Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Something Old, Something New, and Something with Four Wheels

A lovely vintage Schwinn, a common sight in a little college town like Flagstaff, locked on the sidewalk of San Francisco Street. I have a deep appreciation for older things. I love vintage clothes, antique furniture, old photographs, and 100-year old houses with gently worn furniture on the front porch. I've enjoyed all of the above but never a vintage bike (make mine a Schwinn, thank you). I'd love to find one and attach a nice roomy basket (filled with puppies)like the one pictured here. This bike has been places and at one time someone brought it home brand-spanking new. Years later another someone uncovered it, maybe from a junk shop or grandma's garage, and decided to take it to school or ride it to work. Wouldn't it be fun to know all this bike's stories?

Of course, there is nothing wrong with modernity. I'm talking about the solar powered trash compactor, one of several placed in downtown Flagstaff as part of the City's sustainability and downtown enhancement efforts. I am a big fan of solar and wind energy, both of which seems to be finally gaining some steam in Arizona. Renewable energy . . . bike commuting . . . .hmmm, could the average bike commuter tend to lean toward such crazy notions? You tell me!

Close by the solar powered trash compactor and around the corner from the vintage Schwinn, a crowd gathered 'round this tiny, red Smart Car, whose owner packed some shopping into the rear of her vehicle, and asked questions about storage and comfort. The owner had no complaints. The Smart Car, the only car I think about owning if and when the dog-friendly Honda Element finally kicks the bucket, is a refreshing sight among the many monsterously large trucks and SUVs that seem to proliferate in Flagstaff. If one must own a car, and for the present, we must (heavy sigh), the Smart Car seems a reasonable choice, even in Northern Arizona.


Dottie said...

I love vintage Schwinns! My neighbor, the one renting my garage spot, has a Smart Car and it is very small, indeed. So small that there's still plenty of room for all our bikes in the garage. :)

Amy said...

Unless there's a space (like urban parking) issue, I haven't been that impressed with Smart Cars. My diesel Jetta gets the same or better fuel efficiency and can carry five people (or our dogs!) and a ton in the trunk (and bikes on the roof!) while still being a compact car. Their energy impact and fuel costs are similar (Smart Cars take premium fuel). I guess the Smart is a cheaper vehicle, which would be a plus. I guess if I were going for a more environmental approach than the Jetta, I'd go to a hybrid.

What we need are diesel-electric hybrids! Or we can keep riding bikes :)