Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Beach Bikes

I have been visiting the same beach resort all my life and I have seen many changes in the now almost sixty years.

A few things remain the same. Skeeball is still popular in the Boardwalk arcades, and predates even me; same with bumper cars, although they no longer have the whip-lashing ability they once did.

A good beach bike is not much different than the early days of Boardwalk cruising.

The odd thing about a beach bicycle is that, unlike the city street bike, the more honored bikes at the beach are old, rust-covered and well worn. They have been ridden and appreciatively ignored by generations of families for many years. A good beach bicycle looks like it belongs where it is, as does its rider. The beach is no place for a bike that positions the butt uncomfortably high and bends the back over curled handle-bars.

No, the beach bike is wide bottomed, and fat tired, and made for comfortable cruising. The rider sits upright, is relaxed, dons a goofy hat, and spends his time enjoying the view.

The beach bike rider is not concerned with time. He's not checking his pulse rate watch.

The beach bike may have some utilitarian purpose like holding a book or a newspaper, or a bag of beach fries, but it's usually stripped of everything not absolutely essential. The kick stand has rusted into the closed position, the fenders have long ago rusted off. Beach bikes don't need locks because nobody steals them, and besides it's against the spirit of an old bike to lock it. They don't mind being left out in the rain and being dusted with a little sand. They'll like a little oil on the chain, and a little air in the tires, but besides that they're maintenance free.

Most things change no matter where you are, fortunately, some things don't.



Lynn said...

Great post! I rented a recumbent bike at Galveston about 10 years ago and rode a mile or so along the retaining wall. Uphill, both ways, but I felt so virtuous when I was done. One of my best beach memories! P.S., when you get back here, you have got to try Pie5 Pizza. They just opened last Friday.

Francis Shivone said...

Thanks Lynn. I tried a recumbent bike once and liked it. And I will definitely try the Pie5 Pizza.