Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Daily Driver

I see this bike every day on the way home from Maddie's preschool. I was a bit early today in picking her up, so I stopped and took a cell-phone-photo.

The bike is an old AMC single speed. I really am a sucker for the cantilevered frame. It's just such a nice, sensible, classic look. This bike seems typical of most cantilevered frames: stamped dropouts, cool stacked-plate fork crown, generally cheap steel components. Looks comfy though. It seems longer than most of the cantilevered framed bikes I've seen, but maybe that's just an illusion. I like the steel fenders and the chain guard too.

I've watched this bike sit in the elements now for just about a year. It's not moved. It's just slowly dying. In the past, I've attempted to liberate bikes from these types of situations. A few weeks ago I saw an old Schwinn Varsity in a junk pile. I don't like Varsitys at all, but a lot of folks come to me for bikes and if nothing else, it could make a cheap fixed gear for someone to play around on. I left a note on the door of the house that said something like, "if this is going to the landfill, I'll take it and give it a home. Call me..." No response on that one.

I really don't want to buy bikes like this -- I don't want to give anyone money for them. Even though this bike has sat out for the last year, I fear human nature is such that if I went knocking on the guy's door and and inquired, the bike would become much more valuable to the owner. What is now a bike rusting slowing in a heap of junk will become a "classic" or "vintage" ride. I just want it to ride it. I want to pump up the tires and see what it's like to coast down a long gentle hill on this long wheel based-beauty. I don't want to sell it.

It was basically a department store bike back in its day. It was one level above junk or toy status, and now it's just an old junk-toy bike. It's not a valuable bike in monetary terms. But it's worth riding and liberating from the junk heap. After I rode it for a while, I'd throw a basket or a rack on it and give it to just the right person.

With the fenders and the ability to carry stuff, you've got a perfect daily driver for someone who lives downtown, in the Valley, or in Brown's Addition where hills are not an issue.

1 comment:

KCJeff said...

I completely understand. I drove and rode by an abandoned English-built Huffy for a month, until I finally took it home and cleaned it up, replaced the tires, got the 3-speed S/A hub working before I found that the seat tube had been cut short through the collar. I was able to use the new tires for another project. The fenders will go on something else. I just hate to see a bike go into the landfill.