Two Wheels

comments 4

Its about that time. When I walk the streets, I become that jerk that recalls “that time I was in Spain, or Germany, or the South of France.” Its annoyingly cliche, but unfortunately it does remind me of that time in Augsburg! (It doesn’t really matter about the exact location. Try it some time on someone, they will look at you with an envious loathing.) The sun is a bit brighter in the morning, and when I get off the subway after work, Central Park is still reflecting that beautiful yellow and orange glow of the sunset.  In a few more weeks, the temperature will confirm that spring is here, and the birds will rejoice, and the flowers will sing etcetera etcetera.

1965 Raleigh Deluxe Sport 3-Speed

What I’m getting most excited about is getting back on the bike for my morning commute. I currently ride a 1965 Raleigh Deluxe Sport 3-Speed. At the present time, the bike lacks anything that would infer that it is indeed Deluxe, or Sport. And, as of a few months ago, it lacks the 3-Speed. So needless to say, I’ve got some work I need to do if its going to carry its badge (and me) with honor. I’ve talked about this earlier and I still think the reason for my interest in fixing this ol’ boy up is the same: it reminds me of my days and long nights fixing my 56 Chevy. There’s gratification in seeing your work done, and seeing your work ‘work.’ The thought races across your brain that I can build something that ‘does something,’ in the most active sense of the phrase.¹

I also grew to immensely appreciate that the more time I spent working on my truck, the better I understood how it actually operated. I knew exactly what happened when I pushed down on the brake pedal and where the brake fluid flowed and how the calipers compressed. It’s the same feeling taking apart an internal 3 speed hub. Although its beginning to look more like a complicated watch to me.

Which is part of the reason this little bad-boy below me (Gary Fisher Simple City 3 Speed) is on my acquisition radar. It’s shiny, and new (which, who doesn’t like both of those adjectives, especially when combined together) and lighter. Soooo much lighter. Gotta love a good, solid bike – but at the end of the day, I don’t need any more 3 speed-less weight. And in my post-rationalization, self convincing way, having something I can truly use as a commuter will allow me to spend some much needed quality time doing a really thorough restoration job (my desire to get back to craft) on the Raleigh while still being able to commute to work each day.²

Gary Fisher Simple City 3

  1. I know that you could, and many have, refer to architecture as a ‘machine for living.’ But its not the same.
  2. Not gonna lie, riding to work each day kinda freaks me out. Am I gonna get sucked into the ‘culture?’ What if I only use the bike for cute little errands to the greenmarket and what not. Do I need spandex…or something a bit more tailored? Who knows. The only real reason these questions exist is to justify the use of footnotes and say that there will be an entry on the NYC bike culture coming up³. I’m on a bit of a David Foster Wallace kick right now.
  3. Which will be interesting since I have no direct impression of it what-so-ever. I see messengers, delivery guys, and the occasional hipster-fixie riding around, but really I’m an outsider looking in.

4 Comments

  1. Colette says

    I have this bike and love it… as an object… it’s design, and visual appeal… and it’s pleasure operated as transportation – light, fast and sure… here in the Pacific NW… Gary Fisher was bought out by Trek bicycles… this model discontinued… so it is a short production classic already.

  2. Colette says

    Never mind all that ‘bike culture’ jive… get your safety equipment, and pedal safe. I find cyclists all unite under the common non motor joy. There is no need to take a beautiful human athletic endeavor and ruin it with social hierarchy and the falsehood of ‘cool’…. like surfers did to their sport. Have fun, be nice, be careful… I’ve been an urban rider for many years… all weather… in my 50’s now… it is a great way to live. As a mature broad it gives me credibility with the youth out front of the market.

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