I bought my Peugeot Versailles road bike in 1988 for $600. I couldn’t afford a car, and I needed a way to tool about town — whatever town I happened to be in at the time.
I was in Harrisonburg, Virginia, at the time studying at James Madison University. I mentioned to Bri, one of my college roommates, that I wanted a bike, and she went out — just like that — and bought one. I’m not going to lie. I was jealous for the better part of a year as I scrimped and saved for mine.
To be fair, I could have gotten a cheaper bike. An older bike. One with fewer bells and whistles. But I wanted something fast and fun, something that would stick with me through the years. Man, has she come through for me. And some.
I used to ride her to and from work when I lived in Alexandria, Virginia. I’d lock her to a bike rack outside the Pentagon and feel as if I had already accomplished something by my seven a.m. start time. I went up and down the Mount Vernon Trail on weekends, 36 miles round trip. I rode her to and from the classes I took and the classes I taught at the University of Virginia.
Twelve speeds. So light you can lift her with one hand. (I get that’s de rigueur for road bikes these days, but it wasn’t necessarily back in 1988.) And when you’re on her, you fly, even up steep Maryland, Virginia, and Colorado hills. Here she is hanging from the ceiling of my loft. She’s a beaut.
These days I usually ride my cruiser bikes, but I can’t bear to part with my Peugeot Versailles. Probably because she’s so darn fabulous. I mean, just look at her. Plus, the mere sight of her transports me through the decades of my life.
I see my Peugeot Versailles, and I see it all, the good, the bad, and the just plain was and is.