Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Time Out!

I've had this real thing for bikes for, say, quite awhile now. They've always held some serious allure for me. I can remember back to one of my first: painted bright yellow, a flowery-print banana seat and, the way I remember it, these big ole chopper-like handlebars.
But, prolly not. For the handlebar part only, though. The rest of it was shit hot.

I've gone through bike phases, for sure. I don't remember too much bike time in high school, for instance. It was all about our Model-A Ford then. Who needed to ride a bicycle when you could drive the next, man-made machine just UP from a two-wheeler? I actually skipped the whole gears and hand-brakes generational thing. So, while other young, hip kids were tooling around on their 5-speed Schwinn's.... ole molly here was still kickin it with the foot brakes.

Then, there was that time period in there where I was doing the birkenstock, woven-pants thing and I tried the hot new sport of mountain biking! Ugh. That was not my thing. I don't need all that bump-stuff and adrenaline and straight-downhill-fear. No thank you!

So, it wasn't until after college life, into adult life, I moved to NYC and hit up the flea market on 24th street looking for housewares, old paintings, and some scrappy photo books that I happened upon a bike instead. There was a slew of them there in the old parking lot and I don't remember seeing one mountain bike in the whole lot. This was my posse. My bike love was re-born. I bought an old, black BSA that weighed about 500 pounds and have loved it with great pride to this day. It took me all over New York City and is a key component to some of my absolute, very bestest memories.

Bikes play a hugemongous-superly-fantastic part of my everyday life. It's trippy. I can check out someones bike like I'm ...um.... yeah, well.... like I'm checking someone OUT! RK does it too. We do it at the same time: 'oh, man, sweet bike. yeah, check out those cool pedals, oh wow, look at that, ooooh, those handlebars are sweet'... this is starting to sound weird. It's just a little bike love.

About a year ago, RK said it was time to put away the BSA and it was time to get a bike that had real gears for going UP hill and real brakes for going DOWN hill. I really had no idea what he was talking about. I thought everyone's knees burned and ached when they tried to go up a hill. I'd never ridden with gears. And I'd surely never ridden up hills like they have in San Francisco. Eventually, he wore me down. I think I might have gasped with joy the first time I used a gear, for real, going up a hill. RK must've heard me and said to himself, 'Thats It!'

I'll admit it. I got into it. He was right. Hand brakes can be fantastic. It's true. I liked being able to bike up our hill to our front door. So, there you go. I put my old BSA to the side and started riding what I always thought of as a "mountain bike". I even put my highly valuable "i (heart) my bike" bell on it! Yes, I grew to love it.

Anyway, this is all to say that today was a bit of shock when I walked outside to get on my gear-filled, hand-breaking bike and head out for the day and it wasn't there. All that was left was a cut lock, fallen to the ground. Ah, stupid me. I let my guard down and there she goes.
So, it's out there somewhere.
I feel for it.
And, I feel strangely violated.

The only silver lining I can see is that I'll now pull out my old BSA beauty, fix 'er up and get her back on the hills.
She's a looker, that one.


montague said...

how infuriating!!!
I had my front wheel stolen a few months back... and i know what you mean when you say you felt violated! so upsetting...
but yay for finding the silver lining!

Leenie said...

Violated! No kidding! So sorry for your loss. If my Trek(not mt bike) went missing I would be in a serious funk. Great photos of the bicycles. Like your blog.

Cathy Mogull said...

so sad to hear about your bike.
jimmy is an avid road cyclist. when we moved to carpinteria a couple of years ago, I pledged to take up cycling as a way to spend together time. two years later, i have upgraded from the hybrid I started out with and I have a real road bike. Clip pedals, ugly padded bike shorts, gloves... the whole mishpueka (yiddish, spelled incorrectly, I am sure). LOVE IT! I am hooked...
maybe there is a new bike in your future???
a birthday bike?
love the photos...

Marion Williams-Bennett said...

sad about your new bike, that is just wrong. Nice to have your old friend back, though!

I love the pictures of the bikes that have their front wheels pointed out - they look like the are posing!

Elizabeth said...

OH NO! That is the WORST! I am so sorry.