Trash Bike

It's not really a trash bike as such but a noble steed that I rescued from the trash. I spotted this huge pile of trash left in the driveway when some people moved, and it was waiting for the trash tuck to come along and haul it away. Atop that pile of waste from a use and dispose society, a black bike caught my eye. Since the moving van had come and gone and the pile was there for anyone who wished to browse through it, I rescued the bike and took it home.

It was a true ten-speed with shifters on the stem and those goofy brake handles euphemistically known as "Safety Brakes". It was born in a day when tires were measured in inches, gears didn't click and bikes had a real head badge and not just a decal. Its heritage wasn't as fancy as its French and Italian cousins but at least it came from better breeding than a company whose major product is a machine that mows grass.

Like a man of the cloth who sets out to save a wayward woman, I undertook the salvation of the bike. Bearings were cleaned and packed, new tires went on the rims and the wheels were tweaked to a true line. As a final touch, it was dressed with gaudy yellow handlebar wrap. The Schwinn World was as mechanically sound and aesthetically pleasing as when it was born over 20 years ago.

In answer to my wife's question, "Why do you need another bike?" all I could say was it reminded me of a puppy struggling in a stream. I couldn't leave it to be packed, transported and dumped to suck its last breaths of methane gas deep in a landfill. No bike should meet such an ignoble end. I'll keep it around for an occasional donut ride, to loan to someone who has no bike or just to look at.


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Copyright 2000 by Jim Foreman