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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Tale of Two Wheels by John von Daler


               Karen Blixen once said that coffee is to the women of Denmark what the word of God is to the soul. If I may add something to this comparison: and what my bicycle is to me.

                I remember my first bike. I was six years old that day. Mom interrupted my birthday breakfast with a table full of presents to say that I should go out into the pantry and feed the dog. Irritating, but I did love the dog.
                Out in the pantry I found one happy, well-fed dog and a spanking new, red and silver boy's bicycle with a horn.
                That bicycle carried me far and wide for years in Tulsa.
                Having reached driving age I put the bike on hold and drove around in Norwalk Connecticut in our Renault listening to pop music. Teenagers don't know how to live.
                At Princeton the only Danish professor I knew had a black skyscraper of a bicycle, staid, stable, austere as a bike could be, but demonstrably, definitely foreign, the Max von Sydow of bikes. I watched from afar.
                Later I moved to Copenhagen. From then on I never was without a bicycle. I got a black skyscraper of my own. Now I still bicycle 20 or 30 kilometers a week.
                Ah, you poor car-driving souls: I hop on my bicycle every day knowing that:
1) I will arrive on time wherever I am going, independent as I am of traffic jams or rushhour schedules.
2) I will get a lot of good exercise.
3) I will pollute a lot less than if I had driven a car.
4) and my wind-blown hair will always look a lot sexier than some carburator coif.
                I'm a two-wheeler-dealer and proud of it.

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