Two Abandoned Bicycles On a Rack
Two Bicycles on a rack
We were having coffee on the outside patio of the Panera Bread Company at Coconut Pt. in Estero, Florida. It is one of the more idyllic gathering places to sit an idle away a golden morning in SW Florida. A soft wind was rustling the palm trees and the temperature was in the low 80’s. For late October, that is ideal. It is our custom to walk here several times a week, appreciating the four-mile journey on a balmy day in the midst of winter.
Our conversation this day once again turned to speculating on the two ancient bicycles locked to a small rack nearby. We had noticed them here last year and the year before that. The “girl’s bike” had a flat front tire. The “men’s” a flat rear tire. Both must have seen a succession of owners over the many years since they had emerged from the factory, glistening with chrome and new, shiny paint so many long years before. Like us, and many others our age, they were beginning to show the wear and tear of many years of usage.
We wondered who had left these aging relics here so many months ago. Similar in thought to Thornton Wilder’s classic, “The Bridge of San Luis Rey,” we wondered what quirk of life or fate had caused these aging conveyances to be abandoned. Had the owners been taken early in life by a tragic accident or fallen prematurely to illness? Or was it simply the offer of a ride home in an automobile, after a very long ride, seemed like the better idea to two people who had run very low on energy? Certainly, no self-respecting thief would bother to risk jail time for purloining these olden-wheeled chariots.
The once shiny finish, of the metallic paint of the bikes, had faded much even in these last few years. The Florida sun can be unrelenting and harsh in constant, unprotected dosage. A light coating of rust was forming on the chain drive and sprocket area, signaling perhaps the final descent into the last haul to the junkyard. The bikes seemed sort of sad in an unmoving tableau of the abandoned. Maybe they are a sculpture piece, reflective of the late stages of the human condition, left on display by a thoughtful artist? I wonder if we will ever know for sure?
I know that every time that we come here, we will look for these aging and abandoned relics and wonder again why they are here and who had left them? For now, like many old and abandoned things and people, they are a conversation piece that gets more interesting with time.
Joseph Xavier Martin