Sunday, March 14, 2010

Take Me Home Tonight

One thing you can count on in life is that it is full of surprises. And while the idea of the unexpected makes us nervous, it also makes us hopeful - For just as trouble can be waiting around the corner, so can excitement and adventure.

Last night I met Jacqueline... and took her home!

Apologies for the unflattering photo, but it was dark. Jacqueline is a beautiful vintage Waffenrad, which is an Austrian manufacturer no longer in business (more about that once I have some pictures of the bike in daylight). The bicycle is on loan from the collector Wolfgang Höfler, who also runs Vienna Active Tours and is involved in a variety of local bicycle-related projects. He is the one who named her Jacqueline. This bicycle is completely upright and very comfortable, which is why I can ride her despite not having entirely recovered from my injuries yet.

I picked up Jacqueline on Saturday night, and was nervous about riding home across Vienna for the first time. I considered taking the bike on the U-Bahn, but then decided to just go for it and cycle. The foldable basket-panniers even fit my huge laptop bag.

It was a 25 minute ride home, and I had no trouble at all. Figuring out the route was much easier than I anticipated, as was navigating the intersections and other quirks of the bike-path system.

And yes, this was playing in my head as I flew through the night-lit city. It was interesting to notice how much more lighter Vienna is at night than Boston; I never really paid attention to this before. The dynamo headlight and tail light on Jacqueline are dim compared to the set-up I have on my bikes at home, but they are more than sufficient here.

Jacqueline after I dragged her into the hallway of my building. She is tired and delighted.

So am I!

I was worried about cycling after having just recovered from pneumonia, but the Waffenrad requires very little effort to pedal - it just rolls. I wasn't even out of breath when I got home. It is a similar ride to my Raleigh DL-1, but not quite the same. I am not sure yet whether I will use this bicycle for transportation, or just to cycle around a bit in my free time - it depends how I'm feeling. And speaking of that, I suddely feel much, much better.

17 comments:

  1. Wow, she looks lovely indeed. Congratulations.

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  2. oh I forgot to say " Be my little baby...."

    which came into my head as soon as I saw the title.

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  3. I am relieved the reference is not lost!

    I remember this song playing on the radio and MTV over and over when I was a pre-teen and me thinking it was about the girl in the video not having a ride home. If only she had a bike!

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  4. That song was running thru' my head the moment I saw the blog title. I am apparently highly suggestible. And "Two Tickets to Paradise" was the next song YouTube offered. Shades of my youth!

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  5. cool bike! what is the thing on the front of the handlebars?

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  6. I came back from picking up oxalic acid to bathe a few roadsters, and see this little gem of a post.
    You look happy.

    It's good to get a fresh perspective on things, isn't it?

    So, is this a weeks-long loan, or is Jacqueline going to be "your gal in Wien" for the foreseeable future?
    How do you like the gearing and brakes compared to Velouria? What size wheels and tires does she sport?

    I am also surprised to hear that Vienna is brighter than urban Boston. I would not have thought that.

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  7. Corey - That thing on the handlebars is a folded-up front rack, which is bolted to the stem and strapped to the bars. I have daylight photos of the bike now which I will post soon! Wheels are 28", 3 widely spaced gears. Will have details and close-up shots in my next post!

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  8. She looks like a wonderful bike!

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  9. Wow that bike is gorgeous. Hope you have a great time riding her, however she ends up being used!

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  10. portlandize - It is now day 3 with jacqueline and I have stopped using the public transport system : ) I guess I underestimated myself!

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  11. I had a feeling that might happen :D

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  12. what a cool bike to have at your disposal! it looks like austria's version of a dutch bike, what with the step-through frame and 28" wheels.

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  13. somervillain - It's more like Austria's version of an English Roadster. Waffenrad was founded in 1895 and their history is connected to BSA.

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  14. That's a great story!
    Good to hear your feeling better.

    Just wanted to say I love your blog,
    it brightens my day!

    John I, York, UK

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  15. Now if only you could lay hands on an original headlight and bell ...
    http://www.waffenrad.at/

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  16. John - Thanks so much!

    Frits - I did lay hands on them, I just wasn't allowed to ride with them around Vienna : ) Same with the original saddle.

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