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Thread: Impermanence of objects and emotional value

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    Default Impermanence of objects and emotional value

    What do you do with a frame that holds strong emotional value when it gets trashed? Do you hang it on a wall? Remove it from your life entirely? Turn it into art?

    This morning I was hit by a car. I'm okay. My bike, built for me 5 years ago while living in France, is not okay. In fact, it is totaled. The fork, front wheel, handlebars and assorted bits are smoked, too. I couldn't care less about the Columbus Futura fork or the Thomson handlebars, they are function over form and mean only to me the purpose they serve. The frame, however, carries with it the memories of 5 years, some 13 countries and 30,000 miles worth of riding. It's been loaded with bags to bikepack the length of Sweden, and raced in the borderlands of Spain. Then it moved here to Oregon with me and has seen no small amount of rainy days, long winding roads through the mountains, and the occasional amicable KOM battle between friends. But now it is no longer a bike, per se. How do we say goodbye to these things? I wish it hurt less in the heart than the hip and knee that swell as we speak, but the hardest hit is in my gut.

    Really, though: what do you do with a frame like that? I've got space in the barn to hang it for posterity, but I never know if that will just be a lingering painful memory.


    Oh yeah, anyone want to part ways with a 54cm roadie? Something with good genes.
    "Do you want ants? Because that's how you get ants."

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    Default Re: Impermanence of objects and emotional value

    Glad you are okay. If you get any lingering issues. pain or weird bruises appear, be sure to visit a doctor for a thorough check if you haven't already. Just sayin'.

    At least initially you will want to keep the bike just for settling the details of the incident.

    I think a barn is a good place to hang a frame that is no longer rideable. Especially if you aren't sure what to do with it except that you aren't ready quite yet to throw it away. Put a peg on a rafter (if your barn has them) and hang it up. It is just a thing, but so is a worn out tractor or an old hat or whatever else ends up sitting in a barn for a while.
    Jorn Ake
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    Default Re: Impermanence of objects and emotional value

    Glad to hear you're okay, and sorry about the bike.

    The ones that haven't mattered to me have been put in the recycling.

    The one - there's only one - that I care about is hanging in my parents' garage. I'll leave it there as long as they'll tolerate it. I can look in on it when I visit, but I don't need to see it every day.

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    Default Re: Impermanence of objects and emotional value

    Glad you're not damaged too badly.

    We had 2 bikes that had a lot of emotional value...one being the first 'race' bike my wife ever got when we first got together, and the bike she rode when we got married. The former we recently sold to a friend that was wanting to get into road riding. Wouldn't have sold it to anyone else. The latter is hanging on the wall in the garage. It's cracked, but I can't get rid of it.
    -Dustin

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    Default Re: Impermanence of objects and emotional value

    Quote Originally Posted by j44ke View Post
    Glad you are okay. If you get any lingering issues. pain or weird bruises appear, be sure to visit a doctor for a thorough check if you haven't already. Just sayin'.

    At least initially you will want to keep the bike just for settling the details of the incident.

    I think a barn is a good place to hang a frame that is no longer rideable. Especially if you aren't sure what to do with it except that you aren't ready quite yet to throw it away. Put a peg on a rafter (if your barn has them) and hang it up. It is just a thing, but so is a worn out tractor or an old hat or whatever else ends up sitting in a barn for a while.
    Thanks - I have developed a very significant fear of enclosed spaces like a doctor's office over the course of the past year (probably not aided by the fact that I can easily go two weeks without seeing or speaking to anyone other than my wife, some sheep, and a whole bunch of chickens), but I'll monitor the development of anything worth worrying about. For the moment the frame is going to a local shop for a full assessment of damages - the woman who hit me grabbed her purse and offered to pay me on the spot but I'm not sure she understood the cost of a bike of this nature. I'm sure she'll be a bit shell-shocked when she sees the damages, but maybe next time don't hit someone with your car?

    Quote Originally Posted by caleb View Post
    Glad to hear you're okay, and sorry about the bike.

    The ones that haven't mattered to me have been put in the recycling.

    The one - there's only one - that I care about is hanging in my parents' garage. I'll leave it there as long as they'll tolerate it. I can look in on it when I visit, but I don't need to see it every day.
    The bike I was riding when I started dating my wife hung in our first home together - I was hit by a drunk driver in Chicago while riding to her apartment late one night and it crunched my first ever road bike (1983 Bianchi Sport) like a tin can. When we left the US it ended up going to the bin. It's the only bike that ever meant enough to me to deserve wall space. Dragging it to France never seemed like a reasonable option, though.
    @j44ke, a peg in the rafters is probably the ideal resting place for this one. Though the robins who've nested in the eaves will surely find a way to use it as a nest, as they did to the dead flail mower.
    "Do you want ants? Because that's how you get ants."

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    Default Re: Impermanence of objects and emotional value

    @Octave Can you make a birdhouse out of it?

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    Default Re: Impermanence of objects and emotional value

    Quote Originally Posted by Octave View Post
    Really, though: what do you do with a frame like that? I've got space in the barn to hang it for posterity, but I never know if that will just be a lingering painful memory.
    We're kinda going through that exact same dilemma right now. Almost two years ago my wife was involved in a catastrophic crash that destroyed both her body and her favorite bike. The body has been repaired as well as can be expected, and while she will never have the full range of motion and comfort she once did, she's able to ride a bike again. The frame however is a total loss. And she loved that frame! Custom-built for her by Carl Strong in 2010, it was everything she ever wanted in a road bike and more.

