Saturday, December 4, 2010

Bike trail kindness... and cool bikes

I was riding along on a sometimes-rainy, gray afternoon today thinking of how nice it would be to have a cup of coffee.  Seconds later, I came upon a small group of folks gathered where the bike trail meets C Street.  One of them called out to me, "Would you like a cup of coffee?"

Weird, huh?  The effect was disarming.  I stopped immediately and accepted the offer.  When coincidences are that striking, it's best not to pass them up, I've found.  Not long ago, I was walking down the street thoroughly annoyed at an unusually large collection of change in my front pocket.  It felt like carrying a set of janitor's keys.  "I've got to get rid of this before it drives me crazy," I thought.  One half-second later, one of the K Street crew asked me, "Do you have any spare change?"  His problem and mine were solved instantly.

But back to the bike trail.  My coffee donors were from Sacramento Area Bike Advocates.  They were completing a four-hour stint cleaning the brush and weeds along the bike trail and had leftover coffee that had been on hand for the volunteers.  This is the same stretch of trail where I habitually harvest four o'clock seeds to diversify my garden, but that's another story.

Ryan and Morgan were among the volunteers, and each was riding a truly awesome bike.  First Ryan's:

It's a 1983 Raleigh Competition.  It's mostly original and in beautiful condition.  Ryan let me take it for a spin and it rides and shifts beautifully.

Morgan's bike was a truly unique find.  It's a 1960s Welser Markenrad. German (or maybe Austrian), I assume, but I can't find anything on line under that name.  It's a gorgeous swan-style loop frame offset by a  vintage Brooks B67.  It features a rod-operated front brake that forces a pad directly onto the top of the tire.  I've read about this on vintage Flying Pigeons before, but this was the first time I'd seen it in person.  Morgan's evaluation of its effectiveness is in keeping with everything I've read before... it doesn't do a lot to stop the bike.  But it's very cool to look at.

Two very cool bikes and two delightful people.  Encounters like today's make me feel that I live in a pretty cool bike town and that our "bike culture," to use a term that usually makes me cringe, is a very pleasant one.

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