Celeste: Bianchi Birota
Back in the days when I used to wrench under BobWölfé's tutelage, I would have dedicated an afternoon to cleaning my bike myself; in other words, I would hosed, rinsed, pulled apart, oiled, re-cabled, scrubbed, and trued until my beloved Celeste looked, sounded, and felt brand spanking new. Now, however, I find that the following three things prevent me from doing so: lack of outdoor space (i.e. no hose or area conducive to hosing); lack of advanced tools (i.e. no bottom bracket tools); and straight up laziness. Luckily for me, the Upper West Side possesses a solution to all three of these problematic concerns, and that solution goes by the name of Imbert, although most people call him Master Bike. Thus, when the sun shone without cessation and the stoops overflowed with random household crap, I knew that it was time to pay Master Bike a visit.
The three days that Celeste stayed with Master Bike were very challenging; I couldn't help but gaze enviously at the cyclists rounding the Park on my walks home each warm evening, and I hated the giant empty wall space in my apartment where Celeste normally rests (she likes to hang from her rear wheel). And so it was with a happy heart that I picked her up last Thursday, and I exclaimed with joy at her sparkling clean frame and pristine cassette, save for an invisible film of lube. I had even asked Master Bike to spiff up her handlebars with new celeste green bar tape--a difficult request, since the last person who had wrapped my bars was my 'cross idol Barbara Howe, and I liked to think that she transferred some of her awesome cycling power to me each time I touched the tape--and as a result Celeste practically glowed.
Celeste: Elaphas Babara
I bid Master Bike goodbye (he had first greeted me with a "Ciao, Miss Bianchi", as I believe he only recognizes me by my bike model), and then, with my noble Italian steed by my side, I skipped home, where I hung her in her rightful place. Soon after I met JFL early in Central Park, and under a grey April morning sky, we spun past Sheep Meadow and up Harlem Hill, and then spun past them again and again. Throughout the Park blooming daffodils lined the paths and the magnolia trees stood heavy with full pink blossoms, while the whirr of bike chains and click of gear shifts mingled with our non-stop chatter (what can I say, we're girls who love to ride). Each time I looked down at Celeste I smiled. Here's to months of wonderful bike riding, and to the arrival of Spring!