Friday
Dec252009

« Use The Force, Luke »

luke likes the bike i gave him. looking a lot more fit than when he started.Luke Williams on the nearly totally rebuilt bike I gave himBikes have played a more active role in this Christmas than they have since maybe 20 years ago or more. In another posting, you can read about my crazy zipping back and forth from one church to the other on Christmas Eve, all in the name of making my churchgoing a decidedly intentional thing. But that aint all...

This year I bought two bikes. Both are single speeds, and now both are fixed gear only. I've made my peace with riding all over this town with just one gear so that rendered my older and much-rebuilt 21 speed bike nearly unused. That was the one that has at various times had its back wheel stolen and replaced, replaced again to put something better on once the replacement was found to be a disaster, and then more recently, to replace a stolen saddle and seat post and a rusted chain. That second wave of stolen parts was as a result of my attempt to be generous to someone at work who I guess hadn't a clue about keeping a bike secure. She at least paid me back so I got some replacement stuff on there, and all was good.

But remember that that bike was the one that not only replaced the stolen parts, but was also my project bike when I decided to start commuting last year. Most everything has been replaced on it: all the drivetrain including the rear wheel, derailers, chain, crankset, cassette, shifters; the stem and handlebars; seat posts (a total of four now—original with a faulty suspension spring, basic replacement, replacement with integrated saddle mount, and then the replacement for that one) saddles (four of those also—original, first replacement found to be too spongy, the stolen Selle, and a replacement); tires and tubes; rack. (I think that was all.) Basically the bike was made new by all that stuff being put together a year ago. I figure I must have spent $600 on rebuilding what was originally a $300 bike.

And which became sort of an unneeded item, and frankly, one which didn't fit well in the house. I rode it for one big ride up Soledad Mountain and found it was, despite the gears, heavier and harder to ride than my other bikes which have one gear each. For some general use it rode like a dream, but after such extensive single speed use, it was an odd one out. I weighed trying to sell it on Craigslist for some insulting price that would hardly recognize the extensive reconstruction, even if it resulted in a very nice running bike that runs quite smooth and solid now.

I had one person in mind that I was going to give it to, sensing that maybe he'd like it, but that idea died quickly. So I let it out to the girl from work, hoping she might buy it after such a period of getting to grow into it. After getting it back after the month was up, I hardly mentioned bikes to her again because I had that queasy feeling while buying more parts to a bike I thought I was done spending money on. By that time though I had another idea.

Luke, the pastoral intern at church, is doing roughly the same thing as Kelli once did while in that role a few years ago. He's taken part in the young adults group, and he expressed some interest in bikes once he saw me commuting around. I told him I'd let him use my bike if he wanted, once I got it back from Miss A. who apparently left it at the beach or something. It took a couple of weeks to really do the handover but when I brought it to church, Luke obligingly went to the bike shop with me and we got a lock and cable for him, some lights, and another church member, Marla, ever the bike-evangelist, got him a helmet. So there he was, all geared up for kicking around, biking in to church sometimes, or whatever. He was nice enough to send a card a few days later, thanking me for the gesture. I started to get this idea that maybe I found my lucky winner.

my card to accompany the bike upon gifting it to him. the most ridiculous image of Darth Vader's head upon a body of a man doing a pedaling motion with his hands. and a christmas tree.Hey, it was something I threw together in an hour or two. I couldn't resist the model of a man who always wore his helmet!

Christmas makes a good excuse to give a bike to someone. I have given bikes away to people before, but usually not the ones that I've essentially paid for a second and third time! But one of the lessons of the last few years has been to be generous from one's abundance, and right now, bikes are a bit overabundant here! I've had in mind to sell the thing. I could use the money, maybe to get Kelli a better bike so she might get into it. But I rather enjoy the idea of just giving it away, and practicing unattachment. So, I told just a few people about it then set about making a poster-card.

I printed the thing at a CVS and wrote a letter explaining the thing and thanking him for his service at the church. I tucked it into a normal envelope and gave it to him at the Christmas Eve service. Still haven't heard what followed, but I know his family is in town for the holiday. That ought to have been a surprise! It was the only present I gave anyone this year.

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