It’s been over 9 years since my Trek 820 Antelope was stolen. It’s strange that after so many years I’m still hurt and angry about it. But the reality is that some punk, or punks, opened the side door of my garage and unceremoniously stole all my bicycles. I guess they didn’t steal ALL the bicycles, they were kind enough to leave my Trek SU100. The one with flat tires and every single component rusted out from winter riding and neglect.
When I was a teenager I loved bicycles. I loved fixing and tuning them. I loved cleaning them until they shined. But rather than actually riding them, I spent most of my time drooling over the bikes in the Trek bicycle catalogs. For some reason the shiny, sleek frame of the Trek 830 with its sparkling green to purple fade and its chromoly frame is what I remember the most. I had no idea what chromoly was, but it sounded futuristic and awesome at the time.
Every Trek in their bicycle lineup was given a number. The higher the number, the better the bicycle and the higher the price. While I really wanted the nicer 830 model, my “salary” (or lack thereof) caused me to settle on the black 1992 Trek 820 Antelope. Despite the 820 not being as nice as the 830, the main differences were only in the components. I knew that I could, and most certainly would, upgrade the lesser components once I had a little more money.
I was obsessed with my Trek 820 Antelope, it was my first real mountain bike. I don’t recall ever riding it off-road, but every Saturday I’d ride over to my local bike shop and look at all the latest and greatest components. For my first upgrade I swapped out the stock shifters for GripShifts. I then replaced the cranks for Coda cranks. I even put on a rubber shifting cable tensioner for optimal shifting speed, for all of those races that I never rode in.
Possibly the most frivolous and amazing of all my purchases were the Paul’s Love Levers. Back then CNC’d aluminum bicycle parts were cutting edge and very expensive. While the Love Levers were far from cheap, they were light, sexy and I was in love with them.
Over the years I graduated from high school and then college, got married, moved a couple times, had a few kids. All that time the 820 sat neglected in my parents garage, then my own garage and then my apartment’s basement in Boston. Constantly being neglected, but always being remembered.
One day, everything changed. One of my two cars broke down beyond repair. From out of the darkness of my basement the Trek 820 whispered to me. It was then that I started commuting to work on my bicycle. Through wet and dry, hot and cold I rode that bicycle every single day. I felt alive riding the streets of Boston and I fell in love with the thrill of riding my bicycle again. But as quickly as I started clocking hundreds of miles, that all came to an end when we moved back to Albany, NY.
My job allowed me to work remotely, there was no office to commute to. While I loved working remotely, I had nowhere to go for work and the Trek found itself back in the garage, collecting more dust. This is how those thieves found my bicycle, neglected once again, but still loved. They saw an opportunity to make a buck, but probably had no clue how much that bicycle was really worth to me. A piece of my life, stolen from me, unwillingly. They had better love those Love Levers like I did, they probably have no clue how much they are truly worth.