By Beth Hamon
is fighting her way back to Portland. The Rivendell hangs forlornly
in the hallway, waiting for a longer string of sunny days so I can
pull her down and ride. She knows that as long as winter still threatens
to pop up every few days I will be riding The Other Bike
Other Bike, a 20-year-old Peugeot, lives in the shed. Too old, ugly
(and frankly way too dirty) to keep in the house. It has enjoyed
king-of-the-hill status through most of the winter, precisely because
handling cold, slick streets with aplomb is what it does best. Gouged
black paint with garish yellow fenders that don't match but somehow
make the most sense; upright Wald bars and a big old, wide-ass Brooks
saddle with coil-springs: this bike is meant to be a beast of burden
and an unglamorous, daily commuter. This bike is the antithesis
of bike porn and carries herself with an odd sort of pride at the
the winter, while the Riv was torn down for its overhaul and all
during the buildup of another project, she has carried an ever-slower
me and all my stuff, and towed the trailer when asked, without complaining.
Other sleeker bikes pass her daily, in a rush to be somewhere as
their riders legs push insistently. Not my B.O.B. (beast-of-burden).
We both know that middle age has crept into my legs and my belly,
and that the rides will be slower, though no less glorious.
rewarded her yesterday with a very roundabout ride to work. I added
an extra mile and a half and about 20 minutes to the commute so
we could take in all the cherry trees in lower Irvington, now in
beautiful pale-pink bloom. The basket rattled and the brakes squealed
a little in the damp air. No bother. A squirrel clawed his way up
a tree as we passed, and starlings swooped overhead, looking for
breakfast. The sky was blue, with patches of fast-moving grey clouds
moved along by a stiff wind from the south. This bike is so heavy
that she's the one I want to be on when I have to ride into a headwind.
It was perfect.
arrived at work windblown and refreshed, and couldn't wait for my
day to be over so I could ride some more.
your commutes are just as revelatory.