Saturday, March 17, 2012

Bike Along the Ausable

I know it's been awhile, but I have a gem of a story to tell you.

A few years back, okay a decade back, I was a lonely graduate student living along the banks of the Thames River. I needed my own set of wheels to get to and fro and stumbled upon the most amazing bike that I ever laid eyes on. The vintage Raleigh came equipped with a basket on the back for my groceries and a headlight that would shine up the streets as I pedaled home after an evening of drinking at the pub. I loved this bike and called it Rusty Raleigh. He cost me 35 pounds and was my constant companion. We would bike along the river, go for picnics together at Hampton Court Palace and of course, have photo shoots.

To say I was attached, is an understatement. When it was time to return to the United States, I feared Rusty's future. I found out how expensive it was to ship him and as a poor student, I didn't have that kind of money. I found him a good home with another graduate student that was selected through an interview process. I'm kidding. Well, kind of.

Once I returned home, I bought myself a mountain bike. It just wasn't the same. My family and friends knew how much I missed Rusty and were on the look out for a replacement, not that he could ever be replaced, but perhaps we would find a similar bike. Alas, my sister and I were at an antique fair and Rusty's doppelganger was spotted. She saw the look of joy in my eyes and she bought it for me right on the spot.

We loaded it into my car and it came home to the Adirondacks. This "new-old" bike was fun to ride, but needed some work. Rusty Junior waited patiently while I trained for marathons and grew tired of it. Finally, last fall I brought my bike to LeepOff Cycles in Keene Valley. The owner, Mark is a great mechanic and specializes in fixing up old bikes. He researched and ordered tires that would give me a smooth ride, replaced the cracked cables and gave it a tune-up. By the time I got the bike back, the temperatures weren't ideal for a cruise and it would wait for me through the winter.

With unseasonably high temps this weekend, my friend Ann planned on going for a bike ride. I thought the sunny day was as good as any to take Rusty Junior for a spin, complete with a photo shoot with his new friend.

Maybe it was the spring air or it was the friend by my side, but I found myself truly enjoying the ride. Something tells me I'm going to love riding this bike along the Ausable.