My Bicycle

Under favorable conditions and in the presence of a man a bicycle can turn into a woman and offer herself to a suitably qualified cyclist for the tactile felicities of love:

    I passed my hand with unintended tenderness—sensuously, indeed—across the saddle. Inexplicably, it reminded me of a human face, not by any simple resemblance of shape of feature but by some association of textures, some incomprehensible familiarity at the fingertips….I knew that I liked this bicycle more than I had ever liked any other bicycle, better even than I had liked some people with two legs….How desirable her seat was, how charming the invitation of her slim encircling handle-arms, how unaccountably competent and reassuring her pump resting warmly against her rear thigh!

From The Third Policeman by Flann O’Brien

My damn saddle was stolen again last Thursday. I wheeled the bike up to a pro-store in Park Slope to buy yet another replacement. Felix, the Puerto Rican fitter decided I was a good customer. “You didn’t argue with me. You took my advice. That’s what I like.” He lovingly serviced my bone-shaker, lectured me on proper riding angle, scoffed at my request for toe-clips.

“You want to have the ball of your feet on the pedals. The toe-clips don’t let you do that. See, like this. What’s wrong with your balance? Why does she sit like that? Where are your sit-bones? Back, back, I tell you! ”

He stayed for half an hour past closing, clicking his teeth at my untrue wheels and half-broken axle. Told me about his best friend the world champion of something and his girlfriend the state champion. He’d had his own bike shop, but closed it to join this one because he wasn’t getting enough customers to do what he really wanted.

“I’m not a mechanic or a sales guy. I’m a fitter. We don’t do the mechanics. I make sure the bike fit is perfect for the rider.”

I nodded, passed the allen keys, and admired his curly hair. I like people who love what they do.

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