Thursday, April 16, 2009

Unoffical COURAGE history

In 2002 I learned how to TIG weld. I needed to build a sitting buck prototype for a new office chair I was working on, complete with FOX coil over shock from my ripped in half Chuck (remember those from back in the day?). After a weekend in the shop I was making strong, reliable welds. They weren't pretty but they did the job. I knew I wanted to build a bike, but without access to proper jigs, cutting tools, or knowledge I was relegated to building dumpster bikes.

Below is a pic of Ruby and I from last weekend riding Courage Choppers bike #2. This bike is part Trek 820 and a no name bike, both found in dumpsters, a stretch Nerve dual crown fork, and about 12 feet of 1.25" straight gauge steel tubing. I also sourced a banana seat, pegs, fresh 24" wheels, and two gold chains from the ultimate cheap part bike site, Lovely Lowriders.

Yep, long before Aaron was building gorgeous, high performance bikes I was making choppers out of found bike parts under the same moniker. The name came from two distinct directions. First was the mockery of tough guy biker gangs. I'm not a tough guy, but the chopper is undoubtedly the tough guys prime transportation choice. The second direction was from Laura. She would get all dolled up to go out with her girlfriends but she'd let me pedal her to the bar on the back of my ridiculous bikes - a sign of true love, and courage.

I moved out of the country and sold one of the bike to my friend at SRAM where it lived on the test track for a few years. The pictured bike ended up in my parents basement. Now the bike comes out for special occasions like birthday parties and Easter egg hunts. I'm way popular with the 5-12 year old crowd.

In it's newest, most appropriate incarnation, COURAGE takes on a new meaning to Aaron and I. Its less about biker gangs and and hot chicks, and more about exploiting the real emotions behind the word. The most courageous guy that lines up at the race is likely to finish dead last - he knew he would but still showed up. Someone who wants to build a bike and circumnavigate the planet is courageous - he's not winning a race, no dollar handups, just wild, risk laden, introspective adventures.

You don't have to be the fastest to be the most courageous.


Ben said...

i don't care what anyone says, riding is always about biker ain't worth it if I'm not rolling deep with a good posse.

Aaron Hayes said...

I've told this story a hundred times, and it never gets old!!!!