Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A New Year, a new post, and a bike's new name...

Happy New Year greetings to all!

2013 has started out sunny and cold in the Willamette Valley--perfect weather for some delightful biking about town on parochial duties. Here is a photo from New Year's Day, taken by Willamette's Law School while on my way home from church:

It is a rare moment when the law library is closed and the bicycle racks are empty!

New Year's Day in our faith tradition is called the Feast of the Holy Name (the 8th day of Christmas, and the day when Jesus received his name). It is an important day that gets a bit overwhelmed by its occurring on January 1.

While thinking about the significance of the Holy Name, I realized what my bike's name was going to be. Things often go like that, I find. You just can't keep the sacred from having an impact on everything else....

While I don't name everything in my life, sometimes a name just comes along for an item. My VW is named Eggbert (it is white and egg-shaped). I had a venerable Electrolux that ended up getting named Hercules (it was pretty amazing, considering how old it was). Our kitchen compost bin (executed in the style of an old metal garbage can) is named Oscar.

My old Raleigh seemed to be a Walter, and my Dutch bike was named Gabriel (it was purchased on the Feast of the Annunciation). When I acquired my Raleigh Classic Roadster last year, I was tempted to name it right away; but, every time I got to thinking about a particular name, it seemed forced. It just wasn't time.

While I was biking to Church on New Year's Day, the right name suddenly clicked: Hugo--in honor of Hugo Eckener, the sixth-sense genius Zeppelin pilot and president of the Zeppelin company through its most fascinating years. He was a very creative, adventurous, and dynamic figure--and at the same time quite a traditional character who enjoyed life greatly. I rather admire that combination.

So, Hugo it is.

Our parish had a Holy Name Day Mass that morning, and I biked over to church for it. The morning was quite frosty, so I took it rather slowly to church (I didn't want the first day of the year to be the occasion of a visit to the ER). But coming back was mostly clear of frost and I exulted in the sun and the crisp (dry) air on the first day of the New Year.

This was made even more enjoyable by two of the bike-related Christmas gifts I received this year: Schwalbe Delta Cruiser tires in their natural rubber color. They dress Hugo up quite elegantly, I think. They also sport reflective sidewalls and have excellent treads and a little more cushion.

There's just something about a black upright bike with natural color tires...

My travels today took me through the grounds of the Oregon State Hospital. Made famous in the movie version of "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest,"

Recently remodeled (as well as, in parts, replaced), the original main building is now in excellent shape. I bike through here regularly. I stopped off in front of the main entrance for a quick picture of Hugo, and also of the sunset glimpsed through the trees on this short January day.

It was a good day to be out and about. I hope that you enjoyed a good start to your New Year...and that some contemplative utility cycling figured into it!

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