Wednesday, June 11, 2008

About My Bike

This is my '74 or '75 Ross Europa 3-speed. Her name is Praline Supreme because she's one sweet ride. I believe she's made entirely of steel which is a bit heavy, but I have to work off all of that sugar somehow. Moreover, I don't pedal very fast, but I do need to get up the occasional hill. So far I've only conquered slight inclines and I push my bike up the bigger hills--I'm not trying to be a hero. I'm supposed to be enjoying myself.

For my additional pleasure, I sought a bike with a chainguard and fenders. I rarely take pleasure in getting filthy, especially if I'm looking cute. And that is the end that Praline Supreme and I shall try to accomplish: to be bicycle chic. This requires us to be as graceful as possible about the town and country. Happily, this means we need accessories. Accessories for carrying things without causing me excessive perspiration. Accessories to make us fantastically visible in the event of darkness. Accessories to preserve my lovely brain in the event of some accident.

Cycling is a wonderful occasion for shopping, especially if you haven't exceeded your line of credit by buying a new, high-end bike. I don't say this to discredit those who spend hundreds of dollars on "Dutch" bikes, but I think you should have many miles behind you and a strong commitment to cycling before making such an investment. Besides, riding vintage is very green.

There's no "junker" or "clunker" in my parlance

Bicycles are wonderfully carefree vehicles. They don't require costly fuel or repairs and they have a low impact on the environment. So cycling makes for healthy, happy people. Let's keep it that way. I don't see the point of qualifying any bike as a "junker" or "clunker" if it gets you from point A to point B safely and you're satisfied with it. If the bike is so beneath you that you'd refer to it in such a negative way, why do you have it? If you're in the process of fixing it up, then fix it up and don't apologize for it. I'm sure its metamorphosis will be astounding and the end result beautiful. Apparently, we're sitting on a goldmine of vintage bikes that are economical and have great potential for commuting that isn't being utilized. This probably has something to do with the mindset that high expense is the most significant marker of good quality. Brand status is probably at work in there somewhere too. Let's leave that sort of baggage for cars, please.

I found Praline Supreme on Craigslist. She was a part of a his-and-her pair. Before I was even born, my bike was rolling steadily along with her mate facilitating the adventures of a young husband and wife. Then came children. She pulled them around in a trailer that I suspect was green from the paint on her rear fender. In full "mama bike" mode, I'm sure she made toddlers squeal with joy and helped to instill an affinity for cycling in the kids for years to come. The paint came off with a little elbow grease and aluminum foil. She only cost me $30.


Charlotte said...

Beautiful bike, and a beautiful post.

I agree completely, we have such a rich resource in our vintage bikes - and they're simply the best tool for getting around town. I have a fast road bike and I use that bike to go fast. The rest of the time I'm happy to roll along sedately, enjoying the trip and enjoying just being alive.

Transportation on a bike is a solved problem, we perfected it years ago. I'm confident there is something out there for everyone.

The Bronze Bombshell said...

Thanks for the compliment. I just want it to be known that transportation by bike is a lot simpler than others make it sound.

blair said...

hi, sgb, i wasn't able to find a place on your blog to email you, so i'm commenting in the post that inspired me.

i'm a very avid, probably even "hardcore" cyclist, and i live in san francisco, ca -- a very bike-centric city.

i was so inspired and moved by your blog and by your attentiveness to the core of the sport (just riding a bike that you like at a pace that you like to do the things that you like), that i posted a link to your blog under the cycling topic on a forum that i'm a moderator of. the forum itself is a sort of comics/art/film/pop-culture thing, but as the administrator and i are both avid cyclists, we naturally have a cycling section, too.

anyway, here's the link to what i said about you ... ... and i encouraged all the cyclists and especially NON-cyclists on our forum to give your blog some hits, because i think you're tapped in to what's important in this thing we do.

i've chosen to have follow-up comments here emailed to me, if you'd like me to change anything i wrote, or to take your picture down or anything like that.

power to the pedal!


RC said...

I just love your blog...fits my approach to bicycles perfectly! I loved what you said about a bike being a "good bike" if it meets the needs and desires of the person riding it. Well said!

© courtnee cycles chic
Maira Gall