I have a grin on my face. A smug smirk that you would no doubt want to wipe off could you see it. A punchable annoying chuckle forming at the corners of my mouth.
The reason for this frivolity is that I have just returned from a bike ride.
"Well Richard", I hear you cry "lovely as that is, it is no reason for the outpouring of smug joyfulness".
Well actually it is. For I have returned from a bike ride on my 17 year old Marin East Peak. I bike I haven't ridden in over 6 years.
Over the last few months it has been lovingly rebuilt - the frame and rear shock the only original components. You could argue that it is not the same bike. Like a 20 year old broom that has seen 10 new handles and 8 new heads, has so much changed that really it is some new/retro hybrid? I don't care to be honest. It still FEELS like my old bike - only better. Much better!
For those of you that are interested (isn't that all of you?) the rebuild consists of the following -
Fox Float 32 FiT RLC 100mm front forks
Straitline AMP Stem with carbon fibre Truvativ Noir T40 handlebars
Mavic Crossride 26" wheels
Avid DB3 front and rear hydraulic disc brakes (180mm front rotor and 160mm rear rotor)
Raceface Turbine seat post
Shimano Deore XT 1x11 drive train (30t x 11-42t with 170mm cranks)
All is not completely rosy. I have forgotten how bloody hard trail riding is, both in terms of lung capacity and concentration. And there are some adjustments to make. The gearing is far too low even for the gradients that Devon throws at me, and the bottom bracket creaks something chronic. But it is built and I am already drawing a mental map of bridleways and tracks I want to explore.
I am also looking a little further afield - Exmoor anyone? A fitting way to break in my new best friend.
HAPPY CHRISTMAS 2016 Y'ALL.