string.
One of two presents I got this year, I sighed in exasperation when I heard about it. Then complained loudly that my birthday was not - under any circumstances - to be celebrated. But two days after I crested [and passed] the milestone that is 25, I felt almost, just almost, like a real cyclist.
Because underneath the paper wrapping was the iconic Campy 15mm peanut butter wrench. A simple, one-sided affair, made of smooth, sleek metal, it's understated shape and size are definitive of its coveted status. Well, at least amongst the bike nerds. And as I pulled that wrench free of its paper cocoon, I gaped. Then stared at it for a little while before, half-smiling, I managed to stammer out:
I love it - who wouldn't? - but it also signifies a lot more responsibility and a gentle push into a direction that is intimidatingly more pro. True, it's a gift from the kind of friend who will listen to my schizophrenic desires to own a road bike while remaining fearful of hating anything with gears. The kind of friend that won't judge if I never race [geared or otherwise]. The kind of friend who doesn't just see me as a pair of ginormous thighs on a single-speed tank that weighs more than both of his road bikes combined.
It didn't hit me then, as I carefully slipped the wrench back into its paper casing, before flipping through issues of Rouleur [and of course, seeing the infamous Rapha peanut butter ad], and watching too many episodes of "Intervention." But it's also a tiny bit terrifying that people - friends who know me well, even - believe I'm worthy of such a tool.
Or maybe it's actually the opposite - the single-sided nature of the peanut butter wrench specifically points towards riding both my single-speeds more often. Enough to flat. And maybe that's what M1 was getting at: ride more, ride harder, ride until this Campy wrench becomes battered and scarred up from use.
Point taken. Still, that wrench is going to stay wrapped up in paper while it's in my bag. Dinges and dents might be inevitable, but I'd rather them come from work on my bike, or at least from a peanut butter jar, not from all the nonsense in my bag.