Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Death of a Surly...

Crack Kills!

Alas, the Beast—this Beast, my Beast1—is no more. My Cross-check has checked out, given up the ghost, bought the farm, bit the dust, kicked the bucket, taken a dirt nap, shuffled off this mortal coil, run down the curtain, joined the choir invisible, cashed in its chips, hung up its spoon, had its ticket punched, sung its chant du cygne, earned its wings, gone tits up.

It is finished.

Damn, so many fine memories (*sniff*). Life is short—remember to hug your bike and tell it every day how much you love and appreciate it.

All right, maudlin sniveling and pathetic anthropomorphism aside, I did indeed love that bike. Over the course of three and a half years and some 18,000+ miles, it put out tirelessly, responding to rider and road and, yes, trail input like a, well, like the well-oiled machine it was. Ever so faithful to this prowling eye, so forgiving of my occasional infidelity, it rolled on proudly, almost haughtily, knowing all the while that however much I strayed, I'd always return to it. As dear to me in its many ways, it was, as Annabel Lee was to Edgar,1 as Beatrice was to Dante1, as Laureen was to Petrarch,1 as Henriette was to Giacomo, hell, as a young Rimbaud was to Verlaine (though not in that way).

Okay, it was only a bike. But...

For two years running, it carried my ass and a pack or panniers into work almost2 every weekday, indifferent to rain and sleet and snow and ice.

It toured the full length of the C&O Canal once, and revisited huge swatches of same, including two overnighters to Harper's Ferry and back, and half again as many White's Ferry Loops.

It was my girl for the Outlaw’s Dirt-track Date, graciously overcoming rocks and roots and logs and gravel with a sort of quiet dignity that discreetly masked my clumsy off-road fixie riding skills, and suffered with me through two 1903 Adventure Rides by the same host.

Years ago, when it was young, it endured an embarrassing “mystery” endo at the hands of its drunken owner and hobbled away with one smooth, shapely leg forever pushed in awkwardly toward the other at the pelvis, twisted irremediably (the replacement fork was black, and cost me a third of the price of the original frame and fork). You always hurt the ones you love.

It bounced back from a run-in with a DC cab with nary a scratch in the early hours of a Friday morning last December, when I recklessly, wantonly, heartlessly let my mind stray beneath the burden of too many beers, shuttling me safely home in the aftermath, as blind in its trust as I was in the intersection.

Like a cold-metal mistress, it tolerated my assignations, mere dalliances really, with other bikes—the prissy Casseroll, the lascivious Eros—and always, always welcomed me back, moustache bars reaching out as if to embrace me in forgiveness.

And it died. Today. Died a gear-virgin, fixed from cradle to grave, died quietly, unceremoniously, in the suburbs, on the Custis Trail, in the morning, while on a ride into work, for fuck's sake.

Farewell, my first fixie, my loyal friend. You will be missed...

"Rock-star tongue" action pic by Sir David Blum, Esq., illustrator par excellence, skilled rider, and all around good-natured gentleman.

1. With apologies to one Vladimir Nabokov, whose masterpiece Lolita juiced the muse, so to speak, for the footnoted bits in this little requiem. When you read a book four times, things begin to stick.

2. I say "almost" here because on some of those days, I rode another bike.

15 comments:

Fxdwhl said...

that sucks man! hoping mines got years of life yet. getting another one? that grey/whitish color isn't bad.

Todd said...

Sorry to hear about your loss, that truly sucks. Of course, that dropout could be replaced and she can be resurrected from the dumpster.

Icon O. Classt said...

Yeah, I'm considering replacing the dropout. Gotta figure out the cost, though, and weigh the chances of some other mishap occurring.

Otherwise, it's "economic stimulus package" to the rescue...

Todd said...

I was thinking the same thing. Sounds as if the frame has had its share of "un-natural" stresses applied throughout its life. May be time to put it out to pasture.

Icon O. Classt said...

Wow! Baltimore resident Tom Palermo, of Palermo Bicycles, has agreed to do the work at an extremely reasonable price. Check out this guy's Flickr account to see some real two-wheeled art and passion. Thanks, Tom!

In the coming weeks, I'll post a follow-up on the whole process.

Thanks to the Outlaw for the reference.

Todd said...

I've seen his work and it is beautiful. Looks like she hasn't quite "given up the ghost" just yet. Nice to know.

Icon O. Classt said...

Yeah, Todd, "beautiful" doesn't do it justice.

If I ever get the urge, I know where to lose it, ha.

Jim said...

I hope you're not Catholic, 'cuz the Church takes a *very* dim view of bringing the Dead back to Life. Or a Mexican peasant for that matter (admittedly some overlap in the two classes), since this type of meddling is certain to bring on an attack by the Chupacabra. I'd be very careful about this if I were you, and keep some tequila handy in case you're confronted by a Chupacabra, or in case you're not.

Icon O. Classt said...

Not Catholic, Jim, and I like to think the RCC would find plenty of other things to take exception to before they got around to that.

Never ran into Chupacabra, but I once single-handedly put down six Bigfoots in one evening.

As for reanimation and the metaphysical consequences, does it count if you have someone else do it?

The Director said...

The necromancer in me says "we can make her stronger, faster," while the traditionalist in me screams for a beautiful funeral, a burial where she can rejoin her mother...
Either way, it's a sad day.

manda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
manda said...

I'm all for reanimation, just keep it out of Pet Sematary.

Rob said...

Glad you are getting it repaired- seems like the right thing to do if you love that bike so much.

WUNNSPEED said...

Damn... you've killed one and I've never even had the chance to get one. Of course, I think that One-Eyed Zeke has killed 2-3 at this point. Anyway... glad to see that you're getting it repaired.

Enjoy!

Icon O. Classt said...

Thanks, people, for bolstering me through this dark time of profound sorrow. ;)