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.