MASON CITY | A few weeks ago, Seth Bell became the owner of a beautiful bicycle he wishes he never had.
His mom, Sally Bell, 62, of Clear Lake died after colliding with a flatbed truck while cycling in rural Worth County on Nov. 20, 2014. An avid cyclist, she often rode more than 100 miles in a day.
Bell, of Mason City, is a bike mechanic at Wayne’s Ski and Cycle in Mason City, and he wanted to rebuild his mother's bike in her memory.
The bike was made by Moots, a high-end manufacturer based in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
The badly damaged bicycle was released to Bell by the Iowa State Patrol about a month after the accident.
"I've seen other bikes that have been involved in motor vehicle accidents so I kind of had a mental image of what it might look like, but I was really surprised to see how bad it was," he said. "I had my fingers crossed that hopefully the frame would be OK.
"To see the frame broken like that was a shock, but I called them anyway to see if they could fix it.
"I didn't want it to be a charity case kind of thing. So I didn't tell them what happened right away. I just asked if they could repair frames that had broken."
After sending photos of the tangled titanium frame, he explained to the company how it had been so badly damaged. A Moots representative emailed Bell the next day asking him to send in the frame. So Bell took the bike apart and saved all the pieces that were salvageable.
About eight weeks later Bell got a box from the company. When he popped the top open Bell said his whole world went blank. “I couldn't believe it was actually here.”
There was a poster in the box that was signed by the Moots staff with encouraging words and well wishes.
“There wasn't a bill in the box," he said. "I haven’t gotten an invoice. If someone else paid for it, I don’t know.
"I sent them a thank-you card and a photo of the bike. I will never have the words to thank them enough," Bell said. "I just wish I could get on a plane to give them all a hug."
Who paid the bill is no longer a mystery.
"Everyone at Moots was crushed by the news and it was clear that Sally was an amazing person at the heart of the cycling community," Corey Piscopo, sales director of Moots Cycle, told the Globe Gazette on Tuesday.
"In any other circumstance we would have just started over with a new build, as the reconstruction of this damaged bike took significant effort. But that option was not discussed because we knew the importance of this bike to Seth and his family.
"Everyone at Moots is honored to have made this contribution in her memory," Piscopo said.
Bell had a special cap made for the bicycle's stem inscribed with the words Forever Forward.
"Whenever I look down, there it is," he said.
"After it happened people would ask if there was anything they could do for me. The one thing I keep telling people is live — go do what you love because life is too short. A few seconds can change everything."