Monday, December 29, 2008

THE GIFT OF A BICYCLE

One of the great American traditions is a bike for Christmas or a birthday

GIFT ON WHEELS. A bicycle for Christmas is one of the great gift traditions in America. I'm not sure how that tradition is holding up in these days of video gaming, but I saw a few bikes going out the doors of some big-box stores in the run up to Christmas. I wonder how the bike shops fared? They carry the better (and best value) bikes that last longer and are more serviceable. But more folks buy bikes at Wal-Mart because they're more affordable (in the short run, at least).

BIRTHDAY BIKES. Birthdays are the other big day for bicycle gifts. The two bikes I rode as a child were birthday presents. My first bike was a sting-ray style bike from Sears on my sixth birthday. It was red with a white banana seat and easy-rider style handlebars. After it was stolen for the third or fourth time, I received an AMF Roadmaster--a bike I dubbed "The Green Ghost"--for my tenth birthday. I spent many happy hours on these gift bikes.

BIKING HOME THE TREE. I laughed at this photo that is posted on Copenhagen Cycle Chic blog--a site that's got to be the most creative and compelling site for advocating stylish bicycle commuting on the Internet. The photo combines cycling with another great tradition--bringing home the Christmas tree! I've got to do this sometime!

BIKE GEAR FOR CHRISTMAS. My Christmases usually include bike gear. My loved ones have learned that bicycling gear gifts are my most cherished. This year, I received lightweight polycarbonate fenders from Planet Bike. I requested these to mount on my black touring Cannondale, which I'm morphing into a commuter bike. This is the bike I rode through India and now, with shiny black fenders, it looks more like an Indian Atlas, Hercules or Hero than ever (albeit about 20 pounds lighter!). "Not cool," my 15-year-old son says. "Cool" is my stripped-down blue Cannondale that's mounted on an indoor Cyclops trainer for the winter. "Functional" is "Little Black" (the first bike I've named since "The Green Ghost") that will be on the streets every possible day--rain, snow or shine.

In the spirit of dialog, I welcome comments and/or questions. Click on "responses" below to post. They're moderated only to reduce incivility. Shalom!

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Your tasteful comments and/or questions are welcome. Posts are moderated only to reduce a few instances of incivility.