Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A beautiful celebration 

The melding of the lives of a bike and human person was an act of which I’d never heard (or guessed) before last month when my new friend told me that at the Multnomah Country Bike Fair she would be wedding her beloved-Sparky the Schwinn. Thinking her a bit daft, but funny, I offered to be her best man, never guessing that she would take me up on the offer. Well, she did.

Honest to god invitations went out a few days prior to the event (electronically, of course. She is quite the environmentalist) and the wedding party was formally asked to participate, and the wedding colors were now set out (lime green and orange).

As this was my first Bicycle Wedding, I felt it appropriate to do the event up in style. The morning of, I made the rounds of local thrift shops, searching for the perfect outfit. I returned home with orange (neon) suspenders and green pants. I already had the green shoes and orange shirt at home. To these items I added a santa claus tie (the only appropriately colored tie I had) and the green camo army hat that first became mine back in 1993 for a canoe trip in Canada.

Thusly attired, I mounted my own Schwinn and headed down to the park. Looking at the pictures of the wedding, you might guess that I stood out in the crowd due to the obnoxiousness brightness of it all. You would be guessing wrong. While I may have garnered some stares on the ride over, I barely fit in at the fair. Remember, this is Portland, OR; the biking community here is not only huge, but quirky as hell. It’s a sight to behold, and it’s awesome. If I’d thought to take pictures I would put those in; I won’t try to describe the attire of the other folks there. Imagine….anything striking, and it was there.

The ceremony took place on the edge of the fair, behind the tent that read (something like) “Marry Your Bike” in bright colors. The ‘priest’ did have a collar. As well as a pierced septum and ear plugs (tattoos, of course). A very nice guy. We chatted up at the altar as Sparky and I awaited Steph’s approach.

As priestman told me how this wedding was already eclipsing the 12 previous ceremonies he’d conducted that day, Steph was busy arranging the many guests (perhaps 20 invited, the rest comprised of curious bystander and 2 ecstatic self-proclaimed wedding crashers (I suggested they set their sights a bit higher)) so as to create an aisle. That done, the crowd started singing a wedding march (some random song Steph came up with ); mom and brother came up the ailse, followed by 3 impromptu bridesmaids, and finally by the bride and her dad (who gave Sparky a swift kick on his way past. Of course he did! Sparky and Steph are obviously on familiar terms-before their wedding!).

Stepping up, Steph recited her vows in a tremulous voice (me and priestman tried hard not to laugh. The rest of the crwd was not so behaved)(PM almost read off his own vows, until I told him that we had our own. He was impressed). I then vowed for the bike and PM gave the rings with which they became wed. A quick smooch and the couple rode off, smashing into the marriage tent (riding a bike is not easy in a wedding dress, I assume).

A short reception was held in the shade, complete with cookies and muffins and bootlegged beer.

That done, we headed off for the bar. Steph and I rode our respective Schwinns, while everyone else drove.

This was the best part of the day. Steph’s dad showed up with a string of cans which we tied to her seatpost. It only took a block before the first can broke its line and bounded across the road, quickly followed by another and another. After these initial 3 cans, I gave up chasing them down. My pockets were full, we had turned onto a major road and we were ‘late’ for the bar. I now turned my attention to capturing the moment on film. Steph rode down the middle of the center lane (she’d changed out of her dress) with her veil flying in the wind and the remaining clanking along behind her (occasionally dashing away). The sidewalk tables of bars and restaurants were filled with people who all stopped talking to gawp at the spectacle. Cars honked (in celebration, not in annoyance at the clanking bride and idiot chasing photog), people clapped and cheered, it was awesome. I finally managed to get my camera out and prepped (somehow without crashing) and snapped a couple pictures from behind as we cruised. I rule.

That is pretty much it. A strange day, but a lot of fun. I’ll put up some more photos later

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Name: Corey
Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

I'm on a journey with no destination. The path is constantly changing direction but there are always adventures to be had. "Never" and "always" have left my lexicon.

WWW http:/www.jimspeak.blogspot.com