"hey, what's your name?"
"the bike man."

steve and i found him by surprise. it was a fast ride from central park down 5th, left on 14th, right on avenue A. at 10th street, we stopped for a red light. there he was, you couldn't miss it: piles of wheels, innertubes, suitcases full of tools and various bike parts, and maybe a dozen or so bikes, some upside down and needing repair. this coincidence was interesting because we had been in and out of bike shops most of the day trying to find a cheap used bike for wendy (she finally found one at a flea market--orange schwinn racer). but this shop was quite unique. it took up the space of two parking spaces and was literally on the street. steve made the comment, "a true free-enterprise." the bike man obviously knew how to run this street business--his piles of bikes and parts were not about to move anywhere soon. he walked around most of the time, looking for a lost wrench. steve was trying to find a 27inch wheel and the bike man said he had one, but his focus was on the beat up mountainbike that needed new brake cables. after finding the right wrench and as he began loosening a screw, he began a conversation with me:
"wanna know how long i've been here?"
"how long?"
"you ready for this?" he points towards the tree behind me. "since before those trees were here."

[ l*m_ ]