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Content Any Way U Want It!

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Content Any Way U Want It!

BG Falcon Media

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September 21, 2023

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Cruising with Abe

Most people know him as “Texas,” or the guy who is missing four fingers on his left hand. Some people may not be able to see him through the windshield of his decked-out bicycle. But despite any of this, Abel Conde is a Bowling Green icon.

As he gazes at his bicycle and sips ice water at Kermits on Main Street, Conde – who goes by Abe – explains how the Quasar bike he bought 14 years ago at K-Mart has evolved.

And evolved it has.

Of those modifications, the most noticeable is the giant motorcycle windshield covered with “Don’t mess with Texas,” bumper stickers to represent his hometown of San Benito, Texas, where he was born 67 years ago. He has also added two additional handlebars constructed out of an old walker. Each set of handlebars has its own purpose.

When he wants to lean forward he uses the bottom handle bars, when he wants to sit up a little more he uses the middle bars, and for when he is straight cruising he uses the curved bars on the top.

On the rear of his bike Conde has installed a lock box, saddlebags and two American flags that flap in the breeze as he cruises down Main Street. Conde has also disassembled his breaks because he said they damage his tires.

The bike is far from complete, Conde said.

An exhaust pipe on his bike would give it more of a motorcycle look. Some lights for night riding would be nice, too, he said.

“Now I’m thinking of putting a battery on and putting in lights, lights on the windshield and on the back,” Conde said. “I do all this myself; nobody helps me. Just ideas that I got.”

More impressive than the bike itself is that Conde made all of the improvements without the four fingers on his left hand, which were severed in an accident at a cotton mill.

“When I got 27 I was working in the press and a saw got my fingers. Lots of people be sorry and say, ‘Oh what happened to you?’ But that’s how you handle it,” Conde said. “The hand’s nothing. The brain is the one that does the job.”

These enhancements may seem far fetched to some, but for Conde, they’re necessities. That’s his only way to get around, no matter what the weather.

“Rain, Snow. It don’t stop me,” he said. “The weather doesn’t stop me. When I die, that’s when I stop.”

Conde will always be riding in Bowling Green.

In May a silhouette of him riding his bike was included in the “The People; A Portrait of the Community” mural at the corner of Poe Road and North College Drive.

Greg Mueller, art instructor and lead artist on the project, said every person featured in the mural was selected because they represent faces of the community.

“The students [who helped construct the mural] walked around town with cameras to try and find people that are unique to Bowling Green,” Mueller said. “Everyone in [the mural] is unique to BG, nobody is generic and the way his bike is decked out is very unique.”

While living the life of a migrant worker, Conde said he has seen lots of the country.

Before he finally settled down in Bowling Green 17 years ago, Conde had lived in Texas, Illinois and Florida.

During his stay in Bowling Green, Conde has made many friends, particularly his best friend for six years, Linda Reynolds. Reynolds said she used to ride with Conde until her doctor advised her to stop riding.

But Conde has a remedy. He said he has been making plans in his head to build a dual bicycle, kind of like a motorcycle and a sidecar, so he and Reynolds can ride again.

“I can do it,” He said. “I can do anything I want.”

Reynolds and Conde meet several times a week for lunch at Kermits where they have grown close to most of the wait staff.

Melissa Wilcox, a waitress at Kermits, said Conde is one of her sweetest customers and is always bringing gifts for the waitresses and cooks.

“He brought me and another girl matching bunny purses for Easter time,” Wilcox said. “He brings everyone a gift at Easter time. Nothing extravagant but it’s cute. Just last week he brought me a sweater.”

Although Conde can usually be found at Kermits, Goodwill, KFC, Wal-Mart, Big Lots and Aldi’s, finding him around Bowling Green isn’t always easy.

Conde said he likes to ride to Findlay, Pemberville, Toledo, Grand Rapids, the Slippery Elm bike path and maybe someday even across the country.

“I’d like to try to go to Texas,” Conde said. “Fifteen hundred miles, maybe someday.”

Going to Texas may seem like a haul but Conde is confident because of his biking experience and he said he sometimes rides up to 150 miles a day.

“I just get up in the morning, sometimes get up by 6 o’clock and don’t get home until 11 at night. And I’m 67 years old,” Conde said.

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