I remember picking out my first bicycle like it was yesterday.
I remember the Linoleum floor, the smell of the aisle from rubber tires. I remember having a choice between red, white and blue or black and gold. I chose the black and gold, “Cheetah” BMX, as it reminded my of my then current favorite movie, Smokey and the Bandit.
I remember the butterflies in my stomach when my father let go of the seat and I was on my own. I remember carnage from my first crash, and I remember eagerly hopping back on.
The ‘spirit of cycling’ is one of the most genuine joys in my life. It clears my head in the mornings and in the evenings. I commute on a variety of bicycles, 20 miles round-trip, to work, as many days as I can, year-round. On the weekends, I can be found in my backyard with a pint of Deschutes Mirror Pond, a pile of bike parts and a plethora of Park Tools. I not only ride them, I fix them. I build them for friends. I restore them, I sell them. Bicycles can be aesthetically and physically an extension of oneself. Bicycles are functional art.
To me, bicycles still mean much of what it did back then: FREEDOM. Today, it’s much more of a culture and something to be very proud of. There is a strong sense of camaraderie when you pass another cyclist. A subtle head-nod is usually a sign of salutation. It says, “I appreciate your sense of personal responsibility to yourself and your planet.” And, it doesn’t matter if you’re a a competitive, carbon-fiber, weekend go-getter; a bearded, vintage steel centurion; a wool-wearing, sensible, Wald-basket commuter or a colorful, faux-track hipster: Bicycles belong and so do you.
Below are a few commuter bikes that I have built:
ABOVE: The Meadowlark
ABOVE: The Bombay
ABOVE: The DeLitespeed Xtracycle
Next time you think about hopping in your car to go grab a loaf of bread, dust off the old two-wheeler and reward yourself : )