Shifting gears from another era | AspenTimes.com

Shifting gears from another era

Janet Urquhart

“I can’t sell that.”The guy at the local sports-equipment resale shop offered that pronouncement after one look at my road bike.”What if you put a ‘free’ sign on it?” I responded, desperate to unload the bike, altruistically or otherwise, to uphold a bargain I made with myself. I vowed I wouldn’t shop for a new road bike until I’d rid myself of the old one, so as not to wind up keeping three bicycles in my apartment (I also park a mountain bike there).As it is, I sort of cheated, putting down money on a new bike before the old one belonged to someone else. At least it was out of my residence.Anyway, I was told no one would buy a bicycle that had just two chain rings in front. C’mon, it wasn’t that long ago that nobody had more than two chain rings in front. I’ve been most of the way up Independence Pass on that 12-speed, and I’m in my 40s. Somebody can’t use it as a perfectly adequate town bike, even if it’s not Tour de France-worthy?It’s amazing what people think they can’t live without, though it hasn’t existed for most of humankind’s existence. Whatever did we do before the microwave or the digital everything?Anyway, the $30 price tag apparently made my old ride a steal despite its shortcomings, and somebody snapped it up. Since I have to split it with the shop, I get $15, which probably wouldn’t cover the price of a decal on my new bike.I’ll be looking for the ol’ bike around town and hope it’s treated lovingly. It was a good bike for it’s day – a true collector’s item, if only anyone collected them. I’ll recognize that black and red Motobecane SuperMirage with the hand-stitched black leather grips anywhere, so the new owner better not let me catch him or her treating it shabbily.I actually suffered a moment of reluctance as I pulled into the shop’s parking lot in one of the few functional gears on the old bike. I proceeded to dismount as I always did – with care not to damage myself on the crossbar of a frame that was too big for me the day I bought what was really a man’s bike. Still, that bicycle was one of my oldest possessions and had taken me many places. I gave it a little pat when no one was looking.I’m not sure where my new bike will take me except, perhaps, over the handlebars the first time I hit those tight, sure brakes. Shifting gears from 25-year-old technology to a new model won’t be easy either. The shift levers on my old road bike were down on the frame; I wasn’t sure how to shift the first time I tried out one of these new-fangled jobs. I came back from a test ride without ever shifting and had to break down and ask the bike shop guy for some instruction.Well, I may not look particularly proficient, but at least the bike will look good. It’s a cool blue, ordered because I balked at the silver one with pink accents. Pink? Why not just add some of those sparkly streamers coming out of the handlebars and a flowery basket on the front.It’s one thing to own a woman’s bike, but the only pink I want to see will accompany my road rash.Janet Urquhart wonders when she’ll get to ride her new bike now that winter is setting in. Her e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com

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