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Miya LeBleu and The Blue Bike Shop

In THE BLUE BIKE SHOP STORIES on September 15, 2007 at 11:01 am

It happened before Miya even knew what hit her. On her blue bike, one windy day in April, Miya was on her way home from Steck’s farm. Becky Steck was Miya’s best friend. The Steck’s lived up the hill from where County Road H and Townline Road intersect, just around the corner from where Miya lived.

“I was coming down the hill when the wind suddenly rose up behind me. It was blowing with such force that my hair flew forward, covering my face like a mask– it was sort-of shielding me,” said Miya as she exhaled and clasped her hands tightly together.

This story was never easy for Miya to tell, let alone to a new boyfriend. Miya searched deeply into Sam’s baby blue eyes looking for reassurance.

“Shielding you from what Miya? It’s ok Miya, you can tell me, come on…. just tell me,” Sam pleaded.

“I guess it shielded me from the horror of seeing the truck that was about to run the stop sign and hit me.”

“Oh my God, Miya! How horrible…” Sam said, visibly stunned.

“I can’t imagine what you went through. It must have taken you a long time to recover…. But you do know that you look great, Miya, DON’T YOU? Who would ever guess what happened? Look at you! For God’s sake, you can even still ride a bike!” Sam exclaimed, as he reached for Miya’s hand.

“Oh that’s nice of you to say, Sam, but I have more metal under my jeans than on the frame of my bike! It’s rather impossible not to be able to tell. You see, Sam, that wasn’t the life I was supposed to lead. And this isn’t the life I had planned.”

“I am not sure I entirely understand what you are trying to say, Miya?”

“Well when I was growing up, everyone- I mean EVERYONE- told me that I had the most beautiful legs; so I began to model. In fact, it was right before the accident that I really was becoming quite serious about it.”

“I was a model for McCullough’s Shoes. Their full-page spread in The Daily Gazette, featuring Classic Evening Pumps, was my very last print ad. It ran the Sunday before my accident in the Gazette’s Home and Leisure section. I modeled for JC Penny, the one in Dover, in their spring preview bathing suit collection. And had just been called back the week before, for a national television commercial for Payless Shoes that I had auditioned for in Richmond.”

Miya in that moment looked down. She felt a little embarrassed by the one single uncontrollable tear rolling down her cheek, dripping on to her shoe with a heart-felt ka-plunk.

“But you see Sam, that life I dreamed of can never be,” she said with a smile.

“So what made you open a bike shop Miya? What’s so fashionable about blue bikes? ”

“For Christmas, the year before my accident, I begged my parents to get me a bike. For months all I saw advertised was the new Schwinn Hollywood. Sam, you will never understand how fascinated I was with modeling and with Hollywood. Becky and I would parade up and down my driveway, all dressed up, pretending to be high fashion models walking the red carpet.

As a young girl, can you imagine a better way to dream of getting there than on a brand new Schwinn Hollywood?

The very first time I was going to be able to ride my new Schwinn on my imaginary ride to Hollywood, was that spring day in April, when I was headed over to Becky’s house. Ever since Christmas Day, Becky and I had been planning what we would wear, on her red carpet, strutting down her Hollywood driveway.”

Miya abruptly pulled away from Sam, letting go of his hand and said, “But instead, that fateful day turned out to be the day my dreams died, and everything in my life changed.”

Miya’s gaze was locked tightly into Sam Miller’s big blue eyes.

“I know, Sam, that it wasn’t an accident that I forgot my shoes on the way to Becky’s house and had to turn back. When I came down the hill, it was not a coincidence that a truck flew right by the stop sign and hit me. You see the life I passionately dreamed of then was not where the heavens wanted my life to go; so they stopped me.”

“So where was your life headed, Miya?”

“Frankly, for a long time after my accident I really was not sure. I was very depressed and felt lost. It took four years and six surgeries to put my legs back together with metal bolts and pins. The doctors told my parents that, short of amputating both limbs, this was the only other way I would be able to walk again on my own.”

“So, why in the world would you want to open a bike shop after something like that happened to you?”

” Well Sam, I opened The Blue Bike Shop because my Blue Hollywood Schwinn Bike is a reflection of me. It’s changed how I look. It’s changed my dreams. And most importantly, since Christmas Day ten years ago, it has filled me with hope and optimism, especially after the accident when I was still able to get back on it and ride it.”

