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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Safe harbors and mysterious bikes

Yesterday, I had to take Frida deep into East Cambridge for the first time.  She was kind of freaked out about being left by herself outside in a strange new setting after spending so much of her young life within the rarefied bounds of Harvard Yard, so I did a quick survey of available parking options and sought out the safest-looking, most populated among them.  There was a a nice little pedestrian way leading off the street that was well stocked with bicycle racks and bicycles, so I wheeled Frida over to one of the rearmost racks, which also had the most Frida-friendly bikes attached to it.
Here you can see she is being kept company by a cruiser-style mixte (more on this in a bit), a men's KHS Green (which immediately calmed her down!), and a very dapper charcoal and honey diamond frame bike whose saddle and handlebar tape matched Frida's handbag perfectly.  Here she is snuggling up close to his reassuring and color-coordinating figure:
Not only was his casual handsomeness soothing, but there was also this:
See, Frida?  Chillax already!

Now, the mixte [Q: is it still a mixte if the top tubes don't connect directly to the rear axle?].  This was a strange one.




We've got: wide, almost Dutch-style handlebars; a twin-tube mixte frame with a delicate yet cruiser-ish swoop; huge, super-nubby mountain bike-type tires, with one fender on the front tire only; a vaguely 1950s-feeling partial chain guard; some kind of crazy, giant spring thing by the front rack; and nary an identifying mark to be found.  What to make of this idiosyncratic fellow?  I really didn't know, but I left him a note before heading inside:

Part 1 of the Let's Go Ride a Bike Summer Games: Social Cycling>> leave a friendly note on a bike.
(I was taking these with the camera on my phone, so I'm just going to call the reverse focus on the last one "artsy.")

When I got back, it was dark, the mixte and diamond frame were gone, and Frida was sitting there quietly and calmly, ready to head home after a long but pleasant day.

8 comments:

M and G said...

I'm soooo lusting after a swoopy mixte. ::drool::

Velouria said...

I like the "everything will be okay" sticker!

Yes, it's still technically a mixte even if the stays don't connect all the way at the dropouts, just a slightly unconventional one. The curve makes it easier to step through, but less structurally sound than a classic mixte. Still plenty structurally sound to ride around town of course; it's just that classic mixtes were built as road and touring bikes and were designed to have the same integrity as the equivalent diamond-frame models.

2whls3spds said...

Interesting bike. Sort of a cross between a mixte and a loop frame. The spring is part of a Springer front end, like the old Schwinns had in the 40's and 50's.

Aaron :)

Dottie said...

Nice artsy shot ;) I need an "everything will be okay" sticker.

somervillain said...

very interesting mixte... it's like a traditional french mixte and an american cruiser got together and had a child

margonaute said...

I wish I knew more about the "Everything will be okay" sticker-- but then I guess, what is there to know? Would there ever be a situation where seeing that message wouldn't make you feel at least a little bit better? Maybe it would even help out with "jerk season"...

I'm generally not a fan of the beach cruiser aesthetic; but then you get the twin tube frame, and it suddenly looks so elegant and birdlike and French. And then I see those aggressive, asymmetrically fendered tires, and my mind gets all confused again! I just don't know what to think!

somervillain said...

it also looks to have either 26" or 650B tires, and it obviously has room for wide tires and fenders. this bike *could* be turned into a very nice 650B mixte. however, that front suspension spring would have to go (it's an add on, anyway, it's not part of the bike).

Corey K said...

I'm betting that is an early 1960s Sears Spaceliner with all the sheet metal bits removed.

The drop-outs on those are pretty distinctive.

http://oldroads.com/arch/pic1_459.html

There is a similarly decrepit-but-loved one in use in downtown Santa Cruz.

Glad Frida is working out so well. She's a beautiful bike.

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