Earlier this year, I bought a new bicycle from a man in Kreuzberg over e-Bay Kleinanzeigen here in Berlin. A beaten up old men's three-speed German Veteran model, the black frame remained solid, and the 28" diameter wheels and elevated seat suited my own dimensions. It was dirty, dented, and it rattled, but I knew we'd get along.
Before I completed the sale, I indulged my eccentricity and asked the owner whether the machine was male or female, and if it had a name. He thought about it for a moment, and responded in English with a German/Turkish accent:
"Well, she's definitely a female," the guy said. "I don't think I've ever given her a name though. I suppose she'd be... Claudia.
She's an older German model, but she's still sexy as hell."
And with that, I paid my Euros, shook hands and drove Schiffer eight kilometers home through the summer rain on a warm evening.
Her chain fell off three times on the ride back, and my fingers were black with grease when I returned. So, after taking her to the shop for some repairs and upgrades (about as expensive as what I paid for the bike itself), Schiffer was finally road worthy. And, now that she had made it through rehabilitation, it was time to give Schiffer an aesthetic overhaul.
After sanding rust, evening out pocks and priming her, I carefully spray painted Schiffer's frame a coat of matte black and weatherproofed her. I then moved on to create and apply her custom black vinyl decals.
Originally, I had intended to utilize some classic German Blackletter type for her name and other embellishments, but after some pleasant research, I discovered Claudia Schiffer's actual signature and knew what had to be done.
Some simple Danko D's provided accents to the headlight and bell, and after some trial and error I decided to utilize a script typeface to adorn the seat with one of my favourite German phrases, Scheiße drauf. (Translated literally, this means 'shit on it,' German for 'fuck it.').
I simply can't describe how satisfying it is to have my own customized vehicle again. After leaving Jeepsus behind in Canada, Schiffer is exactly the bad bitch I knew she could be. The only thing she's missing is a final accent to her handlebars: a small, simple carnivore skull.
I'll update this entry when this finishing touch has been found, but until then, Schiffer and I can be found traversing Berlin daily.