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Photographic Proof I Was Born To Ride

A Non-Italian track frame.
A Non-Italian track frame.

I have a love affair with Italian bikes, especially classic, lugged steel frames. The bulk of my ‘stable’ is made up of Torellis and Cinellis, and I still find myself stopping to look when I see a Colnago or Pegoretti or Pinarello, or you name it…I just tend to lean that way. And it’s not just because I’m brown – despite peoples guesses as to my sometimes being Italian, or Hawaiian, we are definitely of Hispanic descent. Despite my Italian leaning preferences, I can approve a fine bike built by anyone, anywhere, and am very much looking forward to getting my locally grown Ira Ryan frame this year. I’ve even admired some funky Japanese frames, when visiting a track shop in Portland, and it turns out I may have a deeper connection than I ever knew…

My mom returned from a visit to her hometown of Edinburg, Texas and brought back some old photos my grandmother had in her possession until she recently passed on. We laughed and cried over many of the photos, until one of them caught my eye…a photo of my brothers and I with my father, apparently early on in the day at a friends condo at the beach:

The Lopez Men, at the beach, circa 1985.
The Lopez Men, at the beach, circa 1985.

At first, it was just funny to see my dad’s great morning nappy hair. Then something hit me…there was something eerily familiar about this picture and something I’d just looked at. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Was is the location? Was it my groovy beach attire? Was it something about the hand I was playing in the game of poker? Then it came to me.

My dad, the supposed mill worker from the sleepy little town of Dallas, Oregon, who worked the graveyard shift while we slept, was not the man I thought he was. All those years he left the house in his work jeans and flannel work shirts, carrying his old metal lunchbox filled with bologna sandwiches and Campbells soup in a thermos – he was actually headed to his secret life. Engaging in the secret career of building sexy, highly sought after track frames. I realized in that moment that my father is actually Yoshiaki Nagasawa.

Yoshiaki Nagasawa, or my father....you decide.
Yoshiaki Nagasawa, or my father....you decide.

It all makes sense now. The mechanic’s jumpsuit that hung out in the garage. The attention to hair products and general care. The love of foods from the far east. I’m having a major “ah ha” moment here, and really questioning so much of my childhood life. I’ve got a lot of questions that are now being answered, and some that will take a life time to figure out.

I’m gonna need some me-time to process all of this……

3 replies on “Photographic Proof I Was Born To Ride”

Whoa. That picture really made my day. I’d never seen it before. And it’s “Photographic Proof” that i really am the cute one. I wish Dad still looked like that. How rad would that have been if he had opened the door on New Years day at his place and looked just like that? Come to think of it, I think it’d be pretty rad if you still looked like that too.

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