Friday, January 29, 2021

The story of life on two wheels


One more than one occasion I have told the story here about the two-wheeled path my life has often taken. I won't cover the same ground again today. Those stories are easy enough to find on the chronology page above. I re-read them just now. They brought back fond memories, and while I read, it was like traveling in time. I could see the scenes unfolding in my mind, experiencing the same emotions I felt all those years ago. That is the wonder of keeping a journal, and the amazing thing about keeping one online, like this.

I don't recall explaining how Life on Two Wheels became the new name for this journal. I looked over the posts I wrote when the new look was unveiled, but I didn't find that topic covered.

 Life on Two Wheels owes its name in no small way to my mom.

My mother was someone who was always ready for whatever the day's mission was a good half-hour to forty-five minutes earlier than the most punctual person would have dared.

It was annoying. 

Picture Queen Elizabeth, standing ramrod straight, in a signature bland sky blue cloth coat, her purse hanging on her arm bent at the elbow, a matching bland hat topping off the look, with a slight  but unmistakable "we are not amused" scowl.

That was my mother standing in the hallway, visibly annoyed that she was the only one in the household poised for departure. When, moments later, my mother would begin hectoring us to leave without further delay, she would often plead "Please, I want to get going, I really don't want to be heading there on two wheels!"

"... on two wheels..."

Whenever that happened, I pictured a car careening around a corner on two wheels.

Perversely, I developed a certain appreciation for things going off on two wheels. In my way of seeing things, it evoked a dashing adventure rather than the impending disaster my mother always feared.

And that's a part of how this journal got its new name.  The other part is well... two wheels.

Today is, by my reckoning, 31 days to Bromptons. By that I mean that our Brompton bikes are supposed to be in the production line, in London, within easy cycling range of Buckingham palace, on week 7, from the 15th to the 21st of February. Once built, they arrive here within two weeks. Hence the 31 days. Yes, I know, that's foolishly optimistic, what with Covid mucking up the works.

If it sounds like I'm counting down the days, I certainly am not. I have an Excel function doing that for me.

What to do as the dawn of a new two-wheeled adventure remains just over the horizon?

Work on a logo of course.

A new adventure like this deserves its own branding.

I wouldn't dream of misusing or abusing the manufacturer's logos, that just wouldn't do. 

So I came up with my own that is mine and mine alone, to do with as I please.

I also ordered two new bike helmets, a white one for Susan (her choice) and a black one for me.

Hmmmm... the temptation to order stickers...


WhenIRide said...

I don't understand the logo.... am I a tad dense?

Motorcycle Men.

David Masse said...

Not dense in the least Ted.

Brompton makes one basic bicycle in many variants. The frame and its unique design is the constant: it’s a small 16”-wheel frame that folds in thirds. Once folded, two Bromptons can fit in the trunk of a Smart car. It is said to fit in the overhead compartment on a plane. It’s a testament to the single-minded brilliance of its inventor, a British engineer who has produced these iconic bikes for more than twenty years.

Designed specifically for commuting, these bikes have dedicated owners who use them to travel long distances all over the world. The wheelbase is similar to a full-size bike and they can pace those bikes nicely.

Brompton’s logo is a triptych showing the bike unfolded, semi-folded, and completely folded. My logo depicts the bike folded, but is not a literal depiction since it omits the frame. It’s an image of the folded Brompton like a cubist portrait shows a face, but not in a talented way.

Steve Williams said...

I must be dense as well David. Where will the new logo appear? A new logo for the blog? A new blog? On a T-shirt?

I'll have to wait and see these bikes. As much as I try, I've never been able to generate much excitement around bicycles, even when I was riding. I suspect my aversion to physical activity was at work. Too many boring practices for the swim team and track in high school wrecked my desire to feel physically pushed anymore.

I hate sports. Well, hate is a strong word. More accurately, I'm completely disinterested in the thrill of human competition.

Man. The pandemic is getting to me. Six more days until they fire the Pfizer vaccine in my arm...

David Masse said...

My keen interest in logos and branding deserves its own post. I’ll try to oblige today. And no, you are also not dense in the slightest.

As for bicycles, it’s complicated.

It has to do with getting exercise yes, but that is what I will say is an unnecessary spin-off effect and by no means a driving force. Let’s call exercise a collateral benefit, as opposed to collateral damage.

The two things driving my strong desire are, in second place, a love of the engineering brilliance that makes these bikes so utterly perfect as vehicles able to deliver the most compelling benefit, which is the first and most important driver, and that is that they will allow me to explore.

Exploring is a major benefit my Vespa delivers. I discovered so much commuting on my Vespa, and that was in a city I had called home for a lifetime.

I get the same Vespa-borne exploration pleasure here in Toronto but... even a nimble go-anywhere Vespa has many places it simply cannot go.

With a Brompton as a passenger on my Vespa, I will be able to go almost anywhere. In Montreal Mount-Royal and the Lachine Canal linear park are prime Brompton destinations. Toronto offers many more miles of linear ravine parklands to explore, places where bicycles are welcome, and Vespas are not.

That is what is driving my desire bicycle-wise.

As for gym experiences, trials, and tribulations, there were almost none. As a result of stubborn refusal and dumb luck, the gym was not really a feature of my schooling, and team sports absolutely not at all.

I’ll be back with a post on branding.

The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.