It must have been love. But it’s over now. She left town at the end of January. I remember when she’d leave Denver every winter, but that was long ago.
We’ve been year-round for a while. Then, out of nowhere, a thunderbolt to my heart. I learned it on a blog. She was leaving Denver. And me.
Our relationship lasted nearly a decade. It was mostly physical. And for convenience. What a ride we had! Six-hundred-ninety-six to be exact. It’s all recorded.
I knew there were other men, but I didn’t care. And there were ladies. Fine. Some may have loved her more, but it didn’t affect what we had. We were built for each other. At 6’5” and well over two hundred pounds, I worried we’d not be a good fit. But she was perfect. Her sturdy frame was my ideal.
She was so strong, she didn’t need that horizontal middle bar, which has ruined many testicular fortunes. She was a sleek, tomgirl Trekkie. Perhaps she wasn’t everyone’s idea of beauty, and lacked the biggest bells and whistles, but her little bell worked just fine, and she lit up at night. I loved her large, comfy seat.
I’ll treasure our rides on the South Platte and Cherry Creek trails. There we were with the flowers blooming, the birds singing, the homeless sleeping and the breeze blowing through our bodies. What a great break from the organized chaos of central Denver.
We’d travel together to the Denver courthouses. She made clear my briefcase was too big, so I got something smaller to fit in her basket. I never tried to change her. She gave me the basic workout I needed. 24/7. Weather permitting. And now, she’s gone.
When she first came to town, some scorned her as an immigrant; the so-called Other. Exotic and licentious, she welcomed any adult with money to climb aboard and ride. Dan Maes, Colorado’s Republican nominee for governor, warned she’d be our downfall, branding her a communist, sent by the United Nations, to further opiate Colorado. But Maes was way wrong. He and the GOP paid a big price at the ballot box.
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She was so fun and easy, my lady in red. She’d sometimes change her look, wearing purple, green and even Broncos’ blue and orange, but red was her natural color and the way she’ll be remembered. All the colors are gone from my life now.
I’d had others before. My first time was long ago in Montreal with a French model named Bixi. I threw caution to the wind and agreed to her exhaustive conditions in a language I didn’t understand. I paid some Canadian dollars and got a thrill of my life in return. We explored her wondrous city together. I paid for 24 hours. And then another. I was hooked.
I further confess I’ve ridden with others all over America. There were sweet rides in Washington, D.C., enjoying the entire National Mall with speed and wild abandon. I’ve cruised the outer edges of Manhattan. My teenage son Sam and I saw Hamilton at a Sunday matinee and then rode two beauties downtown to Hamilton’s actual grave at Trinity Church. Sam was close enough to being old enough.
In these strange cities and with different models, I’d sense where to dock. Home in Denver, I knew almost all the locations. There were 89 Denver docking stations where I could check her in and out. It was like a game of Concentration, remembering when and where to dock, mindful that anything more than 30 minutes, and I’d be charged more.
I always tried to finish in time. There were only 15 times I had to pay extra. But it was worth it. She advised me to use protection, but I confess I rarely did. The warning was right there to read on the front of her mid-section. Wear a helmet. Use hand signals. B-courteous.
Every detail of our history’s known. We’ve been tracked. As Dan Maes predicted, our data’s been kept by an entity affiliated with government. Last week, I met my ladies’ keepers, Mike Pletsch and Sue Baldwin, at their big crib at 2737 Larimer. They showed me my data on their computer. Talk about big brother. But these Denver Bike Share bigwigs were kind and consoled me. They’d heard the same sad love story from others.
Mike and Sue were upbeat. They told me not to worry and I’ll like their next new thing. But the models will be different. Docking may be a thing of the past. Regular dockers like me have dwindled.
People now pick-up cheap, young substitutes just lying there on the sidewalk, or in the gutter. I’ve sampled these modern rides with their fancy digitalia and electricity — new robotic models who come alive for the cameras. It doesn’t feel natural. Why all this artificial assistance? How are we supposed to burn calories when electricity does all the work? Three speeds are all I ever needed.
Thank goodness not all Colorado cities have let her go. I can find her still in Boulder, so that will have to do. I’ll make that 30-mile drive, just for the thrill of one more 30-minute ride on a B-cycle.
Craig Silverman is a former Denver chief deputy DA who also has worked in the media for decades. Craig is columnist at large for The Colorado Sun. He practices law at the Denver law firm of Springer & Steinberg, P.C.
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