Why We Love Bicycles
Although most of us wouldn't ride in a boxcar to the basement of the Alamo to recover a bike, many bicyclists can sympathize with Pee Wee Herman's anguish when his beloved red beach cruiser is stolen in Pee Wee's Big Adventure. There are lots of reasons we appreciate our bikes - they allow us to view our city in ways that our cars can't, reduce our carbon footprint, and provide exercise as well as leisurely and energizing transportation to work.
But many people have an emotional attachment to the bicycle itself. Like so many things, it may go all the way back to childhood, when your first bike meant freedom and ownership of something large and costly.
If you visit the Central Library's employee bike room, you'll see a wide variety, including a vintage 18-speed Schwinn, a pannier-clad Bianchi, an electric bike and a mysterious matte black one-speed with no markings or accessories.
Like Pee Wee Herman, Frank, from Reference Services once had his 10-year old mountain bike stolen. For several days after the incident, he kept looking for it while peering through the windows of the RTD bus which he now rode. Now he knows to register his bike's serial number with the City and County, and avoids having to repurchase his own ride at the Denver Police Bicycle Bureau Auction.
Proving that every cloud has a silver lining, Frank was also the 100,000th person to use a B-cycle, Denver's wildly popular municipal bike sharing system, one of the first large-scale programs in the nation, and got a year's free membership and his picture on one of the B-cycles.
Hillary, also from Reference, designed her own bicycle, using a Lotus Super Pro racing frame with some help from a now-defunct bicycle collective. Since becoming a mother, she's thinking of switching to a "mom bike," such as a step-through, that would be more practical for towing. One option to find a great deal would be to attend Denver's annual bike extravaganza, the VeloSwap, which is being held in October this year.
In It's All About the Bike, author Robert Penn chronicles his quest for his dream bicycle, from the perfect wheels in California to a frame shop in Britain. Zac, a librarian in Borrowers Services, embarked on his own journey for the perfect bike, and spearheaded the DPL Connect project, a librarian-powered trike that is a mobile mini-library offering books, free wifi, reference and library cards. Look for the DPL Connect bike at Civic Center Eats on Thursdays and on Facebook for other locations, such as the Bicycle Cafe.
In honor of Bike to Work Day, Reference Services will have a display of the history of bicycles told through magazines, including "Bicycling for Women, the Puzzling Question of Costume," from the April, 1896 issue of Outlook Magazine (June 16-30, third floor of the Central Library).
For biking laws, safe routes to schools, riding events, free bicycle maps, safety tips and how to fix a flat tire, visit BikeDenver.
Historical photo courtesy of DPL Digital Collections