Farewell, Old Friend: Paco’s Last Ride

Filed in Health & Fitness, Lifestyle by on August 11, 2009 1 Comment

Today, sometime between the hours of 10 A.M. and 4 P.M., my dear friend and loyal companion, Paco, was cut down in the prime of his life. He was tall, tough as steel, always ready to take off on any adventure with me no matter the time of day. I will miss him greatly, for he was such an important part of my life, my faithful, canary yellow fixed gear bicycle.

Please forgive the sentimentality, but its tough to understate exactly how important that bike was to me. Since I purchased it back in October as a replacement for an older bicycle it served as my only, not just primary, means of transportation. I must have logged well over 1,000 miles commuting to school and work. Then there were the many late night social bike rides I organized, the many other bike rides I took part in, and the always amusing teetering rides home after a long night of good beer and bad judgment. Through all of it, my striking yellow bike carried me there and back. That bike became so much a part of my character that, upon arriving at a friend’s apartment on foot, I was greeted first not with a salutation, but with the question, “where’s the bike?”

Public transportation in the city is no comparison to a good bike. On cost alone, bikes are a clear winner. Had I simply purchased a monthly pass from the MBTA for every month since October (and with my daily trips downtown to campus and work a monthly pass would have been the cheapest option available) I would have put out around $600. Not to mention that I can ride faster than the train by a considerable margin, and that, for all its routes, the T system only runs to certain place; with a bike, nothing is out of the way.

Forgoing technical gibberish, Paco was waylaid by a seized seat post. I brought him to International Bicycle to have the offending part unstuck through some combination of blowtorches, clamps, lubricant, and, I believe, witchcraft. Now, I’ve been going to this shop for about a year and they have never disappointed me—knowledgeable staff, good prices, no complaints from me. Yet one glory seeking mechanic, determined to free the post like the proverbial sword from the stone, twisted a little too far. The post snapped, half of the steel still embedded in the frame. Paco, Big Yellow, Banana Bike, and all the other nicknames he has been given through the months, was rendered useless.

Had he been crunched in an accident I would feel better; it would be my own fault for his death. Instead, I am left with a hollow feeling in my gut by the knowledge that some guy carrying out a beneficial but ultimately unnecessary bit of maintenance ruined my frame. I haven’t worked up the courage to demand a huge discount on a new frame. For now, I’m too shocked and frustrated and angry and, above all, sad to sensibly ask for compensation. I know if I went in now I’d be foaming at the mouth, my pupils dilated like beach balls, screaming incomprehensibly in a shrill voice about justice and satisfaction. I might even slap a mechanic with a bike glove and challenge him to some outrageous bike duel, most likely jousting. My bank account, my social life, and even my health owe so much to that bike, and with one errant twist, he was destroyed.

So it is truly with a heavy heart that I grieve for my broken bike. For a few weeks I will be walking everywhere, too proud to ride a roomate’s rusted mountain bike, and too cheap to ride the bus. If you have a bike of your own, treat it well. Lube all the parts, don’t run red lights, and please, please, don’t let some loony with a blowtorch get anywhere near it.

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