Jewish World Review August 19, 2003 / 22 Menachem-Av, 5763

Lori Borgman

Lori Borgman
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Consumer Reports

Easy (bike) rider | If you heard that my bicycle is old, you heard correctly. If my bicycle was a car, it would be a Model-T. If my bicycle were a horse, it would be at a glue factory.

My old bicycle needed a few repairs. I decided to take it to a bike shop as opposed to a glue factory.

The bike and I were accompanied by my husband who questioned the wisdom of going to a repair shop that also sells new bikes since my bike is out-of-style, rickety and, as he introduced it to the repair guy, "a clunker."

The repair guy tilted his head, looked at my bike and circled it slowly. The repair guy stroked his chin, tilted his head in the opposite direction and circled the bike again. I looked at the very young repair guy and wondered if perhaps I had once given him a ride around the block in the kiddie seat that used to sit on the back of my clunker. I considered circling him, but decided against it.

After a lengthy silence, the repair guy spoke,"Yeah, we sometimes work on these. We have to order parts though; we don't keep them around."

It could be my imagination, or the fact that I can be defensive when someone doesn't warm to Old Blue, but I think he said it with a smirk.

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"Maybe we shouldn't leave the bike," I whispered to my husband. "I don't think he respects it."

"He doesn't have to respect it, he just has to fix it."

"What if he fences it and we see it appraised on Antiques Road Show?"

" Believe me, he has no interest in your bike."

"My point exactly!" I said.

We left the bike, although I was uneasy about leaving something so expensive with a total stranger. What's the dollar value of the bike, you ask? My best guess would be priceless.

The bike has a rich history. It originally came from a neighbor who had pedaled her own kids through the subdivision in a kiddie seat. She passed Old Blue on to me once her three boys left her in their dust on scooters, 10-speeds and skateboards.

For years our family would go on evening bike rides, the oldest two on their little bikes, hubby on his and me on my bike with the baby in the kiddie seat.

These were relaxing times when we wheeled along the streets, my husband yelling at the children, "LOOK OUT FOR THE PARKED CAR? ARE YOU AWAKE?" or, "DON'T RIDE OVER THE SEWER GRATE!"

The bike is also valuable because it has a basket. These days, my kids inform me the basket is a major embarrassment. They say it gives the bike that certain witch from Oz touch. Funny, they didn't mind the basket holding their jackets and water bottles when they were young.

The most exquisite aspect of the bike, however, is that you don't have to hunch down low and dislocate six vertebrae to ride it. You also don't have to wear those ridiculous bike shorts to ride. This is a good thing, because, in my humble opinion, nobody looks good in bike shorts.

I'm not ashamed of my old bike and I'm glad we got it repaired. The little dog I'm going to get one day to ride in the basket (yes, of course, I'll name him Toto) is going to like it, too. What's more, I know that deep down my old bike is the secret envy of my children.

They're just riding a block behind me because they can't keep up with this fancy 3-speed.

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JWR contributor Lori Borgman is the author of I Was a Better Mother Before I Had Kids. To comment, please click here. To visit her website click here.

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© 2001, Lori Borgman