Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Rivendell Question

Owning a Rivendell bicycle is a wonderful experience, not only because it's a great bike to ride, but also because it seems to draw the attention of ... well, everyone.  While my other bikes would occasionally get a "nice bike" or a wave, there's rarely a ride on the Hunqapillar during which someone doesn't stop to look at it and ask about it.  It is, indeed, a beautiful bike, and I certainly have no problem in talking about it with people.

People generally have very nice things to say.  Since everyone's different, it's fun for me to hear the different things that catch different eyes.  Sometimes it's the colors in the frame.  Sometimes it's the cool woolly mammoth headbadge.  Other times it's the bags and racks, or the fenders, or the handlebars and cork grips, etc.

There's one question, though, that seems universal whenever someone who is unfamiliar with Rivendell asks about my bike.  You Riv owners out there already know this question, and are already laughing.  It usually goes something like this:

"Wow ... cool bike.  How old is it?"

I get it ... really, I do.  You see, in our world filled with modern high-tech thick-tubed molded carbon fiber and aluminum bicycle frames, it's a rare sight to see one with skinny steel tubes connected with artistic lugs.  A classically-styled bicycle is ASSUMED to be old, especially one with fat tires, fenders, racks, and bags, ridden by a dude who's obviously not dressed for any kind of training or racing.

"It was built way back in November of 2011."  That's what I tell them.  They're always shocked, having expected me to tell them about how it was passed down to me by my great grandfather who brought it back from Austria during the war, loved it more than life itself, and kept it in perfect condition for the past 75 years ... or something like that.

Sometimes I sense a slight disappointment because I didn't have a better back story of the bike's special history.  More often, though, I find that people are happy to hear bikes like this are not only still being made, but also offered with the perfect mix of classic style and modern technology.

"That looks like pure joy to ride", said one man after looking it over.  

Exactly ... that's the whole point.  It was built to be enjoyed.  Great classic style never truly gets "old", especially when there's as much quality in the workmanship as in the style.  I'm looking forward to the day when someone asks me how old it is, and I can tell them this:

"It was built way back in 2011 ... that was more than 30 years ago now, but I've been riding it ever since ... and it's still going strong ... somebody else will be riding it after I'm gone, I'll bet ..."

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