In 1998 I was living at the Lapensee Youth Hostel (those who know, know) and my buddy @uhlsbrewingco had landed me a gig as a wrench at Belleview Bikes in Alexandria, VA. It is while working there that – save for possibly my 1985 neon green Haro Master – I bought ‘the bike that started it all’. The 1998 Gary Fisher Ziggurat. I was actually gunning for the full suspension Joshua-1, but got impatient about saving money and wanting a new bike and at the time this was a really nicely appointed hardtail. OH MY DOG EM I EVER GLAD I DIDN’T GET THAT JOSHUA. Totally lucked out there. I got so much more ride out of this one.
I’ve still got the receipt. Original Price $1349 retail – the boss (our friend, Steve? Dave? I forget) actually wrangled it so I got both $100 off AND my $343 pro-deal. Then the first thing I did was swap the flat bar for an Azonic Riser bar that was the butter – what a great bar…. This bike was the link that tied everything back to the bmx days and building bikes in the garage. When I moved to Canada to live with my future wife, I brought everything I owned with me – literally. You could do that back then. I took a flight to Montreal and then caught a train to Bathurst with 2 bike boxes, 2 giant hockey bags and a backpack. Just typing this out is starting to get to me because I sold the damn Ziggurat in 2017. Sigh.
I don’t even have any pictures of it from before I painted it. How is THAT possible? Oh yeah, it was PRE-smartphones. And those Azonic bars, man, I totally should have at least kept those. Double sigh. It seemed like the right thing to do at the time. I just sold another bike. The Giant XTC. It’s been magical as well. First high-end carbon hardtail. Zing. We’ve been ‘some places’. How dumb am I gonna feel in 10 years? Selling the Giant has facilitated the Birth of the Karate Monkey though. So that’s the next chapter. When I hear other people talking about selling bikes I always say “don’t sell it, you’ll regret it!” And then I sell one – but that one is always THE LAST ONE I’M GOING TO SELL EVER.
Somewhere around 1985 my parents bought a Thule roof rack to carry our bikes on a move cross country. We strapped my Haro Master and the rest of the bikes to the top of the Corolla and took off. Worked great. The clamps in those days for road bikes held them upside down by the bars and luckily that worked for BMX bikes too. Later, when I was busy driving all over Northern Virginia in a Dodge Colt trying to be an extreme in-line skater, I got the rack from my parents and used it to haul around launch ramps on the roof. I think I even was able to use the same feet. The rack was one of the few things that came with me when I got married. In 2006 I strapped 2 of my bikes (I’d now obtained some VeloVice fork mount trays) to the same feet/load bars) onto my Subaru Outback along with a huge, used Adventurer box I bought of Craigslist and moved from Virginia back to Canada. Since then the rack was used once in awhile with that Subaru to haul bikes, but the Subaru died several years back, so then I used the rack on top of our Honda Odyssey van. After that, I bought my first truck and without hesitation bought a Thule hitch mount 4 bike rack. The load bars and feet went into storage in my shed. Last year I traded the truck for a Dodge Caravan and made sure it had a hitch mount. With the truck I was able to throw 2 little kid bikes in the back and get 4 full-size bikes on the hitch, so no worries. Well, now, the kids are all for the most part riding full-size bikes, so at first I was stumped. Then I remembered the load bars/rack in the shed. I thought it would be killer if I could use those same, 30 year old load bars now, unfortunately, it was not to be. Not because they weren’t capable – they’re still bombproof and in great shape – alas – they’re just barely not long enough to use on the van. I could have used the stock crossbars on the van with the Thule box, but there wasn’t enough room on them to fit the box AND 2 bike trays. My peeps at Rad Edge set me up with new 65” bars and feet and we’re rolling again. Perhaps my kids will get these old load bars. I’m sure they’ll still be solid then.