I've loved bikes since I was in primary school. As was customary in our family, I graduated through a range of hand-me-down bikes and then got my first 'racer' for my tenth birthday. A silver K-mart special. That kept me happy until mid-way through high school, when I started taking an interest in cycling and triathlon magazines at the local newsagent while waiting around for early morning paper deliveries as part of my job as a paper boy. I was swimming competitively at that stage and had always been a decent runner, so there was only one part of the triathlon jigsaw to fill. After a failed attempt to do up an old frame my grandfather had found at the tip (it was an old track bike which I still have, so turning it into a road racer was always going to be a challenge) I ended up buying a shiny new Repco Olympic 12 in blue and white. It had Wolber Wheels, Shimano SIS gears, and I thought it was great. After a year or two it sprouted some Scott DH bars, as I began to enter triathlons and enjoy that kind of competitive riding and the joys of hours on country roads (which was far more inspiring than swimming training - staring at the black line on the bottom of the pool).
Half way through university I decided that an upgrade was in order and bought a gold Avanti Giro road bike, this time forsaking the aero bars, as my strong interest in triathlon was starting to wane. This bike had Shimano integrated brake/gear levers (which were pretty new at the time, and one of the main reasons to upgrade to a new bike), and red Mavic rims (which stood out a bit more back then than they would now that every second fixie has wheels bordering on flourescent).
The Avanti was the bike that I became a 'roady' on. I started doing big rides with friends, including Audax Alpine Classics, Around the Bay in a Day, etc.
The next bike came about thanks to an unexpected windfall. After working for a year in London (sadly without a bike), I had a tax refund cheque arrive in the mail (in pounds, which used to be worth a lot more than the Australian dollar). It was enough to let me walk into a bike shop and build up a fairly fancy bike. A Wilier 'Angliru' steel/carbon frame with full Dura-Ace and Shimano wheels. It's the bike I still ride today, about a decade later (now with Spinergy carbon wheels, as pictured below).
But all of that is about to change. Tomorrow I'm off to Geelong to take the first steps in procuring a new custom made machine to last me at least another decade, ready in time for my 40th birthday in late December this year.
There are a lot of decisions to make, and a budget to keep in mind, but it's a process I'm really looking forward to. Expect to see more on this blog about it before too long!