Travels with Charley: Ridin’ the RED

Christmas in July

by Charles McKelvy

Jacob Walsworth assembles my Christmas-in-July present at Bike Stop on Wednesday.

Jacob Walsworth assembles my Christmas-in-July present at Bike Stop on Wednesday.

All I will say about the Giant Simple Three bicycle that I bought from Bike Stop in Michigan City, Indiana on Wednesday, July 6, 2016 is that his name is RED, and he needs a bell.


Too much information.

All right: permit me to back up a few clicks and explain that my decision to buy a cruiser-style bicycle on July 6 was based on Natalie’s visit to a physical therapist on June 29. The therapist told Natalie in no uncertain terms that owing to recurring back and shoulder pain, her days with bent-over and straight-bar bicycles were over. Time, the therapist said, for a comfort bike.

That’s right: a comfort bike.

Just like RED.

You starting to see a pattern here?


So, continuing on, Natalie’s therapist said it was time to consider what Natalie calls a sit up, and beg bike.

Just like the bikes we rode when were kids.

My first bike was red, just like RED.

My first bike was red, just like RED.

Just like the bike I rode with my friends Casey and Boline all the way from 106th and Drew in the Beverly neighborhood of Chicago to the Swallow Cliff Toboggan Slides and back when we were kids.

That kind of bike.


So naturally Natalie got right to work by selling her Giant straight-bar road bike to a neighbor and then looking on-line to see if Giant might offer what her physical therapist had in mind—what we kids rode down the toboggan slides in Palos, Illinois so long ago (and lived to tell about).


Turns out Giant had just what Natalie was looking for: the aforementioned Giant Simple Three in men’s and women’s models and in various colors, including red, and I do mean RED!!!!!!!!

“What do you think?” Natalie asked, pointing at the computer screen.

“I think that’s my next bike, because I’m having my own back and shoulder and wrist issues from riding a road bike, and—“

Before I knew what hit me, I was taking a Giant Simple with one gear for a test ride around the Bike Stop parking lot in Michigan City on Wednesday, July 6.

“Comfortable, isn’t it?” asked owner Todd Walsworth as he watched me take my trial spin, with, of course, a helmet.

“Oh yes, oh yes!!!!”

And, oh yes, oh yes, did Todd have himself a sale a few minutes later after he and his son Jacob assembled my flaming red Giant Simple Three, complete with three-speed shifter, coaster brakes, kickstand, fenders and a mirror and rack that easily accommodated the pack I had used on my previous two road bikes.

I said good-bye to my Giant road bike named Malcolm in honor of my great-grandfather Dr. Malcolm Macfarlan, and said hello to my Giant Simple Three that I dubbed RED in honor of his handsome color and obvious valor.

And then I had Natalie drop me and RED off in New Buffalo by the harbor, and I proceeded to ride RED home on a rolling, nine-mile route that followed the lovely lakeshore of Lake Michigan at sunset.

RED paused to watch the sunset in New Buffalo on his maiden voyage.

RED paused to watch the sunset in New Buffalo on his maiden voyage.

I felt like that kid who had ridden with Casey and Boline to the toboggan slides, and I was that kid who was riding his new bike named RED in style and comfort all the way home to Harbert. Yes, I wore a helmet, and I had transferred my lights from Malcolm to RED, so I was safely equipped for roamin’ in the gloamin’ on the bonnie banks of Michigan.

Todd had asked if I wanted to transfer the computer from Malcolm to RED, and I had said: “No, it’s time to be simple and free. And a kid again.”

And I was all that and more as I rolled to a stop at our hide-away in Harbert.

“Well?” Natalie asked. “Is he a keeper?”

"Is he a keeper?!?!?"  Duh!

“Is he a keeper?!?!?” Duh!

My blueberry eating grin told her that RED was not only a keeper, but that she should keep track of our dollars and cents so she could get her own Giant Simple Three when her back and shoulders were ready for a comfortable ride down memory lane, and, of course, that aforementioned bell for RED.



About charleymckelvy

Charles McKelvy lives and writes in southwest Michigan with his wife and fellow writer, Natalie McKelvy. They established the Dunery Press in 1988 in order to publish their own fiction. They continue to do so to this day. Charles McKelvy is an Eagle Scout.
This entry was posted in Berrien County, Bicycling, Travels with Charley and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Travels with Charley: Ridin’ the RED

  1. AUNT cynie says:

    Love the RED bike and you, Duck and your Dad from long ago. Keep ridding! xoxA.C.

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