27
Sep 2006
by mark

The Story of the Golden Bicycle

Photo of a very different golden bike With the sun rising in the distance, I found myself staring at a golden bicycle, abandoned by a dumpster. I’m not talking about a standard golden paint job. This was an all-over, no holds barred spray paint job. The seat was golden. The tires were golden. The water bottle cage was golden.

I stood there contemplating it, awestruck and contemplating it’s story. Was this an Earlham “Community” bike, a re-habbed free ride, intentionally ugly to avoid theft? Perhaps it was stolen, painted gold to mask it’s true identity. Or It could have been an art project. One last golden hurrah before the junk pile.

“Yeah, dat bike hus been there like dat awl week. You cun have it if ya want it.”

A man in a pickup had pulled up nearby.

“OK. Thanks. I’ll take it.”

Pulled out of my reverie, I began to notice details about the condition of the bike. For example, when I picked it up, the front wheel didn’t come with it. Both tires were flat and front one was had some broken spokes, which clanked as wheel went around. The chain was missing altogether. The seat was loose.

Still, I carefully placed the front fork over the detached wheel, and proceeded to push the bicycle away.

I dreamed of starting a Community Bike Project, like Bloomington, Indiana has. They take donations of junk bikes, fix them up and give back away. They offer low cost bike maintenance work shops. I thought of Kurt, who already has more bicycles in his garage than people in his house. Would he want another? The alloy frame tubing might be perfect for his next motorcycle welding project.

I looked at the bottle cage again, and thought about how at least it was functioning and worth something. I was reminded of how my local bike shop had only been stocking these “Tour de France winning bottle cages”, which had a little emblem on them, and cost $11 each.

I thought, I don’t need an $11 Tour-de-France-winning water bottle cage. I just need something to hold my damn water bottle in place so it doesn’t fall out. Now I had just such a bottle cage in my possession. While it lacked an emblem, it made up for it a first-place golden spray paint job.


So, I sent this story of a golden bicycle out to a few friends. Little did I know one would write back with the prequel:

From: Kurt
A little history on the golden bike:
I bought it about eight months ago at a yard sale, 3 bikes for 5 bucks. this one was the pick of the litter. The other ones were for parts. about 7.50 later, a cable maybe, and an inner tube, I gave the bike to Jeremy. He rode it awhile, it got kicked around at that apartment on 12th street. It survived. It was a bit small for him, so we gave it to his little brother, Tony. Tony went on a bike outing to the card shop (for pokemon cards), in the Wal-mart plaza. He was with Turner, Jeremy, and Bennett. They all walked back with mud so thick on their bikes that they wouldn’t shift gears. All except Tony, who didn’t have a bike. It got a flat tire, and they assumed that Kurt would just drop everything he was doing and drive up and get it, after which Kurt informed them that, if someone had just given him a working bike, and it got a flat tire a mile from home, he would walk the bike home and fix it. After all, it’s a working bike, right?

I never went back for the bike. The gold bike. I don’t know exactly where Tony abandoned it, but I’m never giving him another bike.
Kurt

Followed quickly by:

From: Kurt
Bennett and Jeremy painted it. I was aghast, and insisted that they use it that way. Which they did, for a little while.

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