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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