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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Tall Bike Wins Hearts and Minds

My wife's cousin made a tall bike. He brought it over for a tall bike conquering session. I put my gloves on for crash protection, and to complete my construction-worker look.

The special features of the tall bike: original paint from two lesser bikes, hard seat, lack of brakes, no way to get on (anti-theft feature).

It's not too hard. Once you get on, it's just another bike, though wobblier in turning, and scary at the moment of stopping. Push your shoe on the rear wheel to brake. Popping a wheelie, intentional or not, forces a quick dismount.

As it turns out, riding the tall bike is an instant win. Just two extra vertical feet under the seat make for a big change in both perspective and public opinion. Never have I seen the denizens of my neighborhood warm up to anything so quickly. In fact, the normal bristles of apathy and faint defensiveness characteristic to the locals fell away, revealing lots of waves, smiles, finger points, and, "Hey Honey"s. Kids stopped in their tracks and yelled, "awesome bike!" Shirtless porch folk migrated to the curb to take pictures. Aggressive motorists let off their accelerators for a muffler-easing moment.

If not for the legal risk, you could easily charge people around here a buck at a time to try the tall bike. But what would keep them from riding it away, to Kansas and beyond?

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