Tonight’s entry comes to us from Leerish in NYC. She did such a nice job extolling the virtues of her OTS that I have decided to take the night from my normal commentary. Enjoy.
Here it is! The paramount of old crappy ten-speeds!! The great, hulking 40 lb. steamroller that all crappy ten-speeds strive to be! (You know, all things considering, it’s not a bad-looking specimen. Rather narrow tubing as compared with higher quality bikes.) This here varsity is a late ’60s model that had been sitting in a garage probably since its purchase! A homeless man once saw me unlocking it and heckled, “I’d give you five dollars for that, ma’am, not a penny more”!
I took up city cycling on this thing. Commuted on it. Kept up with my fixie-riding weight weenie friends on midnight cross-town rides on it. Then when we reached our destination I’d wonder why I was the only one sweating so fiercely!
Two weeks in, the rear tire gave out and I had the privilege (TASK) of getting the nuts and bolts off this crusty old thing in order to change tube and tire (then i had to buy a new wrench! True story). If I can get the bolts off this, I can be damn sure I can get the bolts off anything.
Bike snobs teased me about it. But few of them recognize or appreciate the athletic prowess it requires to wrestle a ’60s (’70s?) varsity around. For, everything involved in handling it requires some form of wrestling: walking it through a narrow door. Mounting it. Dismounting. Turning a sharp corner. Walking it over the lip of a curb. Walking it in general. Because of its weight-to-volume ratio, learning to maneuver its awkward weight is an accomplishment within itself.
And I acclimated to carrying it up and down flights of stairs with one arm, walking it with one hand, and I’m better for it.
I owe a lot to this cumbersome piece of crap, I’m thankful it was my first ride!