Over the summer my signature cargo bike reached the end of its decade-long lifespan with a cracked frame and a bent tube. You may have seen it parked outside of Vilas Hall, wondering “Who puts plastic leaves all over their bicycle?” (As the Budget Bicycle Center wrenchers once informed me, “It’s good camouflage.”) With the skateboard flatbed and the rear stoker handlebar, it was a great bike for carrying my kids when they were both in grade school, although strangely almost every time I offered to transport an adult colleague around campus, they declined. Who wouldn’t want to ride on this lovely machine:
Anyway, time to move on. I still need a bicycle to get around campus with. I still need to carry lots of crap between my two offices on campus, up and down Park Street between Vilas Hall (SJMC) and Helen C. White (SLIS). I still need to be able to bring home a few six-packs of Wisconsin microbrew from the local food co-op. And I still want people to know that I’m lurking about by recognizing my bicycle. So here we go:
OK, it’s not a “longtail” like my Bianchi/Xtracycle hybrid monster was; it’s a pretty ordinary Fuji hybrid city bike. But with both front and rear racks and bags, it has roughly the same carrying capacity. With my old Brooks saddle and tin horn, it starts to feel like the same bicycle. And without the extra pounds of steel and wood, it actually goes faster than three miles per hour, which is somewhat addictive. It sort of takes me back, too, because it’s pretty close to the same model bike that I rode in the early 1990s when I first graduated from college and lived in Chicago. And the color goes well with fall leaves. So it will do just fine for now.
Stay tuned for holiday lights once the whole Daylight Savings Time thing switches over.