Emotional Bicycle

Today’s beautiful guest post is from Velouria of Lovely Bicycle, who really needs no introduction.

Earlier this month I tried to sell one of my bicycles – a vintage mixte that I no longer need because a new one has been custom built for me. I say “tried,” because in the end I could not go through with it and decided to keep it. There were just too many emotions tied to this bicycle, too many personal experiences associated with it.

If there is anything I have learned in my year and a half of cycling, it is that a bicycle is more than just a bicycle. When cycling is a part of everyday life, our bicycles become integrated into our memories of everything meaningful and exciting that happens to us. Over time, the bicycle attains the intimate, emotional features of the events and memories it represents.

When I look at my old aqua blue mixte, I see more than just a bike. I see winding paths with overarching trees, I see sunsets over the river, I see the endless sand dunes of Cape Cod, I see familiar Boston street scenes changing with the seasons, and I see events of the past unfolding around me. Those are all things this bicycle allowed me to experience in a new and unique way, and the experiences will always be associated with it.

Some will say that it is foolish to form attachments to objects. After all, it is experience that matters. But experience is fleeting, and since the dawn of time people have sought to keep mementos of meaningful events – something to look at or touch, that would evoke a welcome memory of a favourite moment. Whether we realise it or not, I think for many of us the bicycle plays this role.

Visit the enchanting and informative bicycle world of Velouria at Lovely Bicycle.

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13 thoughts on “Emotional Bicycle

  1. bikerly says:

    Velouria, I have a bike like that only a little different — a Gary Fisher Paragon mountain bike. The Rock Shox was one of the first of it’s kind. The bike is over 20 years old.

    I’ve gone over her handle bars many times but still love. I’ve recently gone to single speed riding and she doesn’t have the horizontal dropouts necessary, but will always have a hook in my garage :) Enjoyed your post!

  2. Karl says:

    Hey, I have a Fisher Paragon also, but we’re really not that close. It let me down a few times (once, a flat in the middle of nowhere), and I’ve forgiven but not forgotten. My true love is a Peugot U08 (1975), bought brand spanking new (and still looks that way). Got a new Pashley recently, and I detected a little jealousy from Le Peug, but she’ll be O.K. I think she has more of a problem with the Pash being British, than it’s presence alone. We may need to have a long talk.

    • Deborah says:

      Sweet post, Velouria. I’m not surprised you couldn’t bring yourself to part with Marianne. I was actually more surprised that you were able to “re-home” your Pashley — for all of the same reasons you list above! Looking forward to your eventual post on your own blog comparing this bike to your Royal H. mixte, and I am glad that the latter is not replacing the former, as both are such beauties.

  3. maureen says:

    I enjoyed your post. I think it is perfectly natural to associate memories with the objects that helped us achieve them. Glad you have had so many fond times with your mixte! And hope you have many more!

    • Karl says:

      Great thought provoking comments. I’ve had a couple bikes stolen, but never parted with any willingly. They really do become a part of us, and their personification is entirely understandable. Maybe it stems from when we were 4-5 yrs. old and our first big decision in life was getting rid of the training wheels. It was at that point that we got our very first taste of real achievement. Our bikes were beaters, but were fun, and they took us places across town to make new friends and see new things. A self-propelled independence that opened a whole new world. So, it was very easy to develop that connection with our bikes…and it’ll never grow old.

  4. Amy says:

    I feel the same way about my Hercules. She’s my first bicycle since I was a kid. I spent months restoring her and riding her through my neighborhood until I wasn’t wobbly anymore. She’s the first bicycle that I’ve ever used for commuting, and probably wouldn’t have started commuting by bicycle if it hadn’t been for her. So even though right now she spends most of her time looking pretty in the kitchen, I don’t think that I could ever sell her.

  5. Melanie says:

    I completely understand Velouria! I have the same situation with my Eatons Glider that was a gift from my fiance when we first started dating. He also has a Raleigh Tracker that he has had for ages. We are talking about getting some new more practical bikes but the thing that holds us back is that we simply don’t have the space to store more than 2 bikes… and it just isn’t even an option to sell our beloved vintage bikes.
    I actually wrote a post about it on my photography blog here: http://myolympuspenf.blogspot.com/2010/08/my-other-love.html

  6. Pamela says:

    I will never part with my old Monarck. It was built from a kit by my great uncle in the ’40’s for his little sister, my grandmother. It’s in perfect condition and I ride her almost everyday. Several have tried to get me to sell, bit we shall never part :)

  7. Kara says:

    It is hard for me to imagine bicycles not becoming mementos. I have sold one bicycle in the past year and it was not easy, even though the bicycle was not the right fit for me. It was my first bike as a grown up and I found it difficult to not to think of the memories we had together.

  8. Jeanette says:

    I think that is absolutely right. Like anything else that becomes a “memento”, one’s bicycle is part of the warp and weft of one’s life; a symbol upon which to hang meaningful memories and experience. But bicycles have a more complex connection than most mementos because they are the very vehicle for those experiences. My bicycle has allowed me to see the world from a different angle — to paraphrase David Byrne, it is not quite walking, not quite driving, but still intimate and close-up. And bicyles allow us to experience ourselves in the world in a very different way: under our own steam; a physical being in a physical world. Bicycles can change our sense of who we are in the world and can change the way we experience it. The particulars of that world become part of our memory; experience impossible to have had sealed inside a car or bus or subway.

    And of course, it is also an efficient and fun way of getting to where you need to go!

  9. beany says:

    My bicycle is the first object that I’ve ever formed such a huge connection with. I have gotten rid of everything I owned and started completely new 3 times, but the idea of not having my little work horse or the idea of my work horse falling apart really fills me with dread. I can’t imagine selling the bike at all. So yes, like you my bicycle also brings me so many wonderful memories – I cannot imagine giving it up.

  10. Simply Bike says:

    As I’m upgrading and trading in my bikes for other ones, I’m finding the same struggle to part with bikes I actually no longer need. It’s funny how attached we get to them. S.

  11. Sex Toys says:

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