Thursday, September 21, 2006

Requiem for a Rambouillet

I realize it’s silly to be so sad over the loss of an inanimate object, but I still can’t help mourning the theft of the Rambouillet.

I think I’m through the denial phase of the grieving process and am now into the bargaining stage: I have this idea that by organizing the Patchkit Alleycat, and in doing so, giving back generously to the local cycling community, I will thereby appease the Cycling Gods so that they, in their infinite wisdom and power, will see to it that my beloved bike is returned.

I don’t just miss the physical object (although those beautiful curly orange lugs still haunt my dreams); it’s also that the tangible expression of memories and meaning is no longer in my bicycle stable.

Buying the Rambouillet was my treat to myself for getting the fulltime teaching job at Cascadia: a grown-up bike for a grown-up career.

Building it entailed acquiring parts from nearly every bikeshop in Seattle: cranks from R&E, pedals from BikeWorks, shifter pods from Recycled, bars from Free Range, seatpost from the late great BikeSmith; I even effected a rapprochement with the much-maligned Gregg’s in purchasing cables and housing.

And I recall rides: Flying around and around my block, in single-speed mode, slightly drunk, the day I got the frame. The first long ride I took, south to Kent, with fellow-Rivendell rider, Dan Boxer. Climbing the ski basin road all the way to the top, last summer in Santa Fe. An early Sunday morning wake n’ bake ride this June in Seattle on which I figured out secrets of the Universe which now escape me. Countless rides home from school in all weathers to see Jen and Mimi.

And the pride I felt when my then three and a half year-old daughter spoke her first word of French: “Rambouillet.”

So yeah, I care way too much about the bike, but it’s also certain that whoever has it now doesn’t care nearly enough.


Anonymous Andy said...

Oh I can truly imagine the feeling about losing that ride, brother. Our relationships with these beautiful pieces of metal are curiously intimate.

My bike is over ten years old, not particularly beautiful the way yours was, but it has carried me thousands of miles on so many voyages of discovery, internal and external.

On the other hand, all the memories are not locked in the stell but in our minds, fortunately.

Sympathy and empathy,

11:17 PM  

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