corny? bicycle summons summer memories

Corn Field
photo: kevin connors
A John Deere-themed cruiser bicycle, parked in front of an ice cream shop on Long Island, evokes memories of the velojoy blog author's summers in Central Illinois.

John Deere Cruiser Bike by Nirve

August. It’s the height of the summer corn season. I guess that’s why this cruiser by Nirve, parked in front of an ice cream shop on Long Island, grabbed my attention last weekend.

Not the bike itself, but rather the co-brand, John Deere, exerted an emotionally transportive power. It took me back to my home state of Illinois with its almost embarrassingly verdant crops. Where there’s corn – Illinois grows 1.7 billion bushels per year — there’s also the world’s leading producer of farm equipment. (“Nothing runs like a Deere!”)

Although fields stretched in every direction around us, my family wasn’t in the business of agriculture, nor did I ever drive a tractor. And yet,  in my encounter with this bicycle, I recognized an iconography as vivid, and as reassuring, as the green and yellow panorama of perfectly regimented corn rows that populates my best memories of carefree summer days.

As I gave in to the impulse to touch, pressing gently on the embossed bike saddle and running an index finger across the leaping deer on the top tube, I was reminded of a symbol’s power to evoke longing for things long-gone.

John Deere Cruiser Bike by Nirve, $389.99 at

Readers: What iconic brands or logos are evocative to you? Please share in the comments section.

Top photo: Kevin Connors

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