May 9, 2014

[friday]: Breaking in the new bike


---- — My dear Schwinn,

I’m not breaking up with you, I swear.

Yes, there’s another bike in my garage now. One with 10 gears and a set of racing handlebars – the kind that resemble a billy goat’s horns. But I promise I’m not replacing you. You’re still in the garage, too, aren’t you?

Your truly devoted, Sarah.

I’m one of those weird people that talks to inanimate objects. At least I don’t name them. My aunt’s college bike is named Peter, one of my college buddies named her car Boris, but my possessions have always been “the ___” as if they were the only ones in the world worth mentioning.

Which they are.

My Schwinn is the same bike I’ve been riding since I turned 15 and a half. (I have a winter birthday. If you want any gifts besides snow boots and a sled, you celebrate some years on your half-birthday.) It’s green, it’s comfortable, it’s 40 years old. It has character.

I talk to it.

You know the bond they say grows between a man and his horse? It goes for bikes too. So when I got a 30-year-old road bike this spring, I felt sorry for my Schwinn.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m keeping my Schwinn. I really hope the Schwinn will reconcile itself to the new situation and teach my new blue bike to behave. You know how new pets are – adorable, feisty, not potty trained. I took the blue bike on a ride a couple of weeks ago and it threw me off. I have the skinned knee to prove it.

It’s been in time-out since then. We’ll see how it behaves this weekend for the Cass County Historical Bike Ride. If it’s learned its lesson, I might be able to take it out in public more often.

My Schwinn is probably jealous of the new bike sitting in the garage, though. That bike got all the attention when I got it – a lot of cleaning, some tuning up, several joyrides to test out different adjustments.

I felt like turning to caress my poor little Schwinn and assure it that everything was all right. I just got it a friend.

At least they’re both girl bikes. I won’t have to worry about a litter of baby bikes showing up in a dark corner of the garage.

– Sarah Einselen

Friday columnist / Bike polyandrist