Sunday, April 3, 2011

Garage Bike Gets Mission And A Name

Purple Haze, the commuter bike, got its name not from Jimmy Hendrix but from the BikemanforU. Until then, this bike was known as the purple bike.

It began as an impulse buy at a hardware store back in 1999. With an iridescent purple fork, silvery manufacturer’s labels embellishing a step-through frame that was a lighter shade of purple, plus black accessories, this bike was eye-catching.

This was a Concord Rampage mountain bike, manufactured in China. The last summer of the 20th century was drawing to a close; it was a solidly built, good looking 21-speed bicycle on sale for $70.

Because the new owner was not a cyclist, however, the bike was eventually shoved into a back corner of a shed, and then a garage, where it hung from a hook on its bolt-on front wheel.

The knobby, connected center-block tires hadn’t touched earth for some time until one chilly winter day earlier this year.

BikemanforU was deep in tire combo packages when Mr. Pump announced the commuteration mission that waited in the bike cave.

Clamping the bike onto a repair stand, BikemanforU brushed away any apology for the hardware store purchase. “This bike’s pretty good,” he said. “It’s got Shimano. That’s a Velo seat, and these tires are good, too.”

Inspiration seemed to strike as he cleaned and adjusted. “What about this handlebar? Isn’t it a bit low?”

Apparently he knew the answer already because the bar stem was quickly hiked upright with an “Oh YEAH, Baby!”  That’s an important technical term frequently heard in BikemanforU Instructional Videos.

When he finished a half-hour later, the handlebar had been raised to accommodate a Dark Hampton wicker basket, and the bike equipped with two headlights, two taillights, a SunLite rear rack, and a spiffy saddlebag that held a laptop case perfectly.

The next week, BikemanforU happened to notice the newly commuterated bike parked in the sun outside the bike cave. Perhaps he took note of two-tone purple paint and silvery head badge. Or maybe he just thought the bike needed adjustment.

Whatever BikemanforU saw or thought, he said, “Everything good with Purple Haze?” And, popular culture aside, you know, it was.

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