Slowly, though, I started to find evidence that I wasn't alone in my appreciation of beautifully designed bikes or in my belief that riding should be, first of all, fun. First one site, then another... some extolling the virtues of vintage three-speeds, others celebrating the timeless beauty of the Brooks Saddle.
But the best discovery of all was a site called EcoVelo. (check it out here) Its creator talked about bikes in a non-judgmental, non-preachy way. Comments and discussion were civilized. There seemed to be room and respect for casual dawdlers and racers alike. And his bikes! Beautiful bikes... lugged, steel frames, thoughtfully designed and expertly photographed. His product reviews were informative and unpretentious. The bikes in his fleet are expensive, but there wasn't a trace of snobbishness in his descriptions of them. Genuine enthusiasm is contagious and each visit to EcoVelo found me thinking of a new way to accessorize -- or simply appreciate -- my growing herd of bikes.
As I read more entries and saw more photos, it started to dawn on me that the creator of EcoVelo rode the same bike trail I ride -- EcoVelo was local! Then, in a stroke of luck, I met him and his lovely wife at the Tweed Ride. Recognizing the his-and-her Pashleys, I approached as one might approach a rock star.
"I never got to meet Springsteen, but I always imagined if I did, he'd be gracious, patient with my gushing praise and willing to chat about what we both liked in his songs."
I never got to meet Springsteen, but I always imagined if I did, he'd be gracious, patient with my gushing praise and willing to chat about what we both liked in his songs. So it was with Alan, Mr. EcoVelo. He and Mrs. EcoVelo, Michael, indulged me in a lengthy chat about my bikes, their bikes, my collarbone, you name it.
Better still, Alan works a few blocks from my office and agreed to meet for lunch. We did so today, and I learned more in an hour than I would have in a month on my own. Here's to a genuinely good fella, and a great ambassador for cycling.
Do check out EcoVelo. You'll see remarkable bikes, excellent photography and informed perspective... and pretty much everything from my Christmas wish list.