I park my bike in the hall at work, and usually its only companion is the soccer net. Monday, I came down to leave and there were two other bikes there, they seemed to be sprouting like mushrooms. One was a generic fat tire mountain bike, but the other one caught my attention. It was an ancient Schwinn ten speed (yes, that’s ten total), complete with stem shifters and safety levers. Good, I thought, more bike commuters. Then I realized that the forecast predicted heavy rain and I got a bit of it towards the end of my ride, so those that left later were in for a real drenching. I felt bad that this would put a damper (pun intended) on future bike commuting, and didn’t really expect to see either bike there again, but the next day there was the old Schwinn again. Unfortunately, the weather was like a replay of the day before only worse. I had almost gotten home when the skies opened, thunder and lightning, drenching rain, and again, my mystery commuter would be in for the worst of it.
Then I thought maybe the owner had just brought it in to ride at lunch, and he or she wouldn’t get drenched after all. No, that’s not very likely, this bike is clearly for transportation and no other purpose. There are groups that ride at lunch but they all have serious bikes and wouldn’t be caught dead on the Schwinn (or probably not on my commuter bike either).
On Wednesday, there it was again. Looks like the owner had survived the trial by fire. Or more like the trial by water. It was there again on Thursday, chain had acquired a nice patina of rust by now. I bailed early since there had already been an afternoon shower, and it looked likely there would be another one. Looked like ten speed owner was in for another wet one.
I tried to imagine the history of the bike. Was it languishing in someone’s garage for twenty years, somehow surviving a myriad of spring cleanings because the owner had fond memories and couldn’t bear to part with it.
Despite some really iffy weather (this was the summer the sun never shone) the Schwinn showed up pretty regularly for a few weeks, and I was thinking we had a real convert here. Then it went missing for a while, and I thought maybe its owner was on vacation. It didn’t reappear though, and I had to conclude that Schwinn owner had gone over to the dark side (either that or bought a real bike that has a more secure home).