My Bikey Christmas

I get bike-themed stuff for Christmas. No surprise. I bet you do too.

This year, I opened a gift from my wife, which she thought was a small metal sculpture — a wall hanging.

Howie Hearn Bike Beer Opener
Not without my bike: The “Rapture” orientation

I noticed that there is no loop on the back to receive a hanging hook. And I also noticed something strange about the rear wheel and hub. This is utilitarian art.

This a beer opener.

Howie Hearn Beer Opener Sculpture
“Utilitarian” orientation

I did a little investigation, and discovered this was made by Howie Hearn, a local artist who makes petroglyph-inspired metal art with a plasma torch — which, from what I gather, is a type of lightsaber.

I’ve admired Howie’s art for awhile at West of the Moon Gallery, which is where my wife bought this gift.

But since this is also a work of art, what is its proper orientation when it’s not opening a beverage?

Intuitively, you want to put both wheels down — but then what’s the deal with the rider?

I imagine The Rapture, and a cyclist begins floating upward, but is unwilling to meet Jesus without his bike.

And I think of Hatuey, a sixteenth century Taíno chief who resisted the Spanish invasion Cuba. To paraphrase his final words (before he was burned alive): “If there are cars in heaven, I prefer to go to hell.”

In case you think I’ve digressed too far, Hatuey is also a brand of beer.


Orient the sculpture a different way, and you have an amazing bike stunt of the type I cannot do.

Howie Hearn Beer Opener Sculpture
… and will never do, because I am old and break easily. “Stunt” orientation.

A slightly different orientation reveals a maneuver that I have done many times — recently, in fact.

Howie Hearn Beer Opener Sculpture
… which is why I have a swollen thumb on my right hand. “Endo” orientation.

Every single time I have injured myself while bike commuting, it is because I have pushed the limits of my abilities; when I’ve acted as if cycling were a sport, and not a way of getting around.

In this instance, I was taking a single track shortcut to work, and trying to get a little performance thrill at the same time.

Speaking of errors in judgement while commuting…

I was doing some Christmas shopping, and realized that I’d left my lock at home. Rather than ride home and get my lock, I did this:

Bungee Decoy Lock
The “Bungee Decoy Lock” — because bike thieves can’t tell the difference.

The idea is that the bike would look locked, as long as the thief didn’t look too closely.

Yes, it’s stupid.

I emerged from the store, and found my bike still there. (It worked!) I went immediately to my award winning local bike shop and bought myself a new lock; a present to myself.

OnGuard Brute STD 5001 U-Lock
My addition: extra painful recoil action

The lock I’ve been using for years is this OnGuard Brute STD 5001 U-Lock, with an added coiling cable that I bought at a hardware store.

This coiling cable has been the bane of my bike-locking existence. Not only is it difficult to pull through spoked wheels, it has a tendency to snap back and whack me on the back of the hand — right on my tender metacarpal bones. This is a forbidden Karate attack known as Teko.

Okay, I don’t really know anything about Karate, but I know this cable fights dirty.

My new lock is a Kabletek Flexweave, and the first time I used it, I didn’t have to put a knee on the ground or fight with the cable.

I realized that I have had a subconscious dread of locking my bike, and this dread has deterred me from making extra stops on my commutes — buying coffee on the way to work, running errands on the way home.

Kabletek Flexweave Bike Lock
Jesus H Christmas, what took me so long?

I will probably use my u-lock in combination with my cable lock in high-theft-risk situations — but that coily bastard is gone!

That was it. My bikey Christmas probably cost less than $75. And already my life is better.

What about your Bikey Christmas,  Hanukkah or other Decemberish gift-giving holiday? What bikeishness did you give or receive, and is it yielding benefits already?

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5 thoughts on “My Bikey Christmas”

  1. steve w. says:

    OK, it wasn’t so special, but while out riding my tandem with my wife, the chain snapped Maybe from the cold. Maybe from too much torque. Maybe because it was a cheap chain. Nonetheless, it snapped. Our Hanukkah present to each other was both a new chain and new derailieur. Looking forward to a few more rides before years’ end.

  2. I too dread locking up my bike yet lock it up we must. I received a new Brooks saddle for my birthday, which is in December. The saddle was expensive enough that it counts for Christmas too. I was advised by my LBS to attach it until summer or endure a long, uncomfortable break in period.

  3. BluesCat says:

    Karen – you’re gonna want to get a small cable lock to loop through the seat rails of that Brooks and down through the bike frame somewhere; especially if your saddle is quick-release. Although if your seat post is quick release, you could always just QR it and take it with you (you have to deal with the seat post grease, then).

    No bike toys for BC this Xmas. 🙁 All I got was a head cold from one of my granddaughters.

  4. norm says:

    I got fancy lights! I am very excited.

  5. My BF and I went to Copenhagen for our Christmas presents to each other. We stocked up on Copenhagen-y bike parts; he got a set of magnetic lights and I got a cool front basket and skirt guard. Best Christmas ever!

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