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I want to trade my car for a bike in Chicago! by Steven

Dear New Belgians:

I write you today to describe the tattered relationship I share with my 1995 Dodge Avenger, a vehicle I wish to trade for your most excellent bicycle. My vehicle and I have grown apart and your offer of a bike in exchange for it is the trigger I've been seeking to leave her.

Our relationship, like most, started in a whirlwind romance that found me head-over-heels in love with my new-found mobility. She was my first car in over ten years. We were introduced by my 90 year-old grandfather who spent the bulk of his working life on an assembly line for the former Chrysler auto company. He was a dedicated company man who drove Chrysler products his whole life. When unbeknownst to his wife and children he got the bug to buy a new car, he went for the sexiest, sleekest model at the time--the Dodge Avenger. His wife and children (including my mother) were aghast at his decision as he was not a good driver. In fact, he wasn't a very safe person in his advanced years.  This is the same guy who got his hair wrapped in a drill press only to be rescued by my uncle who just happened to stop by. The family decided to sell his car and I obliged them.

At first, I thought I was separating the Avenger from my grandfather for his and his family's sake--just being a good wingman. See, I'm not really into four cylinder engines nor cars that have as much computing power as 1960s-era NASA. That's just not my style. I've always been more about four-barrel carburetors, Cragar S/S mag wheels and straight pipes. But I was unprepared for the Avenger's stealthy powers of seduction. Before I knew it, I was in love.

Trade my car for a bike in ChicagoWe travelled I-94 between Chicago and Detroit together about four times a year. At first, the girl was almost too randy for me with her sexy lines, supple handling and throaty exhaust. I got so worked up over her I received my first speeding ticket ever. And this was just in the first month of our affair! I swallowed the increased insurance rates and struck a bargain with her: I'll keep her clean and smoke- free and change her fluids regularly if she'd temper her intoxicating charms for my driving record's sake. She complied by bringing home insane amounts of lumber from the yard and 55 pound bags of malted barley from the local homebrew shop while giving me 35 mpg on the highway. It was true love.

Then I started to cheat on her. I know, it was wrong and insensitive but ultimately it was unavoidable. See, I got reacquainted with an old college flame, my dusty Bridgestone mountain bike. It started innocently enough with a few rides where we just held hands and talked about the old days: late night rides, quick jaunts between classes and romantic single-tracking through the forest preserve. The next thing you know we're spending entire afternoons along the lakeshore, bar- hopping Chicago's neighborhoods and displaying public affection at street fairs. I bought her new city tires, night illumination and an onboard computer to record our tryst. Once we started traveling to work together I realized I had to break the news to my Avenger: our relationship was over.

But it's never that easy. She wouldn't let go and I would get weak and suckered into that I-94 roundtrip to Detroit with the windows down, the radio blaring and the cruise control engaged at a gas-sipping speed. We flirted with 39 mpg on the last trip but that won't last. It's just a last gasp attempt at winning me back. Though we are no longer compatible, I'm having a hard time letting go. Even though the old bicycle makes me feel younger, healthier and eco-conscious, she won't be with me for the long haul. Her bottom-bracket bearings are shot, her frame creaks and her derailleurs have seen better days.

So I appreciate you introducing me to your friend the New Belgian Top- Shelf Build. I think I'm in love--it's for real this time. She. Is. The. One. I'm ready to make a clean break with my dinosaur-juice- addicted Avenger. Though I'll have fond memories of her, I know this is best for both of us. We've grown apart, she is too high- maintenance, her fuel's too expensive and the City wants me to re-up our license and permits by the end of the month. She's getting on in years and will probably be in better hands with someone else soon.

So New Belgian Top-Shelf Build, what do you say to a nice ride along the lakeshore, some urban curb-jumping and a couple of cold Fat Tires on the way home? I want you. I've got to have you. I think you feel like I do. What do you say? I'll treat you right.

Most sincerely,

Steven "Smooth-Shifting" J.

ps...your fenders are SO HOT!