Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A token of Stu's affection

I don't know how I stumbled upon this story--I think jumping from blog to blog to blog, but this is one of the sweetest gift/love/bicycle stories ever (scroll down for my comments below):

A friend of mine who is a bicycle aficionado recently created what is probably one of the most thoughtful birthday gifts I’ve ever encountered. In combining the two most important aspects of his life – cycling and his girlfriend, Maya –, Stu Campbell created a custom-assembled and handpainted masterpiece.

I interviewed Stu about the production, and Maya about her reaction. Here’s the lowdown about Maya Bankovic’s sick new ride:

northpublik: What was the impetus behind such a gift? Why not just a regular bike?
stu campbell: I have been riding in the city for over ten years and introduced Maya to city riding this past summer. She instantly loved it, even though she was either riding a friend’s bike significantly inferior to mine or my over-engineered mountain bike which was a little big and uncomfortable for her to ride. A difference of a couple centimetres here and there on a bike can really make an unbelievable difference in efficiency and enjoyment. So we spoke quite a bit about fit and what kind of bike she would buy for herself. I didn’t want a “regular or store bought bike” because, while I could get the fit right I would always have to make concessions regarding the overall look of the bike and quality of the parts. For example, a bike that fit the aesthetic criteria would have most of the right parts but the grips wouldn’t match the frame color or I didn’t like the pedals or the bike store had hidden a cheap freewheel in it etc. so rather than conceding even the smallest amount, and replacing the odd part, I just built it from scratch and chose every single part on the bike.

To read the rest:

The art on this bicycle is incredible, and reminds me of something Nikki McClure would draw. I especially like that Stu had to hide the bike frame in the closet and the fact that the bike shop was so close to his house, they would both pass it and he would see it hanging in the window. I like the idea of the subway map tying all the small illustrations together. I sort of understood Stu's hesitation to write his personal messages to Maya on the top of the frame, but they're also lost on the underside. He should have written them on the handlebars, or maybe if he was embarassed to write her cute things, he should've written her something cooler that was visible on the frame...

This bike is such a piece of art, I'd be too scared to ride it. I know they said they use $400 dollars of chains to lock it up, but even leaving it for a short amount of time would make me nervous. It's so personal, it's like someone emptied the pages of a sketch journal on this white frame. I think it's beautiful.

The way this story ends does no justice to the cute couple. Although Stan is clearly a very thoughtful boyfriend, there's no way Maya's intention for riding the bike around town is to "reach her man." Maybe this is some Canadian blog joke that I'm missing, but I feel like that last sentence took away from the sentimentality of the whole thing. Sigh.

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