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Hello, Betty! You’re beautiful!

Pam LeBlanc

Editor’s note: This article was originally published August 16, 2014

Ah, the thrill of a vintage bike.

My husband Chris and I discovered this beauty - we’ll call her Betty - wearing a blanket of dust and leaning forlornly in the corner of my mom’s garage in South Haven, Mich., last week.

A woman in her late ’80s had bequeathed it to my aunt in Detroit, who at some point stashed it in my mom’s garage, where it languished, with flattened tires and a broken spirit, for several years. When we found Betty, she seemed sad and neglected. Maybe she missed her former owner and their frequent forays through downtown Motor City.

Chris, who’s so handy around a set of bike tools that I’ve hired him as my personal bicycle mechanic, did what he always does. He pulled out his tools, dusted off the cobwebs, and went to work. Amid the clanking of tools and squeal of air being released from a bicycle pump, a brighter, happier Betty emerged.

Betty is gorgeous. I love the curve of her handlebars and her creamy white paint. Her seat is broad and cushy, and the riding position is upright, a la Mary Poppins. She proves that the most expensive bike isn’t always the best one.

Betty gleamed as I pedaled her down to the Lake Michigan beach, where she got sand in her tire treads, and past the Golden Brown Bakery and Captain Nemo’s ice cream shop around the corner. She carried me to the used book store, and down to the marina, where we admired sailboats.

I’m pretty sure Betty likes her new small-town home. I know I’m happy she’s found an appreciative new family.