Hard to say "Goodbye"... to a "Steel Horse"

On July 19, 2009, the minor frame damage that my 1981 19" Lotus Excelle mixte bicycle withstood early in its life progressed to the point of making the vehicle unrideable. On July 25, I purchased a 2008 Specialized Dolce 44cm to replace it. The following week, I upgraded from cage clips to a clipless cleat system. Shortly after, the Excelle was placed in storage, with the thought of stripping it for parts, and/or selling it for parts. (As it turns out, I can’t use parts from that bicycle on either the Dolce or The Other Half’s Murray Vibe.)

Earlier this week, I spoke with the owner of a local bike shop in which both new and used vehicles are sold. While he doesn’t buy parts for scrap, he said he would be able to find good homes for the usable components and safely and properly dispose of the unusable frame.

Yesterday, I said my final “farewell” to the Excelle and left it in the bike shop owner’s hands.

While the system was not in rideable condition, it was still hard to let it go. The bike shop owner said that it’s that way for all of us. I couldn’t say, since the last time I “let a bicycle go”, it was to give my dad the Ross three-speed that was my “spare/bad-weather bike” because his doctor told him to ride for exercise – so it was not really “letting go”, in my mind. The Ross was still in good condition, and (somewhat perversely) probably had two or three times as many miles on it by the time my dad got it than my Excelle got in its entire life.

I know I “did the right thing”: the Excelle was just taking up space in storage, the Dolce is a much nicer ride (and I’m already over 390 miles on it in the 11 weeks I’ve had it), and the salvageable components from the Excelle will find good homes. Am I too attached to “things” – or do we all go through some sort of (possibly misplaced?) mourning when we lose an old, trusted vehicle?

I felt the same way a couple of weeks ago when my husband made me give up my beloved Subaru for a new car. It really didn’t have that much rust on it, and it only leaked in the way back when the rain was truly driving hard. Otherwise, totally reliable, and saved my life when I was rear-ended at 60 mph five years ago. I felt sad, driving out of the dealer’s parking lot, past the old gal.