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Easy riders Skiddies and their bikes

Easy Riders

by Alex Alsup ’07 and Andrew Bernstein ’07

Almost everyone on campus has seen Tiffany Dwight ’06 cruising around on what looks like a Harley chopper missing the engine. She says, “The two questions I always get asked are ‘Where’d you get it?’ and ‘Can I ride it?’”

Dwight says she was looking on eBay for a bike when she stumbled across a Web site for custom-built choppers, and “I was, like, I gotta get this thing.” So she did, without realizing she would have to assemble it when it arrived. But it was all worth it: “It’s like I’m a child again, riding a bike by myself for the first time.” Around town, she adds, “when I’m riding down the street, people slow down next to me and shout, ‘Yeah, man!’”

Mongoose and its cobra.
Perched atop his Mongoose bike and wearing a blue hoodie, Cyrus Lubin ’07 evokes childhood memories of everyone’s favorite alien, ET. The retro bike has, in fact, been in Lubin’s family almost since ET’s release: Lubin’s brother bought it sixteen years ago. “I fixed it up a little,” Lubin says. “I put on these sick white tires, and I set the gear chains on fire, which somehow took the rust off.”

Since then “it’s like the perfect bike.” To thwart potential thieves, Lubin’s got the bike “on lock”—with a heavy-duty chrome chain wrapped around the frame like poison ivy.

Burnh-ing rubber.
Laura Burnham ’07 says she bought her “late ’60s or early ’70s” bicycle from a “really sketchy man” in Beverly, Mass. “He would find bikes in junkyards and flea markets and sell them out of his backyard. He sold this one to me for ten bucks.”

The bike is pretty well corroded, although she spent a summer reviving the thing. “There was rust everywhere, and the brakes and gears didn’t work,” says Burnham. She pauses. “The brakes still don’t really work,” she admits. As in any relationship, Burnham and her bike have had some issues cooperating: A wobbly frame and thin tires mean the bike is “pretty hard to balance on, so I’ve definitely taken a few diggers.”

Rough rider.
Not everyone bikes to get from point A to point B. Some do it to get from point A to point B faster than you…even if there are big rocks in the way. Tom Arnold ’07 rides a Trek Fuel EX 7 and is a member of the mountain and road-racing divisions of the Skidmore Cycling Club.

“The riding is really rugged, so stuff’s always breaking on the bike,” Arnold says disappointedly. Fortunately, local service shops have kept his bike running, even if Arnold has had more trouble keeping himself running. “I took a pretty nasty spill riding out around the stables the other day,” he says.

All I need is a miracle.
“This says the bike’s got 1,353 miles on it,” reports Jeff Baker ’08, tapping the odometer’s foggy glass, “but there’s no way that’s right.” Baker pulled the Schwinn Traveler, which used to belong to his mother, out of his garage this summer. “It was definitely a workhorse. But right now it’s kind of out of commission,” he says. “I’m just leaving it here for now, hoping someone comes by and puts air in the tires.” For any angels out there: Baker’s bike is stationed at a lamppost outside Kimball Hall.

Excerpted with permission from the Skidmore News of September 29, 2005.