Archive Post from May 30th, 2020
What I am learning, is that every bike has a story to tell. If you slow down a bit, put down your phone and pay attention, the bike will be happy to share it with you. If you don’t, the bike doesn’t care, it has no ego, it will be there when/if you do. Or not. Bikes by their very nature are transitory if properly engaged. And someone else may engage it properly. But if you do stop and visit a while you will be the better for it. Maybe the story will be selfless, about it's rider; or it could be an origin story telling you how it came to be; perhaps a Hero's journey complete with harrowing abduction and redemption; an epilogue of abandonment after crippling abuse; or even an eulogy that recounts a tragic final crash. Or, it could be as simple as recalling that day’s happy trip to school. Working at the Re-Cyclery, I have heard a bunch of these stories and look forward to hearing more. I just have to remember to slow down a bit. This pandemic is forcing me, all of us, to slow down.
I think the stories are why so many people hold on to unridden bikes. I know I do.
You might dedicate space in a garage where it will be comfortable. The bike becomes a welcome guest, so to speak, that recalls the same, good story that never fails to entertain you. Every now and then while you're just going about your business, you'll catch a glimpse of it, like seeing a friend you haven’t seen in a while. Maybe the garage is like a crowded cocktail party where you bump into each other as you shimmy by on your way to catch up with someone else. You smile genuinely or a little sheepishly, depending on how you last parted. You can ignore a little dust and slightly sagging tires, greet it with a “You look great! You haven’t aged a day”, hoping the same can be said of you. “It’s been too long we should get together, soon.” “Yes, let’s.”
Sometimes, your welcome guest becomes an inconvenience to someone else. “Other People” in your life may have other guests with stories of their own, whom “Other People” would like to welcome over for an extended visit. Or maybe, “Other People” are just not as socially inclined as you. Sharing space can be a touchy thing. In the interest of domestic tranquility it becomes obvious that you must have a serious conversation with your long-time pal.
“Hey, what’s up? I was just thinking about that time we were on vacation. That trip to the San Juan Islands, remember? We should do something like that again.”
“Yeah, that’s kinda’ what I came here to talk to you about. I don’t think that’s going to happen. ‘Other People’ and I have been talking about you and me. And we think it’s time for you to maybe find a new place. I still think you’re great. It’s just maybe that time. We haven’t gone out together in years. I’ve totally ignored you. You deserve better. You deserve someone who’ll be excited to see you and want to spend time with you.Really, it’s the best thing for all of us.”
“Wow. This is comin’ outta’ nowhere. I thought we were solid. We had a good thing going here. Where will I go? What’ll I do? You can’t just dump me on the streets! Or worse, pimp me out to some stranger on Craigslist."
“C’mon, that’s not fair, you know I would never do that to you. ‘Other People’ and I have given that some serious thought. It’s not like we’re heartless. We truly want the best for you. We found a place. It’s perfect. It’s called the Re-Cyclery. You know it. I’ve talked about it before. I used to go there to buy you things. You always liked it. It’s great. Well, it turns out that the Re-Cyclery is not a regular store. Its purpose is to save bikes like you. They take you in fix you up and introduce you to the right people. It’s kind of a matchmaking service for bikes of all ages, not just those flashy new things about town. They get you back in the game. Your part is showing up, the fee gets paid by the person who wants to incorporate you into their life. You’ll be new to each other. Discovering everything together for your first times. And the whole service is set up to get more kids on bikes! Spreading the love. Look, I know it’s going to be hard on both of us in the beginning but you know it’s the right thing to do. . Who knows, maybe in the future we’ll bump into each other. I know I’ll smile if we do. Come on, let’s go over there right now. One last trip together.”
It really is for the best. Bring the Re-Cyclery your unused but good condition bike or equipment, even clothing. We’ll pair it up with someone who will love it as much as you did. All the proceeds go to support Trips for Kids Marin Programs.