I find it particular that I’ve yet to write an article specifically about the love of my life. I’m referring to a
|This was the first bicycle I took seriously. It was
a 1984 Free Spirit 10-speed (classic Sears variety).
I bought it for 25 dollars at a Hialeah thrift store and
put very many miles on it. I experimented on it
a lot also, and eventually it suffered repairable but
prohibitively expensive damage to
the front fork. A beautiful bicycle that I’ll never forget.
|My current (and heretofore most expensive) rider: a 1982
Peugeot P18 Mixte frame w/700c x 28 tires, 10 speeds and
an extended length rear rack, with very many accessories.
|My 1980s Sun Miami and Huffy Sea Trails cruisers
in storage, little before they were sold to a collector.
|My 1980s Sun Miami cruiser at its finest stage, with
a roomy rear rack/basket, dual rearview mirrors and
newly installed 26″ tires.
component of my life that’s been with me through thick and thin; that with the exception of a few bumps along the road, has always felt the same, smelled the same, looked the same … essentially, it’s remained beautiful in its permanence.
I’m referring to the bicycle. Never have I ever been so taken by the beauty and appeal of something as the day I went on my first serious bike ride, atop a boys’ BMX bike that was way too small for my thirteen-year-old self at the time.
I recall having to raise the seatpost height beyond the “minimum insertion” mark. I recall the hard as a rock saddle that I had to stand for half an hour, whose attached fabric only made things worse as it rubbed against the seams in my shorts. I recall the constant clanking of the crank arms, which hadn’t been tightened since the bicycle left the factory years prior to that ride.
I also recall getting a flat tire three-quarters of the way to my destination, which left me no recourse but to walk the remaining distance.
But most of all, I recall that beautiful sense of independence as I sped off my block and onto the city streets. With every thrust downward, I felt like I was entering increasingly higher levels of aesthetic, of beauty, of art.
That fascination has endured until today, and will very likely continue to endure for a very long time. The fact that I’ve gone nearly everywhere I’ve ever had to go either solely by bicycle, or by a combination of bicycle and mass transit, is a testament to not only my appreciation of the vehicle, but also to the power the vehicle has.
When a proper fit is ensured between a cyclist and his bicycle – proper saddle height and type, proper handlebar reach, proper stem height, comfortable gearing, proper tire inflation, and proper accessories as needed – the power that can be exuded from the two-wheeler is tremendous…
For me, though, it generally hasn’t been about speed. Speed is not the reason why I ride a bicycle. Instead, I ride for efficiency. I ride because I like to be in a situation where I’m getting somewhere by the most efficient way possible. Half the time – even considering time constraints – a bicycle is the best way to get there. No energy is expended save for your own, which is easily rechargeable by sleeping, eating or drinking water.