The first bicycle I ever bought was a Giant Sedona ATX back in 1994. It was a rigid frame mountain bike with STX (slightly above today’s Alivio) components. I rode it all over the trails of St. John’s, took it to university in Kingston, put it on a train to Vancouver, then rode it back to St. John’s. In its 16 year lifetime it’s been repainted twice and rebuilt more times than I can count.. probably quicker to count the original components: frame, stem, cranks, chainrings. It’s now a cargo bike (Xtracycle) and is sitting in a storage locker in MontrĂ©al patiently awaiting my return.

Bicycles 2 – 7 are, in order: a full suspension mountain bike (also a Giant), a fixie, a winter bike, a chopper, a folding bike (Strada), and a road bike.

Bicycle 8 is a "Land Slider" cheap singlespeed that I bought in Tokyo. I parked it outside my former apartment building and I have independent confirmation that it’s still there.

Now onto bicycle 9: a Giant ATX 770. I bought it last week in Beijing. Alivio components, RST Omega fork… I’m not too pleased with the fork but hopefully it will hold up for 3 weeks of abuse in the Himalayas.

I’ve been riding it around Beijing. When I have the energy, it’s the fastest thing on 2 wheels, outpacing the electric and 2-stroke scooters many of the locals ride. When I don’t, it’s still pretty quick… definitely the best bike I’ve ridden in months!

Hopefully riding in Beijing is good training for the low-oxygen air in Tibet. I’m sure I’ll be fine provided I can cough out whatever’s sitting in my lungs before I start the bike tour on June 1.

(Entry written May 22, 2010)