What has shaped who you are.

Was it a repco mtb? I had a black one with splatter paint and my brother a blue one with splatter paint,
I loved this thing so much about a 18 months ago i painted a bike the same.

I also think i loved it so much because i got it when we moved to our first flat street that i could ride around, before that we lived up on the hill.

Quite possibly, but I’m not entirely sure

I was given every opportunity by two hard working parents. A good neighborhood (East Malvern), private school, higher education, most material things I asked for, a loving family, good genes (well thats what everyone else tells me, I’m not so sure). And yet I’ve never became really good at anything, never really had friends (still to this day I find it hard), never been successful, never found it easy, never been respected, still at late 30’s never felt like an adult, never found my place within the family. I’m just different. I don’t really fit in anywhere. I’m just a guy you pass in the street, a guy you see riding somewhere, a guy in a line at the coffee shop, a guy online posting stuff, the guy you work or have worked with, but in all those situations, the guy you don’t know.

I realised that no matter how hard someone can try to give you the best leg up in life that sometimes you’re just destined to be mediocre. I guess thats the only thing I’ve ever been really excellent at.

Bummer thought for a friday night, and I’m sure you’re thinking “well shit alex, why not just do something about it”, and every time I do, I’m just the guy that isn’t as good as you, the guy who just tries too hard to be your mate, the lost cause, the annoyance, the try hard, the guy who just says the wrong thing, the guy who just isn’t right. So instead I just try to be me, and it isn’t much, but now I know I’m not going to be extraordinary, and I suppose it’s good knowing that life will be like this and wont be so disappointing as it’s a measured and realistic expectation. If I didn’t have that fantastic start I’m sure I’d be a lot lower in lifes ladder than I am. So for that I’m thankful.

Edit, I’ve also be known to be a good thread killer…

Sounds like your a pretty grounded, realistic and grateful dude that clearly has a sense of humour! Chin up brother

Probably the worst thing in my life so far, if I am to be deeply honest with myself, is the best thing that has happened to me.

Grew up cozy high-upper middle class, have well grounded parents and always knew I was ‘lucky’, but never really was able to appreciate it. Then 2008, everything went to shit and we lost practically everything we had. Dad went from highroller business dude to cleaning toilets and we lived with my grandmother for two years. Everyone at school who were my ‘friends’ thought it was proper hilarious that I was a poor kid now. As you do, shrug it off and try laugh along with it. I guess that sets the stage for three years of pretty bad depression.

Thankfully, both of my parents had tertiary education and could find decent employment within a year. An awesome girl dragged me out eventually, worked my ass off to get into a good degree, despite lower-than-cutoff marks and no requisite subjects. Scored a casual job in the industry I’m studying for which is perfect, loving life.

I am so genuinely grateful for going through those shit years. It’s given me an immense amount of respect for people who work extraordinarily hard for what they own, for education and has taught me probably the most valuable life lessons I could ask for.

So two things really:

  • Depression sux hard, and talking to strangers about it was surprisingly helpful for me.
  • I should have hung out with the nerds more in highschool, because popular people are assholes.

^ yeah im all for counselling, I really think it works wonders. I would totally do it all the time if it was free and I had the time.
and surprise surprise but ive been fucked over by nerds as well as popular people, just gotto choose your friends wisely

Something that has shaped me bike related.
Berlin 09 - saw this dude on a bejewelled multi-colored bike and thought it was the shit, went home and google told me what a fixie was.

Second youngest in a family of 9. Alcoholic father, his idea of a good mixer was 1 bottle of metho and a tiny bottle of vanilla essence. I can only remember 3 occasions in my whole life where he paid the slightest bit of attention to me. Once when I he bought me my first bike and sat down with me to fix the coaster brake, once when he took me fishing and once when I contracted some kind of serious flu. Still, primary school was great. I had good friends and a paper round that I loved Life seemed OK in primary school. When I was 13, three things happened, I went to high school, my dad died and all the other boys went through puberty and started talking about wanking. They all changed and I didn’t. My balls finally dropped about a year later but I never caught up. They kept talking about the things they did with their dads and girls. I had nothing to say on either topic. I spent my teens and twenties pretty much alone.

I can empathize with Alexander. I spent way too many years trying to be someone else. Trying too hard to impress arseholes and ignoring my true friends. Even this cycling thing. Do I really fit in here? Fortunately riding solo is still a worthwhile and fun thing to do.

Now I know who I am and can finally live with it. But self-awareness can be a curse. Sometimes I yearn to be a footy-loving, herald-sun reader. Not caring about anything except who wins the next flag and state of the full forwards groin. Maybe ignorance is bliss.

I’d say the first time I picked up a:

X-acto blade (still remember putting it through my thumb)
Soldering iron
TIG torch
Oxy Torch

In that order, ranging from making model aeroplanes, to fixing cars and bikes, to building frames. (That is a very abridged list)

My life has been molded by making stuff

Growing up in a small country town, being the ‘freak’ that liked metal and not football and country rock… Then moving to melbourne at 17. This lead on to speaking to a random in the city and getting invited to Goo(or one of those). I was suddenly normal and anonymous.

More poeple than I’d like to admit, the only one worth an honourable mention is my daughter. She has taught me more about life and how to view the world in her 3 short years than I’ve learnt in my last 30.

Several near death experiences, mostly from me doing dumb stuff. But after a severe virus at age 5, rehab me put on a pushbike…

Ok, I could go into a heap of detail with mine, but I’d be here forever… I’ll just list a few main points (apart from the upbringing from strictish parents that handed down a strong work ethic to me) that have made me who I am today:
Growing up with a deaf and mentally disabled brother;
Copping a lot of shit at school and not being able to stand up for myself;
One set of Grandparents showing far more attention to my siblings/cousins than me;
Suffering an eating disorder;
Deciding to buy a flat-bar roadie many years ago… And getting hooked on riding;
Taking up bodyboarding and finding a love for the water; and
Being shown the value of money from a very, very young age.

They are just a few.
By far the three major things that have had an impact on who I am and where I am today are the work ethic I was bought up with and buying the bike that got me into cycling - So much of my time is taken up by cycling - it has given me something to commit to and my life pretty much resides around it… If I couldn’t ride to and from work I reckon I’d be a constant sickie-taker so I could get more kms in, and my weekend revolves around at least one longer bike ride.
The other major thing is something I was told at a young age… ‘Don’t borrow money for anything that will go down in value’… I’ve lived by this my whole life and my house that I currently live in was my first ever loan. Yeah, I may not have traveled as much as many others, but I have worked hard for everything I own, and I wouldn’t change that one bit.

Like everyone I’ve been through some shit, the high/lowlights are:

being constantly teased in school/reacting badly to being constantly teased in school
my older brother finding a taped copy of …And Justice For All on the side of the road in about 1990
starting to play an instrument
discovering hardcore
discovering straight edge
my brother’s death (which is still difficult to deal with 12.5 years on)
Veganism/meeting people who radicalized my thinking/personal politics
getting engaged
getting dumped
getting together with my partner
buying a house

All these events combined with bands, traveling, relationships, relations ;), bikes, more bands, more bikes.

Two things:

  • Paddington skatepark being built in Brisbane and spending the best part of my teenage years there meeting like minded people from all over and discovering a big massive world of cool stuff going on and that the people who looked down on me at school/church/footy club didn’t really matter that much anyway.
  • Moving the London by myself in my early 20’s and again discovering an even bigger, wider world and also learning to overcome my narrow us/them/me/you mentality and learning to get along with all kinds of people.