Monday, April 19, 2010

Bikes Outside: MagnaTude

This Monday's bike outside brings us to the Center for Urban and Global Studies on the Trinity College campus. This setting is the epitome of solid. The 19th-century brownstone, slate roofing, heavy door and massive lamp post hearken to another era. The very pavement on this chosen stretch of Vernon Street smacks of old world, old school, and old money. A solid, stalwart old bicycle would round out the scene nicely. Something with a long, storied history. A British roadster or an early Arnold, Schwinn & Co. machine would fit the setting, a Hartford-made Columbia would be better still. Yes-yes, that would do nicely.

As it happened, the classic velocipedes of yesteryear had prior engagements on this particular day, so today the part of bike-about-campus will be played by a young plebe, the Magna Glacierpoint. It may not have over a century of brand heritage behind it, but it does have plenty to say; things like: "15 SPEED!" "CANTILEVER BRAKES! INDEX SHIFTING!"

The Target-marketed Magna shares with many cheap bikes a penchant for over-stating the obvious. At some point, they would do well to simply label every component with descriptive blurbs. This would ease the bikes' serviceability and render owners manuals redundant. Think of all the paper they would save!

Magna is also the name of a discount cigarette brand, which I doubt is related to this bike. That does, however, remind me of the recently featured Marlboro Adventure Team bike and bring to mind a world of potential tobacco bike ideas. Think about it: a Virginia Slims women-specific design, a Parliament-labeled Retro British roadster (or go the Mothership Connection route.) Kool could market a sleek black city bike, Shaft-driven? Damn right! You get the idea. What a terrible idea.

Lest I spend this whole post slagging the box-store bike, I will pay it one earnest compliment. I like the color. It's not a stunningly beautiful shade of green, but it is an appealingly nostalgic hue that would look right at home on a 1969 Dodge Polara or a Schwinn Collegiate of a similar vintage. Sometimes, the right coat is all you need to fit in on campus.

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