Words by Ambassador Delia Massey. Photos by Ambassador Riley Seebeck.

I think one of the hardest things I’m experiencing in pandemic life is that there is nothing to look forward to. My wedding is cancelled, my honeymoon will most likely be postponed, and it’s not worth planning or spending money on a vacation when there’s so much uncertainty in the world. I can’t even get excited about simply hanging out with friends, because that’s off the table, too.

I figured my birthday in May would be uneventful–I planned on taking the day off work, but aside for baking myself a chocolate cake and going for a bike ride, there wasn’t much else I could do to make my day special. Luckily, my fiancé had been planning a surprise for a few weeks that would make it much more exciting.

When we first went into shelter-in-place back in March, Kinsey had started building an epic backyard pump track. Every day I would sit in my home office (aka the guest room) and hear the sound of his shovel hitting dirt and rock, as he dug out the track and shaped the berms. All of a sudden, three pump track bikes magically were put together from parts in the garage, and I resigned myself to riding the brakeless old BMX bike. I told myself that I didn’t need to buy another bike, although I’d sit and stare longingly at the Shonky on the Kona website.

A week before my birthday on a typical rainy day here in Washington, Kinsey came into my home office and told me I had to come outside and see something, and he insisted on blindfolding me. I had no idea what he was up to. He walked me out to the middle of the pump track….and there was a custom-built Shonky, in the beautiful iridescent purplish-green paint job that I had been eyeing!

Kinsey had secretly been building me a pump track bike that was fully sponsor-correct, from the Kona frame, to the handlebars, stem, and grips from PNW Components, and the HiFi wheelset, all tied together with a bright purple fork and composite Wah Wah II pedals. I was quite impressed that he had pulled off such a big surprise when we were both home 24/7. I asked him how he had hid it from me, and he said he intercepted the USPS, UPS, and FedEx people every day, and stashed the bike in his old truck. Apparently I almost came home from a road ride while the bike box was sitting in front of our garage, but Kinsey got to it just in time.

It was a very sweet birthday surprise, and while I think this period in our lives will be unforgettable for many reasons, at least I will have this great memory as well. Thank you to everyone who helped make this bike build possible!