What Moves Me: Bicycles!

by Jonathan Galbreath

5 September, 2011

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 : )