Monday, March 8, 2010

Three Old Bikes

A lovely off yesterday. Three of us headed down to the canal on three bicycles which cost us a total of $40. Mine was the most recent roadside find, an old Schwinn The Wife spotted in a front yard with a "free" sign scrawled on cardboard, and insisted on stopping to take. It's chain could have used some lubrication. It rattled away like a pocket full of unhappy keys. But it ran fine with no more work than pumping air in the tires. It's a single-speed, old school machine, which you pedal backwords to apply the brakes and hope you've got lots of room to stop, but it doesn't really matter much because you're not going to go too fast on it. And it's got a kick-stand - something high performance bikes omit in the name of efficiency, but which I suspect is just another scam to defraud the consumer.

Another perfect machine for the bike trail along the canal, in other words, and I can even keep my pipe lit as I'm rolling along. We headed all the way to the mouth of the canal to sit on the jetty and watch the ducks taking off and the currents swirling the surface of the glassy water. No ships came through on this particular Sunday Morning, and the sky was clear and mild, so the foghorn on the other side of the water played to an empty house.

It felt liberating to park our three bicycles at the end of the sandy trail without chaining them up, worrying about them. They got some curious looks, certainly, though I couldn't tell whether people thought they were roadside trash or vintage treasure. Still, if someone was inclined to steal them, no big deal. Easy come, easy go. (This is part of what I was trying to get at with yesterday's sarcastically voiced post. Our economy does toss off some pretty good treasures as garbage. There's much pleasure to be had if we tear our eyes away from the advertisements and help ourselves to richer folks' hand-me-downs.)

Certainly the mild weather played a part, but there's nothing that makes one feel more expansive and generous than smoking a bowl of tobacco on the seat of a free bicycle.


  1. Hear hear! It was a lovely day. There is something to an old bike without all the bells and whistles (though the antique bell is nice) that lets you pedal slowly, take in the view and feel a part of the moment. You don't feel you need to 'beat yesterdays record' or try to 'add another mile' or to do anything to the 'extreme' while downing a caffine filled Red bulled over marketed can of sugar, clothed in spandex and atitude. Just three odd little people, a man with a pipe, a woman in dress hose and hat, and a girl with clip on earings happily cycling along through a warm day, enjoying the trip and feeling free and easy. Good day.

  2. Sounds magical.. What a sweet picture you three would have made cycling along enjoying the moment. Linda