As I look at Tricia's new Surly Cross-Check, propped up in front of our Christmas tree, I find myself charmed by its new-born innocence.
The cassettes and chain rings are sparkling. The chain still shines. The paint is pure; without adolescent pimples or old warrior battle scars. The tires have barely encountered pavement.
Because it's only a 42cm frame it also has that young colt, all legs and knees look that make me think of spring, hope, and corn ball movies.
What is it about a new bike that makes it so beautiful? In a coldly rational evaluation it's a machine that still needs a water bottle cage, a seat bag with a spare, new pedals (or at least toe straps), a pump, a bunch of adjustments, and, in this bikes case, a rack, panniers, and a light. It will take hours to make it really useful, and when it's done it will be great. But it will also look like a bike with baggage. All its clean perfection will be obscured by the very things that make it ride worthy. It was purchased not to be a jewel, but to be a solid citizen commuter, carrying school papers and a molder of young minds to school each day. It will be doing noble work, and will be dressed appropriately for it's task. It will be beautiful.
So then why am I somewhat sad? Why do I wish she'd just leave it in the warm, dry, safe living room a bit longer?