A little corner of my savings account has been earmarked for a bike for a while now. I had many good reasons to get a bike, and many good reasons to not buy myself a car (go on–ask me about The Hoopty, my 1989 Toyota Corolla, how it died a horrible death, and how its death cost me a good chunk of my life’s savings on Stupid Tax. Except don’t ask me, because I’ll start grinding my teeth again). I had the money, the time this past weekend, and a great deal of lust in my heart, ever since I found out my local bike shop stocked Electra bikes, known for their adorable cruisers.
I didn’t need a speedy commuter bike, a street bike, a crazy mountain bike. I have owned one of each of those, and I hated them, for their narrow seats and rough rides and the way you lean way the hell over and stick your butt out in the air. Other people manage to make it look athletic and sexy and like they’re going fast all the time even when they’re standing still at a light, but I always felt I look kind of like a big idiot with her butt in the air and her back aching. So I wanted something a little more upright, a little less sporty. I knew that the trade-off would be that I’d be riding a 300-lb. bike and going a half mile an hour, but that is probably way faster than I walk, so that’s okay.
But the Electra is lightweight, it’s fast, and it is ridiculously,
painfully, the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen in my life, and also
just about what I had budgeted, and also at a store less than a
mile away and so that means we were meant to be. “Let’s go look at
bikes!” I said to E on Saturday. We went and looked. I fell in love
with an electric blue Townie. I sat on it, and felt it loved me back.
“I need a basket and a rack and a little bell and some streamers and I
love it!” I said excitedly. “Now, remember, you’re just looking,” he
said. “We should comparison shop.” “Oh, I know,” I said. The
salesperson came, and sent me out for a test ride. I came back and
pulled out my debit card.
“We’re not comparison shopping then,” E said. “I LOVE IT SO MUCH,” I
said. He sighed. They threw in a helmet in which I look 100 percent ridiculous, and yet am protected and safe. I have a little blue
bike! “That’s not going to fit in the Bug,” E said. “You’re going to
have to ride it home.” And there was a moment of panic, because ride? A
bike? I have to ride it? Like, in the street and around? I am going to
die, splat, even with my ridiculous helmet. E gently reminded me that
that was the reason I had bought a bike in the first place, dopey. Oh
yeah, I said, and I got on my bike and I pedaled my way back to the
house, with E stopping on every corner to make sure I was okay and not
run over or hit by a car.
“Oh holy crap that was awesome!” I said. I ate lunch very quickly and
put my helmet back on and headed back into the street, because there
was a whole afternoon of sunshine left in which I could ride. I swung
around the neighborhood, and up to the coffee shop at which I want to
write a few days a week (it is always good for me to get the hell out
of the house) and back down and around the historic district and up the
block to the ice cream shop. I was tempted to stop, but headed up to
check the times the thrift store was open because I have been wanting
to go there forever but it’s been too far away to walk easily during a
lunch break. Then back into the neighborhood and through the beautiful
cemetery, and back down the street, past my house, through the park.
I rode for a couple of hours and didn’t want to stop, but it was
getting dark and I was thirsty and hungry and kind of tired (boy howdy,
I am not in shape) and I wanted to go tell someone how much fun I had
had, and how much I love my beautiful bike and how cool it is and how
much fun I had and how everyone has to go get bikes now, please, okay?
We’re all getting bikes! We’ll be a convoy of health and happiness.
While I am waiting for everyone else to get off their butts, I’ve been
riding every day (that is three days in a row, so far!); I need
accoutrements like a good couple of locks, a basket for hauling
groceries, maybe a light, and definitely those streamers and a bell.