A Nurse with a Gun

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Misty Morning Ride

As the sun began to illuminate the horizon, I rolled my Raleigh One Speed out onto the porch and I pedaled off into a wet Louisiana mist. Click to enlargeI was glad that I had chosen to put a coaster brake on this bike. Coaster brakes do not give up their braking ability on wet streets. Only myself and the paperboy were about at this hour. We waved at one another as we passed.

I had no scheduled cases this morning, even though I was on call. That is a rarity, and my beeper was quiet on my neck. It was a peaceful ride as my gumwall racing slicks skimmed the layer of dampness off the asphalt in front of them.

The Raleigh One Speed that I built is a wonderful cross between a racing bike and a cruiser. I don't know what you would call it, really. I was struck by it's tall, narrow structure as I dismounted to take a few photos about five miles away. Click to enlargeIt's a good looking, unpretentious bike, with all the right stuff and nothing unnecessary for pure cycling enjoyment.

Last year, when I decided to begin riding again, I discovered a part of my youth that I had forgotten. The hot summer days that me and my friends spent building bicycles from scrap for bombing runs down the Hill of Doom had been forgotten. This morning, I pondered how different things are for many kids today. If a bicycle isn't purchased at the mega-mart (at least, a bike store bike is preferred) it just isn't fit for them, in their eyes, to ride. They will never develop the appreciation of building a machine that they themselves will get on top of, and prove to themselves and others that they can not only defeat the Hill of Doom, with it's Dead Man's Curve and Bitchshova Gulley at the bottom, but they can do so on a bike of your own creation, risking teeth and limb. The legacy of Wilbur, Orville, and Sylvester seemed to be lost today.

Then, I remembered the guys who build their own fixed gear bikes and bomb through the urban streets of most major cities. I remembered the kids who build low rider monstrosity bikes and cruise at night. The old kids on Rat Rod bikes........Yeah, the gestalt of bicycling is not dead, just evolved.

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6 Comments:

Blogger Reno Sepulveda said...

Kids dig skateboards nowadays and many of them build their own. I used to skateboard back in the '70s and built my own longboard in 2001. Amazing to bomb a hill with a a modern, concave deck, high speed bearings, ,premium wheels and trucks. It was so fast I'd roll over to the strip mall to pick up a few DVDs or a gallon of milk.

I did feel kind self conscious because I don't look like a skater. I looked like a kook. Also, I refused to wear any protective gear and my love for sliding down hills at night and the inevitable spills made me realize a 40ish body wasn't able to heal near as fast as a teenaged one. I ended up giving my custom built board to a kid at church and he was ecstatic.

Maybe a cruiser style bike is in my future. I need some way to run Murphy's energy off

11:25 AM  
Blogger Owen said...

you and I have very simular bike tastes. I've been meaning to put together my relaxed geometry single speed.

12:00 PM  
Anonymous bickernaut said...

Damn I like that bike!

12:20 PM  
Anonymous Steve said...

Xavier,

That is a pretty bike. You've built a work of beauty. Enjoy riding her!

Steve

8:34 PM  
Blogger kbarrett said...

Small kids bikes, steep hills, middle of the night, en mass.

http://www.zoobomb.net/

9:12 PM  
Blogger Ed Skinner said...

As reported in News of the Weird (http://www.newsoftheweird.com/archive/index.html):
"Cody Young, 13, complained in January that when he parked his expensive BMX bicycle inside the front door of a Goodwill Industries store in Salem, Ore., so he could browse, an employee mistakenly sold the bike to a customer for $6.99. [Statesman Journal (Salem), 1-30-08]"

8:19 AM  

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