I grew up with feral dogs and a long man named Ray in an ornate trailer on the shores of Michigan. We sold strawberries we grew in a bucket to make our living, and I didn’t go to school, instead preferring to learn from the natural world and my neighbor Darla, who wore a stained pink housecoat and spent most of her time trying to solve the mystery of where Jimmy Hoffa went when he disappeared. When I was eight years old, a rich girl drove by our strawberry stand with her parents. They got out to purchase some strawberries and also some low grade weed from Ray to repair their fractured, sexless relationship and the girl and I began talking. She took my hand and pulled me to the back of their car, and that’s when I saw it: a bike. Not just any bike, but with streamers. I felt, looking at its curves, that I was falling in love for the first time. I begged Ray for a bike for months, until one day he said I could get one if I helped him with a con down in Detroit. I agreed, and we came home with one, rusted, red, and all mine. It changed my life. While riding it, I ended up meeting a retired engineer who took me under his wing and taught me everything he knew. He pulled some strings and I was able to attend MSU, the premier University in the State of Michigan. I majored in Philosophy and Engineering: I was, and still am, an enigma. The University even wrote an article for me on their website. After graduation, I was unsure what to do with the rest of my life. The feral dogs had died. Ray was in a state penitentiary and had found God. The engineer who taught me everything he knew died from internet addiction. I was lost. That’s when I found All-City Cycles. In the few months I’ve worked here, I feel like I have a purpose again, meaning. It brings me so much joy to design bikes that might make it twenty years down the road, to a scrappy kid like me, just trying to find a way to survive.