I've never been one to name inanimate objects. I never named my cars or any of my other bikes. I always thought the idea was kind of fun and seems to be somewhat of a tradition amongst the women of the Brailey family--my aunt Joan's car is actually named Sarah and I can't tell you how many stories (wonderful stories!) or references I heard growing up about my Great Aunt Lucy's car, "Miss Dexter". But I felt like if I was going to name something that could theoretically "live" forever, it should be something that really spoke to me. And none of my cars or bikes ever really spoke to me...before this one.
This project has been such a labor of love and has consumed my thoughts and well, my entire being really, for the past six months. I've become about as attached as one can get to something that can't hug you back or snuggle up with you. I've also never been one to identify a sex with a car, but my mechanic insists that all bikes are female. I'm inclined to believe he holds this opinion because he is in fact, male, but when it comes to this bike, I actually agree with him. She is a feisty, temperamental but ultimately gorgeous creature. His theory is that she thought she was retired and going to spend the rest of her life relaxing in a barn and now was doing all she could to resist being ridden again. Well, I am just as stubborn a female, so I was determined to ride her. I knew it would be worth it.
So, I really wanted to name her but I knew the name had to come to me. And late one night, lying awake in bed, it did. Temperamental, unique, incredibly special, gorgeous, perhaps a bit of a diva? Duh. I'm an opera singer, how could it not have occurred to me earlier? This bike was clearly meant to be named after Maria Callas, one of the greatest divas of all time, who also happened to be a favorite of mine and my father's. Callas's nickname was La Divina, and so the Nolan has been reinvented as Maria Divina. Here's a brief sample of the awe-inspiring talent of her namesake singing "Casta Diva" from Bellini's Norma:
And this is my favorite photo of her:
I feel like I ought to have a naming ceremony for her. Maria the bike, that is. In Hinduism, a naming ceremony is a big to-do. When it involves a baby, the cradle is decorated with flowers and ribbons; friends and family gather for praying and feasting. In an adult naming ceremony, the convert chooses a Hindu name, a fire sacrifice is performed and the convert then writes his or her name into a tray of uncooked rice. I'm not sure about the sacrificial fire or writing in rice, but I am always a fan of celebrating. I think feasting and toasting can definitely be arranged in Maria's honor.
So, I still have to ride her for a while to work out whatever kinks may come up. The bar tape seen here is just temporary--I still have to decide whether I'll need a longer stem or if the current one will work. Eventually, she'll have matching leather bar tape to match the beautiful saddle. That said...here she is! My Maria Divina.