Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

22 November 2010

Old Bikes Never Die, They Just...

Sometimes I'll see the same bikes parked in the same place for what seem to be aeons.  

These golden oldies have been parked on Broadway at 11th Street (by the post office) for as long as I can remember.   The nearest one is a Ross "compact" bike from, I think, the 1970's.  But those other two bikes are much older. 

I've been known to "rescue" books from unsavory surroundings.  As an example, during a ride I used to take regularly when I was a Rutgers student, I stopped at a truck stop in the foothills of the Watchungs.  On my way out, I saw, from the corner of my eye, a little paperback volume of "Silver" poets.  Even if I hadn't been interested in some of the poems that were in it, I would have felt sorry for that book, stuck among the 57 varieties of porn on the racks.

I brought it to the man at the counter, who looked as if he could have been one of the truck drivers who patronized the place.  He squinted.  "Give me 75 cents for it." 

I rolled it up, tucked it into the rails of my saddle and pedalled off into the sunset.  Well, maybe I'm exaggerating, er, taking poetic license, about the sunset.

Sometimes I have a similar impulse when I see old bikes, unless they're absolutely awful.  The problem is that it takes a lot more space and money to rescue old bikes than old books, or even cats.  I know about the latter:  Charlie and Max were both rescued from the street and the pleasure they give me makes what I spend on them one of the great bargains of my life.

Anyway, I often wonder how Charlie and Max ended up on the street.  Or how a volume of Silver Poets ends up in a rack full of porn at a New Jersey truck stop.  Or how bikes end up locked forlornly to various sign posts, parking meters and other immovable objects for geological ages.

Did those bikes' owners suddenly have to leave town?  At least books can be left with the Strand Bookstore, which is only a block from where I saw the bikes in the photos.  And cats, dogs and other animals can be left with the ASPCA, though I will do my damndest never to leave Charlie, Max or any other animal I may adopt (or, more accurately, who adopts me) to such a fate.  But where is there a Strand Bookstore or ASPCA for bikes?  I know, you can leave them with the thrift stores--when they have the room.  Otherwise, those bikes end up on the same streets as those benighted animals.


  1. Is browsing secondhand porn a regular pastime...?

  2. I don't browse porn. I swear! ;-)

    Seriously, I stopped at that truck stop to have a drink and pee. As I was walking in, I just happened to notice the volume of Silver poets (Dryden, et al.), probably because it looked so out of place in that rack of porn.

    1. Is admitting knowing what should be on a rack of porn not digging a deeper hole? Is a lot of poetry not just classy porn anyway?

  3. Coline--If I respond, you could say, "The lady doth protest too much!"