Surly is not speaking to me. Not a word since yesterday. I told him we were going out to get an ice cream cone, then ended up at a bike shop on the outskirts of town, scraping his skin with a dull, rusty knife and painting his wounds a dirty red.
I was left with no other choice. Within 24-hours of pulling Surly from his box and riding down Cartagena’s history rich streets, one thing became glaringly obvious: Surly was too sexy for his own good.
Everywhere people stared at his shiny components that, with each pedal stroke, clicked a quietly confident yet uppity “look at me.” His delicate Eggshell white skin glistened in the Caribbean sun, guiding thievery-type attention to his eyelets and double-butted design. When Surly and I rolled up many would ask: “How much did that cost?” (One boy squeaked: “Mister, mister, it looks like a motorcycle”). Surly’s bling was exaggeratingly blingy in this world of humble juice vending tricycles, single-speed pushcarts, and utilitarian beach cruisers with crate box baskets.
Poor Surly, what have I done? I’m starting to wish I would have gotten my dear friend in Beef Gravy Brown.
There are few phrases that rise from the sea of my second language Spanish and completely flood out my more fluid, natural English. Swear words, for example, almost always fly from my mouth in Anglo grunts. Yesterday however, as small strips of Surly curled off the knife like orange rinds and the new paint camouflaged his better side, there was only one phrase with no direct English equivalent that could summarize my sadness: “Me duele el alma.”
Roughly, it pains my soul. I’m sorry Surly.
This hideous make-over—and Surly’s justified anger—were necessary so that we both finish this trip together. No regrets. Onward ugly duckling!
If you’d like to fuglify your bike, check out this tutorial for step-by-step instructions. When doing an overseas bike tour I recommend you complete these steps before arriving to your destination while supplies are still readily available.