“You see Sam; I opened the shop to help my customers find the life they are meant to live. I want to help each one of them find their own blue bike that can transform their life into something far better- just like my Blue Schwinn Hollywood Bike has transformed me.”

“My customers come into The Blue Bike Shop thinking they are buying the blue bike from their dreams. What they leave with is a way to ride their blues toward a far better life than they had planned.”

A Town Named Nowhere: A Story from the Blue Bike Shop

In Author: Lisa Canning, THE BLUE BIKE SHOP STORIES on August 31, 2007 at 7:27 pm

For five generations the LeBleu family has lived in Nowhere, Virgina.

Miya’s great-great-great grandfather had come to America from Normandy, France in 1801. He and his wife came to America by boat with three trunks filled with only their most precious family possessions and a few articles of clothing. After being processed at Ellis Island in New York, they headed toward Washington, D.C. in search of a distant cousin named Henri. Cousin Henri was their only hope of finding temporary shelter until Grandpa and Grandma LeBleu could find a place to call home in America.

But with a 10-word English vocabulary between them, finding Washington D.C. proved to be far easier than finding cousin Henri.

Like nomads, they wandered. Hungry and tired they dragged their ever-dwindling number of belongs behind them, selling and trading what they could for food to survive. Then, one night, Grandma and Grandpa LeBleu found their home.

The story goes something like this:

Grandpa LeBleu had pitched a tent along the Potomac River not far off the path of the Old Dominion Trail in Northern Virginia. I am sure you know the spot I am talking about. It’s the only place on that dirt road, Rural Route 7, that comes close to the river on your way out of town.

In the middle of their third night of peaceful and much needed sleep, a loud man’s voice startled them both. Grandpa LeBleu rose quickly, grabbed his gun and marched out of the tent, as the man in an angry tone said, “Where are you going?” Or at least, at the time, that’s what Grandpa LeBleu thought the man said.

Raising his right hand up toward the twinkling bright white star-lit sky, as if to summon the heavens by his side, Grandpa LeBleu with his left hand, cocked his pistol, looked squarely into the man’s eyes and in his thick French accent replied, ” Nowhere.” Grandpa LeBlue then fired twice at the man who stood before him.

Most say that man was a drunken squatter. Shocked by the sound of the gun firing, the angry fool flew backwards, falling down flat on his back hitting the ground as if he were already dead. But you see Grandpa LeBleu was a pretty bad shot. He had actually missed the man entirely.

Realizing what had happened, Grandpa LeBleu laughed out loud at the silly sight of the drunk slithering off the land that Grandpa LeBleu would legally claim as his own 40 years later. He and two other families bought the majority of land that we now call the town of Nowhere from the government in 1841.

“Ok Dad,” Miya said as she sighed deeply, expelling all of the air she had been holding tightly. Miya’s new boyfriend, Sam Miller, had heard more than she feared he might have wanted to know. “Will you be telling that story to my grandchildren too?” she then muttered as her fingers spread across her lips, intent on covering up the smirk on her face.

Miya had heard this story countless times. Each time half of her filled with pride, because of how much her Dad loved to tell it, while her other half filled with embarrassment for exactly the same reason. But Miya LeBleu was definitely part of The LeBleu family lineage in Nowhere.

Miya LeBleu, at 23, was already a permanent fixture in town and she was the next generation. Miya not only was fixing up an old house on Water Street, but she had also just opened The Blue Bike Shop.

“Dad, Sam and I should get going now. Right Sam?”

“It sure is nice to meet you Mr. LeBleu,” Sam said extending his hand quickly before he turned and headed toward Miya, already waiting by the car.

“Miya, you will have to tell us some of your own stories, if my silly old tales bore you,” Mr. LeBleu retorted.

“I will Dad. I will start my own tradition, with my own stories. Mine will be about how to escape from Nowhere. But for now, that will have to wait. I have to be to work in 10 minutes to open the bike shop.”

The Life of Will Riley

In THE BLUE BIKE SHOP STORIES on July 30, 2007 at 10:54 pm

“There’s nothing quite like the smell of new rubber,” Will thought, as he sat at the bar alone in The Blue Bike Shop. This was the third time this week Will had been in there looking for that one tire, looking to satisfy his desire; just like a true addict.

Sniffing the crisp new rubber odor, each squeeze expelled was pure pleasure for Will Riley.

Will knew all too well the smell of greasy stained tires because his crusty auto repair shop had lots of them lying around. On a hot summer day like today, the stench would slither under his nose, hovering long enough to make him first queasy, and then faint. It was hard enough on his neck, having his head under the hood of a car all day, without the occasional sensation of vomit thrusting up his throat from the stench. It had just happened today, just exactly that same way, like all the other hot days in that greasy shop.

“Why do I come here sniffing tires,” Will thought. “There has got to be something wrong with me. I guess I can’t seem to get any new ones in my shop so I come here instead. My life is full of greasy tires.”

As Will let that thought go, he realized he had been sitting at the Bike Bar for too long . It was 5:15. His wife would be pissed as hell if he came home before dinner drunk again from the bar for the third time this week.

“Thanks for the beer. Are you sure I can’t pay you for this one?” Will said, as he looked back at the clerk on his way out the front door of The Blue Bike Shop.

“Nope,” replied the clerk. “Just come on in again Will. Maybe one day you can pick out a blue bike and take it for a spin, see how much you like it.”

“Oh, I could never do that,” replied Will. “That would ruin the sweet smell of some new tire and I might never feel the same about this shop. I just come in to look and you know, dream a little.”

With that the clerk replied, “But Will, your dreams can’t possibly come true without checking out how your favorite blue bike rides.”

Will’s face turned red as he clenched his teeth pulling the door to the bike shop firmly behind him, “I’ll be damned if anyone’s going to tell me that I have to do anything with my dreams. I am a tire sniffer, damn it, and there is nothing more to it than that. I ain’t ever leavin’ Nowhere.”

Do Not Enter

In THE BLUE BIKE SHOP STORIES on July 5, 2007 at 3:09 pm

“Do Not Enter,” cautions the sign on the red door. John stood there looking at it, wondering what to do. The guy at the bar told him that the first red door was the fastest way out of The Blue Bike Shop, but surely he must have been mistaken. As John looked down the hall, there were nothing BUT red doors, with the same white sign, with the same “Do Not Enter” boldly lettered red on each.

“What a strange place,” thought John. ” Nothin’ but blue bikes and red doors…”

The Blue Bike Shop was a brand new shop in downtown Nowhere; filled with blue bikes in every configuration imaginable – trikes, unicycles, bicycles built-for-two, mountain bikes, racing bikes and blue peddlers for the leisurely traveler.

The Blue Bike Shop had quickly become a hot spot in Nowhere. After all, The Blue Bike Shop served lunch and drinks at the Bike Bar. It was a great excuse for John to check out all the blue bikes, and dream.

John had grown up in Nowhere and had never been outside its city limits. John lived down Rural Route 7, a long dirt road, which eventually, if you stayed on it long enough, would take you out of town.

Today was the day John was going to begin that ride. Impulsively, after lunch at the Bike Bar, John decided that he was ready. With every dollar he had saved in his pocket, from his job at Solo Staffing Services, he was going to buy that blue Schwinn he had his eye on.

When he handed the money over, the cash in his hand quickly became the bike in his dream. As a celebratory gesture, the clerk who sold him the blue bike stepped behind the bar and handed him a shot of Don Julio. With John’s throat on fire and his heart pounding with excitement, he asked his server, “Tell me, what’s the fastest way out of town.”

The clerk smiled and said, “Go down the hall, and take the first red door you see. It’s the fastest way.”

Several minutes had passed as John stood in front of the red door with his new shiny blue Schwinn, reflecting on the clerks last words.

“Why in the world, would this guy have told me to go through this red door if it was not the right door?” John thought.

John had never walked through a door that said “Do Not Enter” in his life. He also had never spent his entire life’s savings on a blue bike. John looked down the hall at the other red doors and again the “Do Not Enter” signs, and then he reached for the knob to his own.

“What the hell. All my life, people have been telling me ‘Do Not Enter’ this, or do that, or try this, because it is too hard, too risky, too much work or too… something. It’s time I try to go somewhere.”

When John opened the door, this is what he saw.