Sunday, July 31, 2011

Everybody* hates my bike

* except the organizers of L'Eroica
Some years ago, I took my old (1974) bike to the shop; I wanted them to repack the bearings on my wheels, etc. They looked at it, and me, with disdain. They saw an old junker worth no more than $25; I saw a faithful friend that had carried me around campus and over the hills for over a quarter-century.

I rode the bike to work and people acted surprised to see a padlock on it.

Some of my friends have suggested that I buy a new one; they think it's ugly and obsolete.

Just last week I was ordering a new wheel, and the guy at the store asked me if it was worth putting that much money into an old bike.

I didn't realize what that old bike meant to me, really, until I tried to explain my feelings to someone. That bicycle was the first "big" purchase (nearly $150) I made myself; I had just started attending college thousands of miles from home. I rode that bike throughout college; besides taking me to class, it also took me over the mountains and to the beach (San Gregorio, via Woodside Road). I took it home for the summer and rode it from my parents' home up to Puu Ualakaa state park, something I'd never imagined doing on a bike before.

That old bike is just a machine, but it reminds me of my youth -- back when my whole life was still ahead of me. Maybe I'm fond of it because it's one of the few things I have from that era (I still have some textbooks, too--math and physics). It represents adventure, mobility. Possibilities.

Like everything else in this life, it's just temporary, but if I have any "prize possessions" I guess that old bike would be one of them. I told my daughter Jenny that maybe I'll buy a new bike when this old one turns 40, but if I do that the lovely Carol will want me to pitch this one. So maybe not.

1 comment:

jfille said...

Aww, just saw this post. I love your bike too! but I never knew all the symbolism in it, or even that you took it to Hawaii!