CC Outtake: At the Center for Appropriate Transport – Appropriate Transport Indeed

When I saw this blue fintail/flossen Mercedes go down the street past me, it was too late to shoot it. But then it did a U turn and parked in front of the Center For Appropriate Transport (“CAT”), behind another veteran. How appropriate, for CC lovers. But just what is CAT, actually? Did you have to ask? This is Eugene, after all.

It has to do with what this guy is getting out of the trunk of his old Benz: a bicycle. CAT is also know as the Eugene Bicycle Works and Human Powered Machines. It’s the place you go to when you need a part for that vintage frame. Or need to rent work space in a well-stocked bike repair facility. Or need to have any type of human-powered vehicle designed and/or built. Or become a bicycle mechanic by taking their apprentice program. Or anything else to do with human powered ground transportation.

When I had kids at home and rode my bike a lot more (before the dog showed up), CAT was a not-infrequent destination. My older son had a proclivity for leaving his bike at high school at night, which guaranteed that it would be gone in the morning. Find another vintage 10 speed in the classified ads (those days are long gone, on both accounts), and fix it up with parts from my own cache and from CAT. I can feel my hands rummaging though their bins of free-wheel clusters, brake levers, derailleurs; you name it, they had it. For cheap, back then. Not so much so, now.

But it’s still the place to go, if just to look at their collection of bikes and soak up the atmosphere. Talking about it is making me miss it. And more bicycle seat time. Our tandem hasn’t been used in a couple of years, and my vintage Japanese former 10-speed-now-18-speed is used for quick trip downtown and the occasional workout, but we’ve become walkers, along with the dog.

But there’s compensations to walking: I get to see scenes like this all the time and I don’t have to hop off my bike to shoot them.

And I just remembered that last night I stumbled into this neat old documentary of the history of the bicycle made in 1915! They probably had no trouble finding all of these vintage machines, including the oldest one.