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The Though Kitchen - Dedicated to Stirring the Pot

This is my (ode to my) bike: #6 in a series

Posted by Eugénie | June 25th, 2009 | Filed under Personal Reflection, Who We Are


Dearest, darling Univega,

Oh how I heart thee. Heart. As in LOVE. Love with all my heart.

Will you be my summer fling? I need you to be my summer fling.

You rocked me the moment we met. Do you remember that day? Almost three weeks ago? In the back of that garage, behind the house of a man called Duane. I took you for a test ride…too many gears, not a great saddle, sticky tacky rubbery grips…but Oh! the potential.

I knew you had it in you. The steel mixte frame, in a cool metallic blue. Just enough wabi-sabi scrapes and dings to know you’ve lived a full life so far. And you were made in Japan! My sources tell me that it’s better that you were made in Japan.

And now. Oh the transformation. Who could possibly say cosmetic surgery is an extravagance when it can yield such glistening perfection? Gone are the gears; with your 42:18 ratio you now ride like a song. Au revoir black squishy saddle, the Brooks props me up with a firm resolve. And your touch…the caress of your new cork grips against the heel of my hand gives me goosebumps. Truly! Even when it rains.

Yes, Univega. This is our time. Me. And you. This might just be the summer of our lives. Nevermind the eye rolling and mock-vomiting of my friends, they’ll get used to my unfettered expression of our love. Nevermind the evil eye of the Bianchi, who now sits neglected in the corner. She’ll get used to it. We can do this as a team! A team of three! Haven’t you ever seen Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona?

I am in love. May this fluttery feeling in my heart never die. May the smile on my face as we ride through the city never fade, not even when the bugs get stuck in my teeth. Not even when my skirt flips up immodestly. Not even, Univega, when this summer nears its end, and I may need to tuck you away – temporarily! – for the Bianchi, who has fenders.

Love. LOVE, Univega. As in heart. You have my heart.

Let us ride.


5 Responses to “This is my (ode to my) bike: #6 in a series”

  • June 29, 2009 at 1:07 pm | libby says


  • July 6, 2009 at 3:00 pm | Caitlin says

    Did you take your lovely bicyclette to France?

  • July 7, 2009 at 1:53 pm | Kendra says

    I love the make over! I have a love of my own. A 1970 brown schwinn with a basket. Oh, don’t get me started. But she hasn’t had a make over so she still has her “quirks” of squeaky, unsure breaks and only one gear of 3 that work. How do I find a bike shop that can bring out her best qualities like you did with yours? Thanks for the inspiration!

  • July 8, 2009 at 10:18 am | eugénie says

    Hi Kendra,

    Glad you can see the potential in your Schwinn, that’s half the battle.

    As for finding the best bike shop for you, well, a lot of that depends on where you are. Here in Portland we’re blessed with some crazy statistic like 80+ bike shops within the greater metropolitan area, so we have a lot of options, and myriad opportunities to support local business (which is ideal).

    The thing you want to know before diving into this is exactly what you want out of the bike. If you can describe that to your bike shop, they can help you find the pieces that together will build your perfect ride.

    You can probably tell whether a shop’s going to meet your needs the moment you walk in. Is their taste your taste? Are you comfortable, or are you getting vibed by bike know-it-alls? (I’ve experienced both.)

    For the Univega’s makeover I went to Clever Cycles (www.clevercycles.com), in SE Portland. They err on the side of a total bike lifestyle (rather than bikes as recreation), so they stock products that are comfortable, timeless, and meant to last. And their taste tends to be my taste, so it worked out.

    The last thing that will help is also the thing that got me started on all this – word of mouth. Put it out there, that you’re after new parts for your cool old Schwinn, and suggestions and anecdotes from other bike makeover veterans will surely come your way.

    Good luck – let us know how it turns out!


  • [...] been wearing a pink hard hat. Anyway, we’ve been doing series of posts here called “This Is My Bike” for a while now, and what I loved about that was how it showed how bikes can be a reflection [...]

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