Let me just start by saying that I NEVER want to get comfortable with writing blogs of this nature.
Okay, let’s do this….
Among the people that call themselves our regular customers, and back when I first started working here, I met a small kid with a sunny disposition and a constant smile. He rode a yellow Redline BMX bike.
I learned that the kids name was Mitch Monahan. Back then there was a group of us that were into bicycle trials. If you don’t know what bicycle trials riding consists of, it’s an offshoot of a form of European motorcycle riding that uses a specific-usage bike to ride up and over rocks, logs, cars, and whatever else seems to stand in your way.
Being a young kid with financial resources equalling close to zero, Mitch proclaimed that he was ALSO into trials riding, and that he did it all on his Redline BMX bike. I was beyond floored once I went out onto the sidewalk and Mitch proceeded to gap and pedalkick all over the place, all on a machine that wasn’t really designed to do it. Apparently Mitch didn’t need no steenkin’ fancy trials bicycle. Mitch took what little he had, and made it do what he needed it to do, all with a smile. I couldn’t help but give this kid the respect that he so well deserved.
I also couldn’t help but give him my spare Norco Evolve trials bike.
The years went by and we all got older, Mitch included. Life began for him and we saw him from time to time. One day he came in, smiled in his usual way and bought THIS:
Then a few years later he popped in, reintroducing himself after deciding that he had time enough to start riding again. He smiled his Mitch smile and picked THIS up:
Life got busier. The shop got busier. We fostered relationships with many more new regular customers. Everyone got even older than they were the last time I mentioned it.
One day this summer, the door to the shop swung open, and in rode Mitch, pedalling his deep red Rockhopper. It had been what seemed like a billion years since his last visit. No matter. He smiled and I smiled and we got down to chatting as if the last visit had been only yesterday. “Whatcha been up to?” “Where you working?” “Riding much?” “Where you been?” “You’re KIDDING? Oh man, that’s HILARIOUS!” “Do you still have my old Evolve?” “You DO? That’s AWESOME!” After a time the conversation eventually wound around to “It’s been good to see you, man!” “Yeah, you too! We’ll see you around!” “Yep take care!” “Don’t be a stranger!”
And off he pedalled.
How much respect can I possibly give this guy? I honestly don’t think that I could give enough. He never ONCE gave any indication that he had been battling cancer for the past two and a half years. We smiled and laughed. We joked around. We talked about bikes past and bikes future. The “Hey, guess what…” never came up. We parted ways the same way as always. With a laugh and a smile.
Mitch passed away on October 5th. He was 27 years young. I may not know everything, but I know one thing for sure. If there are any sweet lines in heaven, Mitch will be nailing them all. Just follow the angel with the biggest smile….
“Do it first, ask for forgiveness later” – Mitchel Monahan