It is painfully ugly by design.
This is my beater bike.
Thirty-five years ago,
I rescued it from the bottom of a big pile of junk.
The wheels wouldn't turn.
The seat wobbled like a drunken sailor.
It clearly belonged at the bottom of a junk pile.
But when I touched it I felt...
I heard a small voice, pleading:
(Call it a weakness, but I believe that,
just as all babies are beautiful,
all bikes are beautiful.)
When it was young,
that frozen pile of rusted metal
had been a bike.
Back then, it rolled silently on wheels that were true
and carried its rider safely for miles.
Someone had mistreated it and discarded it,
but it had been a bike once.
As I lifted it by the top tube and felt
the faint spark still beating in that frame,
I knew it would be a bike again.
And I would ride it.
I replaced the front wheel.
I built a new rear wheel by hand,
from quality spokes, rim, and hub.
I replaced the crankset, handlebars, seat and seatpost.
(And of course the chain, brake pads and all cables.)
With steel wool and elbow grease I removed all rust
from the frame and fork. I applied clear nail polish,
and waxed the frame to protect it from the elements.
But I never painted the bike.
I knew most people would see it as
an old, rusty piece of junk.
And that was just fine with me!
I could ride into the city,
and lock it up just about anywhere.
No bike thief would touch it!
(What bike thief would want
an old, rusty piece of junk?)
So I know this bike strikes you as ugly.
But that's not what's wrong with this picture.
Today I added something to my bike,
but I made a small mistake.