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Welcome back to bikes, Evan

About six months ago, our friend Evan (that happy feller below) suffered a near-fatal crash riding his mountain bike in Peru. What happened was, he over-shot a stepdown on a windy day, got tweaked in the air, nose-dove and smooshed his head into the earth after his front wheel tacoed beneath him. The helmet saved his life.

But, Evan spent nine days in Peruvian hospitals with severe brain damage. In that time, he accrued a mountain of medical bills, and eventually returned to the states unsure of life thereafter.

Over the last several months, as his brain recovered, Evan spun. Everyday, he spun on his trainer bike inside his living room, watching bike videos. See, bikes were Evan’s life. So he spun to reclaim his identity and to keep his sanity. He spun strengthen his heart and his brain, which labored to respond.

And now, only six months after being hauled down the ancient mountainside unconscious, blue snow-capped mountains soaring up around him—-Evan has returned to bikes. Maybe he’s a few pounds scrawnier and he’s still seeing double (he has to ride with glasses that cover one eye), but he’s happy. So, so happy.

The Northwest mountain bike community is familiar with Evan’s story because he is an instrumental member of our two-wheeled community here. He’s currently a mechanical engineer for Contour POV cameras and a stellar dude who rode at a professional level, but chose to eschew sponsorship for the freedom to ride bikes uninhibited.

Evan’s story has also been very telling of our local clan of mtbers—-those from Portland, Ore. on up to Bellingham, Wash. to Vancouver, B.C.—because of the support they’ve shown during, and in the wake of, his chaos. Simply put, they’ve rallied. Big time–to hoist back up one of our own. And really, it’s been incredible to be a part of the fundraisers to help pay off the medical bills, the movie nights, the cheer-leading sessions—-all of which culminated in a mega group ride on the day of his return to bikes. A day that Mother Nature gave us her nod with azure skies, full of puffy white clouds above a regal Bellingham; snow-draped Mt. Baker was our witness.

Nearly 30 of us came out to celebrate. And soon our social event became an accordioned group stretching for snaking miles up and down and all around Galbraith Mountain. We rode hard, with huge smiles and with never a flicker in Evan’s eyes. He, the warrior, was on-point.

We paid homage to the weather more than a few times. Saw some spills for sure, and let plenty of whoops and hollers escape on the singletrack that traversed in and out of sunshine and evergreen.

It may be a simple statement, but it’s one that’s quickly situating itself as an adage in the lexicon of mountain biking in this region.

It says: “Bike people are just good people.”

I told you, simple. But, look at the pictures, it’s true. So, so true. Breathe deep and smile. Evan is.

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