The Swan and The Secret Garden

In 2004, Fox TV aired a reality series called “The Swan,” in which women who were considered “ugly” were given extreme makeovers to come “beautiful.”  Each woman was teamed up with a dentist, a coach, therapist, trainer, and cosmetic surgeons to completely transform them, in the tradition of Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tale The Ugly Duckling. Although I personally have big issues with this short-lived TV show, The Mechanic and I performed our own “ugly duckling”-type transformation last night.

The transformation actually started a long time ago, when The Mechanic took a Specialized Hard Rock mountain bike frame

The Very Beginning

and repainted it before building a whole new bike out of it.

Lefty's Pale Blue Coat

He had intended it as a “campus bike,” to be left on campus, but decided he liked it too much to sacrifice it to the elements.  I expressed interest in a cool set of handlebars he’d acquired, and a plan was born to transform it into a commuter bike I could use. A taller bike and better gearing, plus cool handlebars and a nice light blue color?  Sure, why not?

Lefty the Campus Bike

The Cool Swept-Back Handlebars I Love

Lefty, as the bike was dubbed, rapidly lost its edginess as the girlie accessories from my bike were removed, and slowly added to its frame.  There were naturally a few bumps in the road, but easily solved by The Mechanic, who seemed to relish the challenges.  Well, at least to a certain point, as the project took longer and longer…  (You know how every project takes at least twice as long as you estimate – yep, no difference here!)

Bike Parts All Over the Floor

In the Middle of Surgery

At last, the transformation was completed!

Little Lord Fauntleroy

Lefty the Campus Bike has miraculously transformed! Lefty now looks like Little Lord Fauntleroy – Little Lord Fauntleroy was a serialized story, and later popular book, created in 1885 by English writer Frances Hodgson Burnett, who also wrote the classic book The Secret Garden (one of my favorite books).

Little Lord Fauntleroy, the Book

Little Lord Fauntleroy, a small American boy who ended up becoming heir to an English earl’s estate, was originally portrayed in a blue velvet suit with a frilly, lacy collar and curling, shoulder-length hair. Somehow  Lefty’s pale blue color doubled with silver fenders and front basket, and lacy white rear basket all add up to a very frilly little boy bike.  Not that Lefty is a sissy! Far from it – he’s just now a slightly cooler bike that toes the line between tough and fashionable.  I hate to put my pink accessories on Fauntleroy, and I will need a new helmet to match!  At the moment, the one I think I want is white with a design that mimics the white plastic basket.

I haven’t yet ridden Little Lord Fauntleroy, but that is what tomorrow is for.  I can’t wait to test out a taller frame, those cool swept-back handlebars, and most importantly, all those gears!  Look out Arlington hills, here I come!

A huge thanks to The Mechanic for his cosmetic surgery skills! This bike is now a graceful swan.

2 thoughts on “The Swan and The Secret Garden

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