By Paul Guttenberg
It is a marvelous thing when a community comes together. Different people, personalities and predilections combine for the benefit of all.
This is what occurred when the 15-person human-powered vehicle known as the Busycle was in need. Left outside, exposed to the elements, it surely was going to deteriorate. We attempted to keep it covered with tarps, but stormy weather would find a way in. Mother Nature had been uncharacteristically kind with mild weather so far this winter, but we knew that could not last.
The last article in this very gazette contained a plea for assistance. It was swiftly answered by the good folks at the El Macero Country Club. The manager there felt he could make room in an indoor maintenance facility and give the Busycle the protection it required to last the winter relatively unscathed.
Thanks to the coordinated efforts of numerous volunteers, moving the behemoth went from planning to execution in short order.
Cyclists from the Davis Bike Club were joined by members and staff from the El Macero Country Club as we first unwrapped and then unleashed the Busycle on the streets of our fair burg. Support vehicles followed us.
Our route was very long in order to avoid any overpasses. As we pedaled along the frontage road along Interstate 80, cars and trucks honked and waved as the Busycle cruised along at speeds nearing five miles per hour.
At one point, we had to cross the train tracks, and the rise leading to them brought our pace to a crawl. Someone raised the question of who had checked the train schedule. We were not exactly going to race through the crossing. At the very apex, everyone had to stop pedaling in order to shift the transmission of the mighty beast. We slowed to a halt astride dual sets of tracks.
Peering as far as they could see into the distance, all the riders maintained an alert vigil for any signs of an approaching locomotive. While no evacuation drills had been conducted, each had a plan to swiftly abandon ship. Fortunately, we were long gone before either Amtrak or Union Pacific arrived.
It took a lot of time and effort on everyone’s part, but finally we rolled into the maintenance yard and managed to get the Busycle safely under cover. Graciously, the folks at El Macero Country Club provided much-needed refreshments. Legs a little sore, we were happy and satisfied to have found the Busycle a home.
In the coming months, El Macero will be treated to the Busycle plying its quiet streets with friends and neighbors aboard. By this spring, the Busycle should be free to visit our lovely downtown area for special events. Rescued by a community of volunteers, it remains a community resource.
— Paul Guttenberg is a Davis resident and bicycling enthusiast. To offer a Davis Bicycles! column, write to Matt Biers-Ariel or Mont Hubbard at [email protected] or log on to http://www.bikedavis.info to see instructions for authors.