Wednesday, April 30, 2014

What's wrong with this picture?

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3-speed bicycle made in England in 1972, rebuilt lovingly many years later in New England by Ken Skier, the Running Photographer.  #RunwithKen


Please don't point out that the bike
is so ugly it hurts your eyes just to look at it.

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.
Nothing worked.

It clearly belonged at the bottom of a junk pile.

But when I touched it I felt...
life.

I heard a small voice, pleading:

Fix me.
Ride me.

(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.

Can you spot it?


Copyright (c) 2014 by Ken Skier

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