RIP Canondale: ridden too hard, put away too wet

After working the support crew for Team PHenomenal Hope‘s endlessly impressive duo Ann-Marie Alderson and Patty George as they competed in Race Across the West (RAW), I was inspired to finally start riding my road bike again. Road riding in southwestern PA is certainly different than riding in Southwest US, because the hills are much smaller and punchier, the shoulders are much narrower (or nonexistent), and the road surface varies between relatively paved to hunks of asphalt that have been thrown in a general area together to create a relative illusion of the concept of “road.” Still, watching them pedal, climb, and descend, and feeling their small victories at having crossed mile markers and personal struggles, made me want to go out for a long ride myself. A week or so home and I was finally settled to hit the pavement (the trails are still too muddy to ride, as it’s been raining almost every day for a couple months now). I went to the basement, and found a wonderful science experiment where I though I had left my bike.

You see, something wonderful(ly gross) happens when you get home from a frustrating ride through the slush, snow, and ice and furiously hang your bike in the basement without cleaning it, vowing to only ride your cross bike until Pittsburgh weather decides to play nice. The weather, of course, never plays nice and the bike ends up in that sad basement for seven months (or maybe it was 19? Did I stop riding that bike for a whole year and a half? Well it doesn’t matter now, I guess). In the meantime, the salt in the slush will absorb the water and hold onto it like an old lover may hold onto sweet letters from a past he can’t quite get past. The salt will then pull that moisture into the depths of the metal and carbon on which it once sat, corroding all in its wake (to pull the metaphor past its necessary use, this would be like that closure-less romance infiltrating all future relationships and current friendships until those companionships themselves corrode into something unusable and unhealthy. Salt, thy art an abuser in love science!).
Nothing moves, everything that should move is fuzzy. The weirdest of all, however, is that the bike is still wet. The salt doesn’t just disappear, and being in a Pittsburgh basement, even though we have no leaks, it is so moist here (like, seriously) that the water doesn’t have anywhere to go. People, my SPOKES have gummy dewdrops on them. Have you ever seen those fake flowers that have a the illusion of being recently watered? That’s why my bike looks like. E. went downstairs to grab my bike for me, as part of the move, and asked if I had already taken it for a spin. There was an alarming sound from the basement when I shouted back No, and upon inspection (attempting to turn a crank), it was revealed to be all entirely seized.
José Guadalupe Posada, bicycles of the dead
Prior to RAW, I had been considering selling my bikes, especially the road bike, to purchase a Salsa Fargo. I was torn about it, because I knew I might want to ride again once I got out west, and didn’t want to set myself up for regret. But look how cool this ride is, now that I know it can also take a suspension fork! My bike shop is also a Salsa dealer, so I can get a good deal on it (always an important factor, plus it’s good to ride something we sell). Anyway, check it out! Just imagine it with a frame bag, some other stuff (it can hold a growler, for instance), and of course yours truly with a big ole grin). And if you want, feel free to drop some money in my PayPal (kidding, but also, I mean, you can do it if you want to). In the meantime, I have plenty of turf to cover in preparation of my many adventures ahead, and luckily I have another whip that serves me well.
The Salsa Fargo 2