October 25, 2010

Vintage Velo

And in I went to Velo to get my bicycle fixed and there they did give me this beauty of a replacement bicycle, lucky number 7, and what a looker she is! Must be a classic dame... strong, elegant and handy. Pre-cursor to the brompton? Possible. Is she a former mistress to Belgian grandfathers? Before anyone was mentioning jargon such as 'intermodality' and 'sustainable cities', was this one being riden to the train station, taken aboard and then onto the eventual destination? A total transit solution for the 1950's?

Velo is a service that provides thousands of students in Leuven with a bicycle during their studies here. A proud renter myself, velo represents more than just a shoddy creaking zimmerframe / bicycle that come puncture come axle-shear, the guys at Velo will fix it up for you regardless and per gratis. No velo is far more, owning a velo allows one to touch the very soul of the city of Leuven.

The daily routines of fixing the dynamo, cursing my rock hard saddle, antagonizing my agonizing fingers to force a gear change by pressurizing a knife edged gear shifter all fade away into memory as the bicycle is mounted and the kurb provides a prefect launch pad for a gentle push off into the crisp streets of the city. Whizzing past the centuries of tradition and heritage, the cadence quartet of my burring dynamo, shuddering frame, squeaking chain, and squawking saddle seem to find their rhythm. My own philharmonic provide a gentle soundtrack to a day's musings.

Speed increases...motion blurs... my panting chests leads the Allergo, brief exhalations of air linger in the street air in my wake, man and bicycle are working in seamless unity, perfection. The most energy efficient form of motion known to the world, the most beautiful of instruments had found its master, and he was in complete control. Almost at that moment of epiphany, something was wrong, time slowed, the proverbial wheels came off as my orchestra has come to a cacaphonic crescendo. Crash...bang......wallop!! and after...nothing, silence. A new love affair is conceived.

more information: www.kuleuven.be/velo/
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