Chain Gang

It’s 1902 and we’re Dutch. We’re riding our only form of transportation – a bicycle – after a 10-hour workday on the farm. Traveling along the Holland countryside, nobody marvels that we’re pedaling a fixed-gear machine that sports badass grip tape.

Now, it’s 2009 and we’re in downtown Phoenix. We just locked up our alternative-transport device – a bicycle – at the local coffee shop. People give us the evil eye because the bike is (gasp!) a 10-speed that doesn’t include a “Food Not Bombs” decal plastered on the frame.

How did this happen? Why can’t bicycles just be the point-A-to-point-B vehicles that they were created to be? Oh, yeah, because, as a fellow cycling pal recently told us, “Everything is a fashion statement.” Sigh.

But whether you ride because you have to or want to pimp your ride to look more hip and indie, the Tempe Bike-a-Palooza/Coalition of Arizona Bicyclists Swap Meet events are both worth checking out. Pick up some spare bicycle parts during the Swap Meet, then go on a 12-miler during the Palooza.

Sun., April 5, 7 a.m.-noon, 2009