    And right now it's still hanging in our bike room right next to all the functioning bikes, a constant reminder of the accident and the loss. But we agreed that since she'll eventually have a new road bike built up using all the components that can be scavanged from this broken frame, it's easier to leave it all intact rather than strip it down and then have to keep track of all those components. Eventually the whole bike will get shipped back to Carl (she's already put a deposit on this new road frame) and he'll transfer the components from the old frame to the new one, at which point he'll have the unenviable task of disposing of the old frame in whatever way seems environmentally responsible and emotionally dignified.

    But meanwhile the missus gets to stare at it every day, and sometimes that's nice and sometimes it isn't. I don't envy her. If we had a barn that we didn't have to walk past every single day we'd probably hang it up there as an art/shrine/memento. But right now our "bike room" is just a corner of the living room, so it's a constant reminder.

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    Default Re: Impermanence of objects and emotional value

    My wife is an artist and she's done some projects where she pins maps and photos to a framed board then pours clear acrylic to seal it all in. You could do something similar with photos or maps that commemorate things you did on the bike, then mount the frame to the board.
    Weight Doper

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    Default Re: Impermanence of objects and emotional value

    Took the headbadge off the Fast Boy I was riding and trashed the frame. The headbadge is floating around somewhere in my toolbox.

    Live with the scars. Don't hang the frame up. A mangled frame isn't wall art. Its a reminder of a bad day. Get another bike and move on atmo
    Got some cash
    Bought some wheels
    Took it out
    'Cross the fields
    Lost Control
    Hit a wall
    But we're alright

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    Default Re: Impermanence of objects and emotional value

    Quote Originally Posted by chasea View Post
    Took the headbadge off the Fast Boy I was riding
    didn't know you had one of Ezra's bikes...

    SPP
    My name is Peter Miller.

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    Default Re: Impermanence of objects and emotional value

    Quote Originally Posted by chasea View Post
    Took the headbadge off the Fast Boy I was riding and trashed the frame. The headbadge is floating around somewhere in my toolbox.

    Live with the scars. Don't hang the frame up. A mangled frame isn't wall art. Its a reminder of a bad day. Get another bike and move on atmo
    This is what I'd do.

    And glad to hear you're ok, Octave. That's the most important part.
    "I guess you're some weird relic of an obsolete age." - davids

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    Default Re: Impermanence of objects and emotional value

    Glad youíre OK. Thatís whatís actually important.

    Hang it up for a bit. Think about it. Thank it for its service and when youíre ready, toss it. Itís just stuff. Iíve gotten rid of stuff I thought was super important to me because it was with me during meaningful times. When it was gone I not only didnít miss it, I wondered why I got hung up on it.

    Donít worry about stuff. Worry about health and family and experiences and making the lives of others just a bit better than before. Stuff? Donít worry about that. Grieve it for a bit then toss it. A bit might be a few hours or days but not months or years probably.
    La Cheeserie!

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    Default Re: Impermanence of objects and emotional value

    My mom had to move to an assisted living this week. So glad my sister put my 66 cm 1982 Zullini in her Attic.
    That bike had less trail than Jan Heines. I toured months over Belgium France Spain an Italy on it loaded up.
    I dream of doing a similar trip on THAT bike 40 years later.
    Not because it was good ( although a super steep HA does well with luggage on the front) but because I have a connection with it that is way beyond words.

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    Default Re: Impermanence of objects and emotional value

    Quote Originally Posted by chasea View Post
    Took the headbadge off the Fast Boy I was riding and trashed the frame. The headbadge is floating around somewhere in my toolbox.

    Live with the scars. Don't hang the frame up. A mangled frame isn't wall art. Its a reminder of a bad day. Get another bike and move on atmo
    Along these lines, is there a way to use just a part of it as a memento - like lopping off the head tube to use as a pen pot, or something?

    I agree, for me seeing the whole frame would/could be a reminder of the accident; but having a part of the frame that still has a function would be cool.

    Glad to hear you're ok, btw.

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    Default Re: Impermanence of objects and emotional value

    I second what the resident pilot is preaching.

    This doesn’t have to be a question that’s answered with permanence. I often battle with trying to make things permanent and constantly remind myself, life is dynamic and fluid. Shit happens and shit changes.

    If it were me, I’d hang onto it until it’s replaced with some that’ll give you a future that’ll live up to the past.

    Consider yourself lucky enough to be able to make this decision.
    Rick

    If the process is more important than the result, you play. If the result is more important than the process, you work.

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    Default Re: Impermanence of objects and emotional value

    You will know. Trust your gut.

    Alternately, the tubes minus lugs and drilled will make terrific wind chimes.

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    Default Re: Impermanence of objects and emotional value

    The important point in all this is that you are in, comparatively speaking, one piece.

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    Default Re: Impermanence of objects and emotional value

    Not sure why the frame would be less function over form than the mass produced handlebar and fork. The only difference is it was specifically built for you but objectively a bicycle is just a tool to move from A to B, go around in circle or play like a hamster in front of a screen.

    The frame died, the memories and photos will remain with or without it.
    --
    T h o m a s

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    Default Re: Impermanence of objects and emotional value

    It is easy for me to say, but I would keep what is left, and preserve it; I'd preserve it as a reminder of the great times you had on that bike. No-one can take those from you. Just because the bike is no longer able to give you any more doesn't make what you had any less valuable.

    Wordsworth wrote about something similar:

    Though nothing can bring back the hour
    Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
    We will grieve not, rather find
    Strength in what remains behind

    Intimations of immortality is worth reading in situations like this.

    I hope it works out.

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    Default Re: Impermanence of objects and emotional value

    If I remember, you’re doing Agricultural work without gas power. Why not repurpose the thing into 5-6 farm style tools? Cut a tube intersection out, smash one end in a vise to create a small hoe. Create a handle for a barn door with the head tube lugs. Smaller tubes or dropouts can be used as gate latches.
    The thing could literally live on across your farm in ways you would run into it multiple times a day.
    Jason Babcock

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