Monday, June 21, 2021

I Want To Ride My Bicycle, I Want To Ride My Bike

 On our travels we came across a stone stock, vitange Schwinn Collegiate three-speed and bought it for thirty bucks.  My husband figured he would be the one to ride it, but as it turns out, he has Rotating Vibrationals and does not belong on anything except shoes. (Think of the headrush you get sometimes when you stand up too fast, and up the intensity by ten.  This is a thing that happens to him. I cannot for the life of me remember what it's called, so it's been Rotating Von bar-martials, Reverbing Falls, and basically means that he'll get about five steps away from the chair he'd been sitting in for over an hour and suddenly collapse in a heap of Bikerage.)

This means that the perfection that is a mans vintage Schwinn is all MINE.

These were fantastic bikes.  The slender bar frame means it responds to a twitch of the handlebars or the hips, a surprisingly nimble and light bike coming from the Schwinn Tank Factory.  

Today for some God-unbeknownst reason I decided to hop on that sapsucker and take it for a spin.

Man, the thrill is still there.

I was able to ride that thing all over town, like nothing, like flying. Effortlessly.  Oh, it needs some adjustment of the handlebars and the seat, but it has the 'flick' shift, and this blue dream goes along and ignores the state of the road. Like I said, adjustments need to be made, but after more years than I can remember offhand, I'm on a Schwinn again, and it's a quality Schwinn, made for commuting, and it's like riding a dragonfly. You skim over the pavement.  It was 80f today (Hot, for my UK buds) and I didn't even crack a sweat, children!  And the sheer joy of being back on a bicycle again - !

When I was in grade school, I was cursed with a vast, horrifying Columbia bike.  Nowadays the fucking thing would be worth upwards of  $1500.00, but at the time it was embarrassing and ugly and it got stolen a lot and vandalized because it was so very uncool.  It was my albatross.

It was also the thing that built up my muscles and bones while I was still growing, manouvering that heavy, leaden, ugly beast around.  I probably owe my current state of osteo-health to that bastard of a bike, that horrible embarrassment of a klunker, a thing so heavy that once I got it up to speed the pedal brakes would shriek.  And when it was stolen, that's how I could tell where it was in the neighborhood, come to that.

God that bike embarrassed me, and I was not a popular kid to begin with.  I can't count the times I found it lying in a field, or on a dirt hill, the air let out of the tires, the handlebars turned around, and have to walk it back home.  I'll skip the Dickensian shit and just say that I took the blame for what other kids did to that bike.  Every single time.  Even when someone grabbed it out of my hands, or crashed into me and knocked me to the ground and took it.  The fucking thing always ended up back in our garage, and I always ended up riding it to school every day, and having to park it down at the very end of the rack.

So much for that.  

For Christmas, when I was 13, I was given a boys (I insisted) ten-speed Schwinn. The thing was just as heavy as my Columbia, but it had the right look.  Add ramhorn handlebars and a generator headlight and suddenly, I was acceptable.  I was also 13, and went to school five miles away from my house, so it was very, very seldom indeed that I rode the thing to school.  But it never got stolen, and I was never ragged for owning it.  I could park it in the rack and other kids would park their bikes next to it.  That thing was all right.

It went to another owner when I moved out and into Portland.  Back then, Portland Oregon was not a bike friendly city, and it was just taking up space in my apartment, serving no purpose.

Boy, today, on that bike, it felt So Right.  And where I live is dead level, too.  I have a basket for it; I can actually ride it to places and do errands with it, and I'm planning on doing that.

Man, like flying.  Just like flying. Like no time has passed at all.

9 comments:

Jon said...

Why do I have this recurring image of "Miss Gulch" with Toto in the basket flashing through my mind..? Jx

Camille said...

Wait...no baseball card pinned to the wheel spokes on that Schwinn? I'm crushed. But to be be really chic' and fabulous you can be the first on your block to use a Platinum Amex card.

Ms Scarlet said...

I haven't ridden a bike in years, but you have given me a yen to do so. I want a bike with streamers flying from the handlebars because I wasn't allowed them as a child.
Sx

Steve. Because 'Steve' is almost as nice a name as 'Paul'. said...

Jon: Because you've been at the magic mushrooms again, haven't you.

Steve. Because 'Steve' is almost as nice a name as 'Paul'. said...

Camille: I would never impugn the dignity of my Schwinn in such a manner! But I'll take the Amex card - hand it over, now...

Steve. Because 'Steve' is almost as nice a name as 'Paul'. said...

Ms. Scarlet: You shall have your wish! And get one of those silver 'chingle' bells with the little lever on the side too! You will be the height of retro style!

ProximaBlue said...

Wear your bonnet and get a basket for it! So you can ride to the store and pick up fresh bread or fill it with a bouquet of flowers and really ride in style. I'll be up in your neck of the woods this weekend. We're going to Birch Bay for the first time! Our consolation prize of sorts since the bastards that be won't open the border. We always love to visit B.C.

Steve. Because 'Steve' is almost as nice a name as 'Paul'. said...

Melanie Reynolds: Shit woman, stop on by! I'm at 422 Front Street Sumas. You'll recognize the garden, and we'll be home. I would love to meet you!

ProximaBlue said...

"Steve" I'm so sorry I've only come back around to see this!

I'm also sorry for any confusion in having changed by Blogger Name again. I originally started on Blogger in 2007 and that's when I met Mago who was only lurking back then and encouraged him to write his own blog and here we all are today. So Proxima Blue and Melanie Reynolds (my real name) are the same person. I was hesitant to share my real name for a long time due to a stalking incident many years back. As I'm sure you understand, Proxy gives me a chance to share parts of me that is not for everyone.