Monday, August 30, 2010

Bikes Come, Bikes Go

Sometime back I came across a garage sale in the Glenview District of Oakland, and spied a mountain bike for sale for $45. A small Gary Fisher mountain bike, it had few miles on had been owned by a girl who went off to college. I thought Flashette might like this, so I bought it, but she didn't feel the fit. It sat in the garage for a while, then Max rode it to school his senior year (after his Nishiki road bike was stolen there) and it gave trouble free service. Then it sat some more. I am now quite pleased to report that it is currently serving who-knows what-duty up at Burning Man Festival in the Black Rock desert, being ridden by Lazlo, a long time friend of Max's, and also currently living in Olympia Washington. I couldn't make it to Burning Man this year (or any other year yet) but it is deeply satisfying to know that one of my bikes is up there...freewheeling the sands of surreal 21st century life. Oh, the tales it could tell.

Recently I spied a red road bike leaning against some recycling bins by Encinal High school. I stopped to look at it- an ancient Bridgestone, complete, but in poor shape, the frame just huge, the ugly factor amplified by it's pink electrical tape handlebar wrap. The elderly Asian man who owned it asked me to take it and he threw in a parts box of miscellaneous bike parts. This bike has been sitting in my garage since then, and I was going to either strip it for parts or sell it dirt cheap, when a member of Cathy's church called us to ask if we could supply her son with a bike, his was recently stolen, and he needed to get to work. He wanted a durable faster ride. I said sure, I have something. Surprisingly, the son was almost my age, he didn't mind the fugly bar tape, he was very happy to get it, and he mounted up and rode off into the sunset. So be it! Glad that worked out.

Last winter Team Alameda member Ron Arth called me up to offer me a beachcruiser bike for our exchange student girls to ride. I still have that and it is being put to good use by my current exchange student Joe, from Guangzhou China. Our other host son, Lorenz from Germany, is digging my Specialized Rockhopper, and he completed a 20 mile hill ride on it last weekend.

I ride my Miyata road bike to work everyday. I reset the odometer after my heart tuneup, symbolic of starting over, and I now have 657 miles on it. Riding to and from Bay Farm island. Nothing else. 11 miles every day. Its a workout coming back in the afternoon into the incessant fog blown headwinds, no even worse, it can be excruciating. Not unlike being waterboarded. Ok, maybe not that bad. But it can be really bad. I've found that stuffing paper in my ears helps a lot to mute the howling wind in my ears. I'm convinced from doing this day after day that the sound of wind whipping my ears is the worst mental obstacle to overcome, it saps my strength and morale. But it didn't kill me, so I must be stronger.

And still there are more bikes: the Army bike with its new fat slicks sits in the garage awaiting a ride to the produce stand. I also ride the AMF Huffy cruiser bike, rusty and grungy, but surprisingly capable and almost theft proof. Almost. Last but not least is my Lemond, still rocking the ultra low hill gears, still riding like the trusty steed it is. It is very good at what it does, which is extreme grade riding. Oh yeah, Cathy has two bikes as well.

So... lots of bikes in and around the house. A bike for every reason, a bike for every season, a bike fore every guest from every country. Living the bike life, hardly using the car, building my carbon credits and lowering my carbon footprint. Bikes....what amazing machines! I love 'em.

1 comment:

  1. 657 miles - Bravo. Not only have those miles kept your ticker tiptop, it has given you the joy that shines through your writing. Makes me determined to get my bike tuned up for next season. But then, there's that huge, unforgiving hill that is 2/3 of the way home!

    Maybe I'll stick to walking! (My island is all hills and narrow roads.)