Bicycle Diaries: Raleigh abuse

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Raleigh abuse

Have you ever rolled to the local airport? In Chicago at O'Hare Airport, it's not impossible ... but almost. Once you arrive, there are only two racks where the CTA Blue Line enters Terminal 1.

Bikers in Minneapolis-St. Paul ain't so lucky. The folks at The Lake Pepin 3speed Touring Club report that
Paul Casperson, who has depended upon his faithful 3-speed Raleigh since it was new in 1957, locked it at the Minneapolis International Airport while he departed on a 4-day business trip. Upon his return, he found his Trusty Steed vandalized and destroyed. Bruce Morrow has taken charge and will use what is left of the old gal to return Paul to the fold. To that end, we are hoping to locate a 23” Raleigh (or similar) frame. If you can help, please let me know via or call Bruce at 612-722-6019.
And this from The Star Tribune, 21 October 2006.
Leave your bike at the airport? Not a good idea, rider says.
Doug Grow

In 1957, Paul Caspersen bought a black, three-speed Raleigh bicycle for $90. This American classic carried Caspersen, now 70, through Europe, the Wisconsin and Minnesota countryside and, of course, the streets of Minneapolis.

In July, Caspersen needed to be at the Humphrey terminal for an early morning flight to Boston. Because buses weren't running at 3 a.m., the retired family counselor strapped a carry-on bag on the back of his bike and pedaled from his southeast Minneapolis home to the light-rail stop at the Metrodome. He placed his bike in the rack on the light-rail car, and man and machine were delivered to the Humphrey terminal.

Caspersen asked airport employees where he could lock up his bike.

They looked at him blankly and shrugged their shoulders.

Out of time, he locked his bike to an out-of-the way sign post inside the terminal and headed to the plane.

When he returned four days later, the bike was gone.

After several inquiries, he ended up at airport police headquarters in the Lindbergh terminal.

"My old friend was destroyed," Caspersen said. "The horizontal bar was cut all the way through, the seat was gone, the handlebars gone, the gears. ..."

The police officer who was assisting Caspersen was perplexed.

"'Why wouldn't your bike have pedals?' he asked me," Caspersen said. "I said I didn't know. He wondered why my bike didn't have a seat. I said I didn't know. Finally, he just said, 'Why is your bike wrecked?' "

No one seems to be able to answer that question. The best guess is that a maintenance crew was ordered to remove the bike and after workers cut through the lock, decided to keep on cutting.

Some people, Caspersen noted, just don't like bikes, or the people who ride them.

The bigger question, Caspersen said, is: Why doesn't the airport in one of the biking-est regions in the country have a place for bikes?

"We have places for bikes on light rail and buses," he said. "Why wouldn't we integrate the system so we have places for bikes at the airport?"

He called -- and left messages for -- politicians who have funneled millions of dollars into light-rail projects and bike trails.

"No one called me back," he said.

But Arlie Johnson, assistant airport director charged with running landside operations, said staff employees are working on the problem and hope to have it solved by spring.

Johnson also said that he hadn't heard of the demise of Caspersen's bike until this past week but that bike parking has become a concern, especially for airport employees.

"That's great news," said Caspersen when told that bike parking was on the drawing board.

But too late for the remaining pieces of an American classic, now bagged in his garage.

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Blogger iconoclasst said...

Sounds like the airports could learn a thing or two from some of the metro stops, at least here in Virgina.

Not bombproof, but enough to dissuade all but the most determined hooligan.

A shame; I feel for that dude.

24/10/06 14:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Frame has been repaired. Quality Bicycle Products is donating replacements for the missing parts that are still available. Seat, (B72) tires, cables, pedals. Bruce and I have everything else needed except for the type of brake levers Bruce wants to use, but
Pete Martin and Ron Storm both have them. The wheels are pretty bad, so Bruce is giving him a set and we'll stick a 22t and new chain on.

Even the BB was gone. It turns out the guy used to tour with the gent I got the Norman from, and has taken the Raleigh to Europe. Oberstar's office wants to use this event to point out a need to provide secure bike parking at airports.

27/10/06 14:40  

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