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life is a barrel o'fun
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My cousin William is like a brother to me. In fact, he's even better than a brother, because we don't bicker like most siblings tend to do. He even helped me find this apartment and roommate- a most excellent living situation.

He married Emily in April, and she's also terrific. I lost my job the day before their wedding, and for that reason didn't give them a gift right away. But I wanted to do something generous and more personal than just a check (even though they don't make a hell of a lot.)

Emily's old bike sat in the basement, surrounded by her paintings, looking rather folorn. A green Schwinn Woodlands with squiggly flecks of paint which belied its era (mid-80s) as did the BioPace chainring. The cables and chain had spots of rust, cobwebs clung to the brake levers, and a layer of dust coated the seat, bars and drop frame. The seat had a couple of minor tears but was big and proud-looking like most cruiser seats are, however the tires were not only flat but shredded on the sides. The many speeds (21 or so) and the flat bars give a hint of off-road potential. It's like a cruiser that says, "Hey, I can ride on dirt too. I just don't wanna."

Every time I went down into the basement with Em (she hates going down there alone), I was drawn to her bike, and determined to restore its relationship with its owner. I know what that bike is thinking- an old friend gets married, and she's suddenly unable to hang out anymore! But would it be cost-effective to get it functioning again?

With the weather being so nice, I decided it wasn't worth waiting for me to find a job before spending the money, 'cause that's gonna take a long time. Dragged the bike up the rickety wooden steps the other day, and walked it about half a mile to the LBS. The kid did a quick once-over, and tapping the calculator, estimated $94. Even considering the need for two new tubes and treads, this seemed expensive, but I figured what the heck. It's for a bike, after all. If I had a garage, I might be more inclined to tinker with it myself. Besides, the experts would know if there were any major flaws that needed immediate attention.

Went to pick up the bike today, and along with a new, detachable black wire basket for the front, total came to about $115. Decorated the basket with some tulle and lace, and added little ponytail-holder decorations to the handlebars. Rode it over to her place and was impressed with the comfortable upright position and the steady speed with which it cruised down the sidewalk. It felt sturdy and purposeful, yet elegant. Definitely a happier bike.

Got to her apartment and rung the bell. Was hoping she wasn't home so that I could leave it there as a surprise. But I heard the inside door open as she came to the outside door- damn! Oh well, I presented it to her finally, and the memories started pouring out of her. "I haven't ridden this bike in two years," she said. "I used to ride it all over the city. It was originally my sister's- she got THIS for her birthday one year, and all I got that year was a paperback book. But then she never rode it, and now it's mine."

She made some coffee and a few minutes later, William stopped in, on his way to visiting a client. He got to see the bike all decked out in its ribbons before he left. He also left Em with a box that needed to be returned to a friend of his who worked in town. It fit perfectly in the basket. Em removed the ribbons and suggested we go for a bike ride after making the delivery. Well duh!

We hung out in front of Will's friend's law office for quite some time, chatting him up, and then on to my place so I could pick up my bike. Rode around the park, which includes a long sidewalk alongside the East River. Em and the bike got re-acquainted. After a while, we decided to ride to a local cafe/restaurant for some lunch, where we commanded one of the couch-corners (easy to do late in the afternoon) and shared french fries and baklava while sipping our fruit smoothies. She said that her butt was kinda sore, and I reminded her that it'll take a couple of rides for her butt to get used to the saddle again.

The bikes were in full view chained to a parking meter right outside the open doors. Kept my eyes on them as I don't normally like using parking meters, but we did have two locks and the bikes couldn't be lifted over. I made a mental note to have the seat chained to the frame, and perhaps get hose clamps for the quick-releases. Lights and a bell would also be handy......all in due time, she'll have birthdays coming up!

Eventually we parted ways, and Em thanked me one more time for getting her bike back in order. I'm rather satisfied myself, as if the natural order of things has been restored. Yet another bike commuter in the neighborhood, and one member of my family assimilated into our cult.......uhh, I mean, able to share in my joy ;)

Now, if only we could get Will ("unable to ride a bike a few blocks without having to puke") onto a bike......I'm already on the prowl for a cheap, decent mountain bike for him........
 

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life is a barrel o'fun
Joined
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2,502 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
No pictures, but it wasn't that much- I bought two yards of tulle/ribbon and maybe two feet of scrap lace. Tied the tulle into a (droopy!) bow on front of the basket; lazily wrapped the lace around the basket.

In the fabric store, there were jars of silly ponytail holders. One of them was a hard plastic flower design. The other was a two-pompom "bride," with googly eyes, a "diamond" necklace, little veil, and a piece of orangish lace making the bride look like she had short, curly, strawberry blonde "hair," which is exactly what Emily's hair looks like! :p I later stuck this on the front of the basket like a hood ornament.

Here's a picture of Emily, though: http://www.emilybicht.com/ I'm hoping she'll incorporate the bike into her art one of these days!
 
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