Monday, September 19, 2011

Spoke Folk

This past Saturday, I loaded my bike into the car and drove down to Spoke Folk Bike Shop in Healdsburg for a tune-up. A young woman named Kimberly welcomed me in from her place behind the counter. We discussed details of the tune-up package, she estimated the cost, and we scheduled a pickup time for Tuesday afternoon.
Lately I’ve been padding extra time around appointments to allow more time for sketching. So with the afternoon clear, I set up a folding chair across the street to study the building’s domed, corrugated-steel roof. Pulling out my sketchpad, I draw its overall structure, and then dive in with paint. In reality, the building is beige and forest green, but I chose to liven up the colors with orange-yellow for the sunlit areas and purple for the shadows.
Back at the bike shop Tuesday afternoon, I paid and happily wheeled my bike out the door. Another customer just outside commented “nice vintage bike.” I thanked him, but thought “vintage?” It’s hard to believe, but it’s been twenty years since I bought my Cannondale mountain bike. At the time of purchase, I was planning a ride in the Tour de San Francisco, a challenging and hilly 24 mile race through Golden Gate Park that wound its way up the Pacific coast to Chrissy Field, just south of the Golden Gate Bridge. I participated in the race for two years in a row and it’s one of the most beautiful rides around.
Outside the bike shop, I admired how clean the Cannondale was now, especially when compared to the way it looked in my garage just a few days ago. Stepping my right foot onto the pedal and pushing myself up, I coasted down the street. It felt great to be back on my bike, just like old times. Making my way through the downtown area, I felt the bike humming along with me. What a smooth and invigorating ride!
Now, after having gotten reacquainted with my rusty bicycling muscles, I realize it’s time to get back into shape. I’m looking forward to riding through this picturesque Sonoma County wine country, discovering it up close, and sketching it along the way.

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