It occurred to me early on that I needed a few methods for collecting these bike stories, if this project was going to get off the ground. The project originally started when I was working the Valet Bike Parking gigs. Whenever a cyclist would handed over their beloved equipment, I would politely begin conversation with “Oh, nice bike”. Invariably I would be treated with some wonderful tale. You can’t expect everyone with a great story to use Valet Bike Parking though, and it’s kind of a weather-dependent activity. So I needed other venues.
Enter the business card.
Now, when I’m walking or cycling along any given street in the GTA (and you’d be surprised where I find myself) if I chance upon a bike that attracts my attention, I leave this against the bike lock. Sometimes the card is ignored, but often the person is intrigued. I’ve met some pretty influential people this way. Regardless, the stories are always worth capturing.
Here’s a bit of history on the card. The sprocket is included because it represents my very favourite story, which I may never be able to include in the book.
One day while working at a VBP event at the Wychwood Barns Farmer’s Market, a strikingly handsome South American man entered the pen with his bike. “Nice bike!” I chirped up, as always.
“Weeeell, yes this is a nice bike, but it’s not my favourite. The love of my life is here.” He was pointing at his throat, where a small bike sprocket was hanging from a chain. Naturally, I wanted more detail.
He went on to explain that “the love of his life” had been left locked against something while he ran an errand, and when he had returned to the spot, the bike was gone. All that was left was the sprocket, lying discarded on the ground. He wears it tenderly, near his heart.
And now you know why I started collecting these stories. Don’t be surprised if you find one of my cards—with a sprocket image commemorating his story—against the lock of your bike someday.