I didn’t have time to tell him that I’d just bought a girl’s bike myself; our conversation came to a sudden end as he pedaled left and I kept straight along the beach boardwalk on Sunday.
Although I live in CdM I always want to bike to the Newport Pier — yes, it’s a gorgeous destination, but I love the sea of humanity. I’m a people-watcher.
I like the way cyclists dress on the peninsula, too. In CdM I see bicycle battalions slicing along Coast Highway in their lycra/spandex racing shirts. Don’t get me wrong — I have the same outfits, but it’s kinda silly at my age and at my level of physical fitness. I’m riding for my health, but I’m no former athlete trying to reclaim my youth — as one friend describes himself, I’m a fat-lete — and I’m cool with that. So anyway, when I ride on the peninsula I see everyman on a bike, dressed every which way, and on all kinds of bikes, from rusted out crap to shiny beach cruisers. I can relate to this community — they’re just folks out for a ride, like this recent bike rider I pedaled up next to and started a conversation…
I’d seen this rusted hulk of a bicycle before — it would win any contest for ‘Least Likely to Get Stolen’, but I sensed there was more to this story.
“That’s some bike you’ve got there;” I could tell he was used to passing comments.
“Been riding this since Kennedy was President.” And no one would doubt it — surely he’d put new tires on it since then, but few other improvements were evident.
“Pardon my sense of humor, but you probably don’t worry about theft?”
“No, there are people out to steal old bikes, too.” And I remembered reading that vintage bikes attract their own sub-class of criminals. “But few people are interested in the girl frame.”
And that’s when a whole new paragraph of chit-chat came flooding into my head. I just ordered a semi-custom steel frame mixte bike last week, a girl’s frame. Why? Well, I have a small wheel fold-up bike and the ultra-low clearance makes getting on & off so easy that as I started shopping for a new touring bike — or more like, as I finished making up my mind — the mixte low-clearance frame suddenly made a lot of sense.
But all these stimulating remarks must go here in print because my riding companion of the moment wished me a good day and promptly turned off the boardwalk. My last comment I would share with my wife as I sped up to her, “You’d think those wheel rims would’ve collapsed in 60 years.” And maybe they will soon, but in the meantime, be on the lookout for this rustic, rusting vintage two-wheel wonder on your next ride.