Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Chance Encounters and Boston Vintage Bikes

Taking advantage of the mild temperatures a couple of days ago, we went for another ride along the Charles River Trail, this time a nice long one. We were taking a break to photograph the bikes (a totally normal part of any day, right?), when I heard a very polite yet excited voice from the trail. Was I by chance the person from Lovely Bicycle? I guess of all the girls out there riding loop-frame bicycles with enormous red bows on the basket, I must be especially recognisable? I attribute it to my unique facial features.

We invited the gentleman to join us on the dock, and a fest of bicycle photography and discussion ensued.

Apparently, he collects photos of people photographing him. So this is my picture of him, taking a picture of me taking a picture of him.

And this is his picture of me, taking a picture of him taking a picture of me taking a... Really, the philosophical implications are staggering. You can see this and many other bicycle related pictures on verdammelt's photostream on flickr.

Here is a shot showing off his bicycle better (admittedly posed in what Steve A. calls my "Lenin in Finland" stance). The bicycle is a vintage BSA 3-speed step-through, which he found abandoned, rescued, restored back to health, and now uses as a winter bike.

Here is a somewhat blurry close-up. Our new acquaintance is proof of how common these rare vintage bicycles are in Boston. A BSA randomly left abandoned on the streets? Yup. It is a pretty cerulean-blue colour with nice lugs and a beautiful fork crown. You can't see them here, but the bike also has shimmery red grips on the handlebars that set off the blue frame quite nicely.

And I love the unusual saddle. It is sprung pleather, with the look and feel of an old leather jacket - not the texture one normally sees on saddles. Overall, this is an excellent rescue, and the owner seems to care about bicycle and to like riding them very much. We enjoyed meeting him and thank him for posing for these photos!

15 comments:

  1. Just a small correction to the story of the bike. This bike was found abandonded up in Central Square. My normal daily bike (a black schwinn) was abandonded outside my house (about .75 outside of Central Square).

    I must say that i've been very lucky with my bike finds. I wish the best of luck for everyone else to find some good bikes as well!

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  2. Congratulations, Fil, you are officially a Celebrity.
    Look, there's TMZ!
    Happy New Year.

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  3. It was nice to meet you Mark. I saw on your Flickr page that you often take pictures of the same places as where we ride, it's a mystery we didn't run into each other this Summer. Or perhaps we did, because I see cyclists with fancy saddles and brass bells and custom frames in Boston every day! If we all stopped and said hello to each other nobody would get anywhere. :)

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  4. Actually, my first thought on seeing the third picture was "Trotsky on a bike along the Nevsky Prospect."

    BTW, I find it increasingly interesting to see the Co-Habitant's fashion evolution through the seasons. From a slightly unsettling "Great Gatsby" in linen, to "John Reed covering the Russion Revolution, to "Rocky Balboa training for the big fight to - well, I guess I'll just have to stay tuned. If he does "Scott of the Antarctic," I trust we'll have a better outcome.

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  5. Mark - Thanks for the clarification; I'll change it in the text!

    Steve A - He does look more like Trotsky (in a good way), good call! The Co-Habitant does have an eclectic style of dress; it reflects nicely his manly yet sensitive personality. There are always certain constants though - like the lack of jeans, and the favouring of earth tones, plaid shirts and blazers.

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  6. Beautiful

    Southern California weather is pretty boring. I would love to live in a place that has more diversity!

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  7. That's cool when you're recognized from the blog. That's happened to me once or twice. It's kind of flattering.

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  8. How fun! Sweet blue ride he has there, lots of lovely bicycles in Boston.

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  9. Christa, I'll take Southern California "boring" over commuting at below Zero Farenheit wind chill on ice. It's way more than diverse.

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  10. "Being recognised" has happened to me a few times so far and I never know how to behave. Usually I am caught off guard and probably seem unfriendly. This time it was the opposite and I was way too hyper. Celebrity is so difficult!

    As for weather - I want snow without the treacherous slipperiness it involves (non-slip snow?) and winter weather without my hands going numb. Is that too much to ask?...

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  11. Doohickie - as helpful as they are, studded tires won't save you if you are cycling in the right lane and suddenly find yourself amidst slush and uneven piles of hard, old snow...

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  12. where did you get your white beret ?

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  13. Anon - Target. It's 100% wool and they have them in different colours.

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  14. Great bicycle! I have been hearing tons of trash-bike stories recently. I feel like we need a public service message telling folks to donate their old bikes rather than throwing them away.

    Also, I was recognized in the grocery store the other day, and it was the weirdest thing.

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