I’m currently reading British author Robert Penn’s book It’s All About the Bike: The Pursuit of Happiness on Two Wheels. His story was on my mind as I road across the Manhattan Bridge on Saturday morning to the Brooklyn Bike Jumble, a bi-annual flea market of bicycles, components and accessories (below).
In his book, Penn, a journalist and widely traveled lover of cycling, chronicles his quest for the perfect bicycle — not necessarily the fanciest or the lightest, but the one made just for him, the one he will ride for the rest of his life. As he traverses Europe and the U.S. in pursuit of his dream frame and components, the history, culture and science of cycling unfurl in pleasurable detail.
I wondered as I browsed among the vendors at the Bike Jumble, how many Penn-like questers were among the shoppers? And did they find a dream set of bars, a broken-in Brooks saddle or a vintage Campi part to complete their own two-wheel ideals?
More typical, perhaps, was Denice (below), who was shopping for a bargain. Denice said she moved from Washington DC two years ago, but has been hesitant to ride because her neighborhood in Astoria has few bike lanes in contrast with DC. Now she says, “It’s time,” and she’s resolved to learn to share the road. On Saturday, this pea-green Raleigh priced at $200 (maybe a little less after some haggling) was her perfect bike.
Additional scenes from the Jumble: