What’s In A Name?

What’s in a name?

A lot, actually. A name can make you feel smart, funny, wise, strong, elegant, graceful, silly, nerdy, trendy, ordinary, extraordinary, and any number of adjectives. Our name is the primary indicator of our personality.

So what’s in our name?

We often get asked why we named our shop MonkeyBoy Bicycles. It’s a combination of things, really. First, it’s the nickname of several boys in our family, one of whom was climbing before he was walking. The second reason is more obscure and references a favorite sci-fi cult classic from the 80s, from whence the nickname for the boys was developed (bonus points for whomever can name that movie). Third, we consider our inventory as transport for the urban jungle. Fourth, our name conveys lightheartedness – a lightheartedness that comes with riding a bicycle. And lastly, it’s just a fun word to say. It rolls off the tongue and sticks in your memory.

 Monkeyboy monkeyboy monkeyboy….

We are often told that the name is engaging and funny and sometimes people will say their own kids/grandkids/nephews/nieces were also called monkey boy. We delight in this connection. It’s a small club but it’s a fun one, and it’s especially fun when people just “get it.”

Beyond that, we also name our bikes and we love that many of our customers do as well. Some think we’re weird but we’re okay with that. We think of our bikes like faithful friends who are there for us through thick and thin.

Until last summer my stable included the following: pixlr(1)

Birdie, a rebuilt 1973 Schwinn Varsity. Birdie was a cast away rescued from the waste transfer station. I found her with drop bars, black handlebar tape, and a black saddle. Birdie was retrofitted with upright handlebars and converted into a single speed. She was a bright canary yellow and had a persistent squeak that sounded like a songbird – hence the name Birdie. She went to live with a young college girl last summer. I like to imagine her gliding and chirping through campus, happily transporting her girl to class.

Speedy, a Specialized OCR3 road bike. Speedy languished in my basement for years before I decided to put her out of her misery and rehome her to someone who would ride her. Speedy was light as a feather and so responsive that I often felt clumsy riding her. Despite the fact that I hadn’t ridden her in nearly 10 years, one of my best memories includes Speedy – a sunny 73-mile day trip along the Trail of the Coeur d’ Alene’s in 2004. I hope she’s found many rolling miles of joy with her new rider.

My current stable includes the following:

Lena, a single speed immigrant from Japan (literally). I bought her at a yard sale for $75 from a guy whose dad bought her when he was deployed to Japan many years ago. Her chain guard says “La Collena” and underneath that, Home Sweet Home. Lena is a single speed, built for the “slow cycling” movement. She’s a sweet light sky blue with swooping lines and curves. She is graceful and delicate but strong and she’s my quaxing partner. Many times Lena has carried pounds of groceries piled into her front basket and rear rack tote, helping me provide sustenance for my family.

And lastly, Biancha, a 7-speed internal hub Bianchi Milano. She’s the first bike I bought new 12 years ago, specifically for the purpose of commuting to work. She’s a big-boned, no nonsense, sturdy, and reliable bike with plenty of scars from our adventures. Biancha has faithfully and safely carried me hundreds of miles through traffic over the years.

Donald and Patti both name their bikes, too.  Donald has Pondo, Tardis, and Boncho. Patti has Leona, Mia, and Brittania. Even our mother, who has four bikes in her stable, has named every one of them, including Rhoda, Erica, Winnie, and Annie. It’s pretty clear that naming our bikes is a family tradition.

I sometimes consider adding another bike to my stable, perhaps a bright Boston Red Papillionaire Sommer or a Sea Glass green Brooklyn Bicycle Company Willow 3. Either would make a fine addition to my collection. I wonder what I’d name them?

What about you? Do you name your bikes? Please introduce us to your stable of bikes in the comments. (And don’t forget, bonus points –in the form of kudos- for those who can name the movie reference.)