Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Bicycles Without Cars

For years I ran my Raleigh Refurbishing shop without a car. It was only after I had my daughter that I needed Auto Transportation.
I always loved cars. The first adult thing wanted was a knife and the second a car.
I remember when I was six years old a neighbor bought a Austin Healey 3000. It was a gold and it look had me hooked. I didn't know it was British, I just loved the way it looked.
After moving to Dover at age 9, I got into gas powered things. I learned at an early age that gas powered bicycles were a bad idea when after being stopped going 60 mph on Walpole street with my 2 stroke South Bend powered Mini Bike. It got taken away.
After crashing on a friends Honda 50, I went back to Bicycles. I hated dealing with the police when I went for a ride, so Powerless 2 wheelers were safer in all senses.

When it came time to cars, my older brother had already taken up all the space in the yard. He had 3. My favorite was a 1949 Crown Victoria. Beautiful. There was always an engine out in the garage or basement.
My Mom had grown up in a family of Car repair people and musisians. During the day they worked on cars and at night, a Swing Band. Its how my Mom and Dad met. It was nothing new to have banging coming from the basement. Music, cars and children was her life. It wouldn't be right unless some kind of Fine Touring Automobile wasn't parked near by. It was nothing to her even up to her last years of life to hop in a car and drive to Montreal or Williamsburg, VA.
I stuck to the Bicycles and started a collection of my own in a corner of the basement.

As years went on, it became a hard habit to break. Fixing bikes for others when the bike boom of the 70's hit was a easy way to make extra money. We always had a shop and with a lathe, grinding wheels and power machine tools it became easy to fix anything. If we didn't have, we made it.
The Dover Dump was a gold mine back then and still is. People with money throw good things out just for more space. The dump was a "University of knowledge" just waiting to be picked for free. Get it and take it apart, Throw it back if it cant be fixed. The best place in the world to shop! If it doesn't work out, simply return it.
The thought of asking for help with moving bikes with a car never crossed my mind. A bicycle trailer seemed as possible as a bicycle headlight as powerful as a car's. That was then and this is now.
Riding two bicycles at the same time was common. Everyone knew how to do it. The bicycles become a 4 wheeled vehicle and if anything happens, just let go.
My longest 2 bike ride to date was with a Raleigh I bought at International Bicycle in Allston and rode 10 miles to Wheelworks in Belmont. When I arrived, Clint saw me and asked, "Where's your helmet?" He didn't see anything strange about riding 2 bikes because he had done it too.
My favorite 2 bike ride was a ride from Chestnut hill Ave. in Brighton to International bicycle in Allston.
I had been hooked up to pilot a tandem with a blind cyclist by the name of Pam. The plan was to meet Pam at her house and bring her tandem to the street, get her on the bike and then along side, wheel my Custom Campagnolo equipped Fixed gear. We were going to the store, drop off my bike, ride the tandem out to Dover and be back by 12:00. She was going to drop off the tandem for repair and take a cab home. I would work the day and ride back to Dover afterwards.
We headed out for what was first down hill into a very busy intersection, turn right and then it would be mostly flat. As we started out down the hill I realized that the Scott Peterson Brakes did not work. No brakes on a tandem is not a good thing, But one handed with an expensive bike in hand is really a bad idea.
I called back to Pam, "You will hear a metallic scraping noise to your right that we will pass. Don't be alarmed, it will be my bicycle."
Pam asked, "Why"
I told her, "Because your tandem has no brakes!"
She said, "Oh ya, that"s why I'm bringing it in for repair."
We made it to the store and with a few adjustments, headed out for our ride safely.

Riding two bicycles after that day seemed easier. Never again did I Not check the brakes of the "Mother Ship" and never felt the need for a car when it came time to move a Bicycle.

1 comment:

  1. Funny, We saw a gal riding two bikes on Hampshire street this afternoon. It put a smile on our face!