Of Bikes and Men (wittco posted on December 11th, 2012 )

George & Lennie

… and then two bikes arrived at the rack and stood in the opening by the coffee shop. They were placed side-by-side beside the staple, and even in the light one was larger than the other. Both contained street wheels and handlebars with lights. Both were useful, purposeful bikes and both propelled their owners happily down the road. The first bike was small and quick, foldable frame, with slick detailing and precise, selected design. Every part of it was intentional: small, strong wheels, reduced frame, a classic and British design. Along side sat its opposite, a large bike, extended in design, with a large, front palled, with strong, reinforced frame; and it sat quietly, showing its strength a lot, the way a mule carries its cargo. It frame was not built for compactness, but for cargo.

While folding and cargo bikes may seem like they are on opposite ends of a spectrum, they are actually quite useful in conjunction. Perhaps, the spectrum is more like a circle, with the extreme ends touching. In this way, folding and cargo bikes are actually neighbors in design.

I have found that I do not need what is labeld a typical bike. I enjoy, and use greatly, my cargo bikes. However, there have been several times when I would like to have another bike, a folding bike: Amtrak, Trimet, for getting home after I drop off my cargo bike for a tune up, and short trips.

A folding bike on a cargo bike can lead to nearly limitless possibilities.

Throw in a trailer and I have my trifecta!

Steinbeck, John. Of Mice and Men. NY: Penguin Group, 1993.

6 Responses

  1. John Rezell says:

    Indeed, bikes are bikes. Imagine a future where everyone has a bike for every need. Wouldn’t that be nirvana! Very elegantly written, and a nice sentiment. However, I must point out that the folding bike is a Bike Friday, American design, Made in Oregon. Hand built-to-order.

  2. Craig Harlow says:

    Could you clue me in about the Steinbeck mention?

    • wittco says:

      Craig, I presume you are asking what in the post has to do with Steinbeck, or at least I will answer it that way. I may provide more than wanted.

      In Steinbeck’s novel, Of Mice and Men, there are two characters that travel together: George and Lennie. George is the smaller of the two. Lennie is big and strong.

      I saw this photo opportunity while drinking coffee at a cafe and took the photo. The folding bike is George and the cargo bike is Lennie.

      I took the first few paragraphs from the novel where these two characters are introduced and rewrote them to reflect the bike situation.

  3. Craig Harlow says:

    Got it, and I get it–thanks!

  4. loup arsons says:

    George and Lennie are, as a pair, one of the most difficult and heartrending of any of Steinbeck’s characters. And, I think, that in this case (Bullit and Bike Friday) it might be Lennie that’s offering all the support… and not a rabbit in sight.

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