When I worked at Campus, we were a Gary Fisher Bikes dealer. I decided that I needed a new bike, and I wanted to get a Fisher hardtail frame to build up. Thing is, I wanted an unpainted frame, because I planned on painting my bike to match Paola Pezzo’s race rig. She had been known to rock a pink bike, in some races, and I just thought it was cool.
Paola was a hero, of mine. She had won gold medals at the Olympics, the first two times that Mountain Biking was included as a sport. Plus, she just displayed that Italian flair for style.
So, I called up Lester, the GF rep, and asked him if he could get me an unpainted frame.
“Why unpainted?” he asked.
I explained what I was planning on doing and added, “If it has paint, I can have it stripped. I would just like to skip that step, if possible.”
“I’ll see if the Warranty Department has any bare frames,” he said. “I’ll get back to you.”
A few days later, I got a call from Lester.
“Hey, Jon. I got you a frame out of the warranty guys,” he told me.
“How much is it going to be?” I asked. “I need to budget my build.”
“I don’t know, yet. I’ll have to get back to you. It won’t be expensive, though. It’s a last-years Mount Tam frame out of the warranty replacement stock…”
“I think you will like it,” he said.
I assured him that I probably would, and went about my business.
As the days passed, I told a few of the guys that I planned on riding a pink mountain bike. The reaction was almost universally negative. But, I held to my plan. It was my bike, after all, not theirs.
The day came when the frame arrived in the UPS shipment. Lester had said to call him, when it came in, so I did.
“You haven’t opened the box, have you?”
“Don’t open it until I get there. I’m only about ten minutes away,” he said.
When Lester got to the shop, we did some bike-shop business. Then, I finally opened up the frame box.
I was stunned. Inside the box was a hardtail frame, painted in bright pink. I pulled it out, and I heard one of the other guys say, “Wow. That’s cool!”
Lester had gotten the Race Department to paint my bike with the same paint that they used on Paola’s bike. So, it wasn’t just pink, similar to her bike: It was exactly the same pink!
I loved that bike, and I rode it far and hard during the next 5 years. I had many conversations on the trail about it, too. Some people approved, others didn’t. Everyone seemed to notice it, though.
And, I would tell this story to everyone I talked to about the bike. I was pretty proud of it, and still am. (I still have the frame, in my storage building. I’ll probably never let it go.)
I always called it, simply, The Pink Bike, but I could have named it “A Boy Named Sue”, because it certainly made me into a more hardcore rider. One thing I found was that if you are a man riding a pink bike off-road, you damn well better ride it like you mean it.
And, I did.