And the Winner Is... (cont.)

Here, read the winning essay from Outside's Seven Cycles contest as well as the four other finalists

    Photo: Photos by Nigel Cox

Danielle Henson, Palatine, ILI'm not sure any one person is totally "worthy" of a custom-fit, precision-crafted bike that looks like a "MoMa sculpture and rides like a Maserati." However, I do know one person who would have a sincere appreciation and awe for such a bike, my husband Christopher. My name is Danielle. Chris and I met in high school in '85, married in '95, moved to Palatine, IL, and had two kids. Things have changed since '85 with more responsibility and less time to spend on the things which we really enjoy doing. Early morning bike rides is the one thing that my husband has tried to hold onto in his spare time. After all these years, he continues to have a passion for bike riding, viewing local bike races, and purchasing quality bikes for our kids. Most recently, he has been challenging himself with longer road bike rides around town.

The article by Andrew Tilin brought back memories of dating Chris in high school. Chris spent almost all of his waking hours working at the Cycle Scene bike shop. I found the description of the bike shop workers in the article especially humorous and accurate; a bunch of unique perfectionists who value a tasty "sticky-sweet" doughnut breakfast. I think that perfectionism and eating doughnuts go hand in hand at every good bike shop. Eating doughnuts in the morning was part of the routine. Chris and his buddies were busy in the back room building and repairing bikes all of kinds, while the day's planned bike ride was on the forefront of their minds. Chris acquired almost all of his bike knowledge and appreciation for well-built bikes at the shop. While working at the bike shop, Chris was afforded the opportunity to purchase a Cannondale bike at a price that a high school kid could barely afford. After 20 plus years, he still owns that mountain bike. It's been well used and has visited the Moab surroundings several times while residing in Utah. A couple years back, we purchased him a road bike for Father's Day to replace his beloved road bike that he had to sell for rent money while living in Utah. To this day, he comments that he should have never sold that bike. I think that he likes the road bike that we bought him, but I don't think it compares to the one he used to have.

I've decided to submit this entry for Chris because he is not a guy that would ever say that "he deserves and/or needs" a custom-built bike. Chris is a very dedicate husband and father; and has always put his family first before his own needs and desires. Most recently, Chris has been taking longer bikes which have resulted in chronic knee pain. I'm hoping that his new custom-fit, custom-built bike would prove to be the best prescription for his knee pain; and afford him the opportunity to stay on his bike for longer periods of time and do what he loves to do, ride. As his wife, I will tell you this dedicated and hard-working guy deserves the "Maserati" ride each time he goes out on the road.

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