I sit at the kitchen table and stare out the window at my neighbors' Trek mountain bike leaning against the front of their house. I fantasize about putting a Free Radical kit on it one weekend while they’re out of town.
Every time I see a bike in a Facebook photo, an REI ad, or rolling down the street I imagine what it would look like with a BigStoker conversion. I've started hating the bike trailer, tow bar and bike seat because they're not Xtracycles. Everyone should have one, whether they think they want one or not. I've decided to convert my mid '90s Cannondale mountain bike, but I often look at my 2009 Specialized and think it should have an Xtra too. Could I put one on my son's 20" BMX? Why aren't all the bikes displayed at my LBS Xtras?
I fantasize about strapping my climbing gear or my crashpad onto the Xtracycle-to-come and then biking to Golden, or Boulder or even Evergreen for a day of climbing with my family. We will bikepack like a family of fiends. We'll tour the countryside astride our longtail bikes. We will surf the prairies and foothills, the mountains and canyons. We'll go farther than we ever have on bikes. We'll go down the long road, tread the pavement's edge for miles upon miles. We'll be loathe to return home and let the Xtras sit idle for even a minute.
We'll answer with grins when people ask about our longtails. We'll gladly share our conversion story. We'll write that story every day, as we ride around town, running errands, going to and fro and to work and school, passing by our neighbors and friends, goofy grins painted across our faces. We won’t be content to sit at home. A glance outside at the waiting Xtras will draw us into the sun (or rain) and we'll find ourselves pedaling toward the horizon with no need of a destination.
We'll forget to notice the price of gas, the passage of time, the angst of youth. Fit and lean, we'll captain our longtails into an era of increasing limitations, beyond economic trials and into the Post Carbon World. We'll go quietly, but loaded down with the cargo of our lives in tow.
I've parked my car. Now I'm working on converting my bicycle. In my mind it's already an Xtracycle.