July 3, 2008 at 4:03 pm Leave a comment

The bike glided seamlessly down the alley. Because the rider knew where the ruts were. In the dark of night he could navigate if needed. And many times it had been necessary to veer into the unlit alley that spanned several city blocks to evade the unknown.






His bike was an orange Schwinn Jaguar. With white grips and trim on the seat. Made it look like a Creamsicle. Bought it for a 100 bux off a blond kid. The bidding had begun at double when he first saw it.

“Where’d you get the bike bro? It’s bad ass.”

“I found it.”

“I’ll give you 200 bux right now dude.”

“Nah man. I like it too much.


About a year later, the rider was in a car. He had no bike. Saw the kid again. Yelled out the window: “150!!!” The kid shook his head and kept riding.

Both of them smiling.

Then one day, the rider, still bike-less, saw the kid looking none too happy. The kid came to him.

“Uh, hey man. About the bike. I’ll take 100.”

“You sure dude?”


The kid couldn’t keep his eyes off his shoes. The rider hurt for him, but not enough not to buy the bike. As he rode away to the million dollar house he shared with the wife (both since gone), he didn’t look back.

That was over five years ago. I haven’t seen the kid around. Nose ring dangling. Laughing outside the Alano. Course I haven’t been there, and even if it was still on Minnesota Avenue providing a haven for the aimless, I wouldn’t want to be.

I’d rather write about it being in storage in the elements while I was in L.A. and how when I came home for Christmas and hopped on for a brisk early morning ride through the mean streets of Willow Glen and arrived at the park, I noticed something slightly out of kilter. Confirmed seconds later as I gently rode up a handicapped (sorry, physically challenged) curb, and caught myself four inches closer to the cement. Low riding.

The frame had cracked at the neck. The wife had it welded. Works fine. Haven’t had a problem. Though I do need a new back rim. But I don’t have the money. In fact, I don’t have much anymore. Except a daughter. And a bike I bought from a boy who sold it under the same circumstances I sold several Schwinn’s under. To the moneymakers. At the end of the alleys. With one big difference.

I would watch.

Wishing them to ride it.

Right into a rut.




Entry filed under: Bay Area. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , .

Les Bicyclettes A Bicycle Miracle

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