Friday, June 03, 2011


Recycling isn’t just the right thing to do. In Southeast Alaska, it can help keep you dry while riding to work. I spotted this homemade fender on a bike sitting just outside the Juneau airport a few days ago, and it was a fun reminder of the kind do-it-yourself ingenuity I often see on battered bikes in this part of the state.

I think this stuff is more common here because A) new accessories can be hard to come by in the small towns and many islands scattered across the state’s panhandle, and B) the summer workers who flood in here each year live as cheaply as possible and often have only fleeting, three-month relationships with battered bikes that are either sold or abandoned when it’s time to head south again.

The result is bikes that are used to get from Point A to Point B with a minimum of expense and frills. There’s a nice purity in that.

It doesn’t appear that the guy who rides this bike felt any need to spend $30 on a fancy fender. He might not have even drank the cocktail mix or eaten the fruit that provided his raw materials, but he certainly spent the time to do a neat job on his homemade rig. And that makes it a beautiful thing.

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