I woke up in a humid motel room. Not New Orleans or New Delhi humid, but that Pacific Northwest, salty, cedar-filled humidity. We were on the Oregon coast without a single care or plan. Our group is diverse — artists, mostly, the creative types who tend to see the world through hues and lines and notes, rather than topo maps of mountain bike trails.
I knew this trip was not about biking. I didn’t think the word bike would even enter the conversation. But this morning, it did, and we found ourselves cruising the streets with wheels beneath our feet.
The motel offered us their cruiser bikes to get around town. I had seen them the evening before, those neon orange, wide-seated touristy bikes. It seemed great, but when we walked over in the morning, the completely booked motel must have already sent out the good ones; what remained looked like they had been in that bike rack since the city was established in 1899.
They were missing pedals and springs in the seat and occasional spokes; there were flat tires, chains completely rusted onto the chain ring; handlebars you could rotate up into chopper bars … the whole spectrum of disarray. One was so far beyond repair that the next best option was a BMX bike with pegs. They were not shiny orange with flower decals, but, instead, the corrosive palate of brown. We loved them.
Despite a broken pedal smacking me in the shin each stroke, a seat (permanently) angled just enough to tweak my lower back, a rattle in the bowels of the bottom bracket and cracked sidewalls that questioned my faith in the machine to make it to the coffee shop, it was still biking, and it was glorious.
Our little gang of misfits cruised the streets…
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