Monday, June 18, 2007

apparently the old adage is true

The SP bought me a bicycle this weekend. It's red and has a bell. I think he's a little envious, actually. His bike is perfectly functional but it's older and has thick off-road tires.

Mine is what they call a hybrid, with slim but slightly toothy tires, upright seating and shock absorbers. Twenty-three speeds that you shift by twisting the handles, which is a lot cooler than flicking with your thumb.

It's a little odd, thinking of myself as a bike owner. A lot of people have them in my hippified college town; we'd talking about getting me one since I moved out there, so it wasn't exactly an impulse purchase. It was just kind of sudden--less than an hour between "Hey, let's pop in the bike shop," to "Let's take that one."

Bike technology has changed a lot since I was a kid, even I can see that. The frame structure is different, the thing is a whole lot lighter than any bike I've ever tried to move around (it wasn't much heavier than a large tricycle before they put the lock on; I think the Kryptonite lock weighs as much as the entire frame) and the wheels are a good deal larger in diameter. The whole apparatus has a graceful but compact appearance, like a sturdy little pony.

And boy, can it fly. It takes so little to make it move. Granted, I am not used to bike riding and that first big hill up to the campus was too much for me, but it wasn't the bike's fault. Twenty-third gear is amazingly efficient. And I felt great afterwards. That forty-five minute ride burned two pounds off of me by the next morning, and I'm not even sore.

So I guess I'll have to be all ecological now. The grocery store is about five blocks away, and probably quicker to get there by bike than by car, considering traffic.

She needs a name. I'm considering Penelope.

Oh, and even though I hadn't been on a bike in about 20 years? I hadn't lost the knack of it. I didn't crash even once.


Anonymous said...

Hey, that's neat, giving your bike a name. My several automobiles have all had names.

The one speed Schwinn I had as a kid did not get christened. It cost all of twenty dollars, used. Of course, paying a dollar a week to my older brother took forty percent of my wages at the time.

Holly said...

I hate to admit it, but a lot of my stuff has names, at least in my mind. The sewing machine is Vera Bernina, although I refer to her as Bernie.

The laptop doesn't really have a name. It's more of a visiting intelligence than a pet.

Unlike many people, I don't name my cars, either. I was taught never to give a name to anything you would one day have to shoot.

AJ Milne said...

Bikes are a good thing.

Crazy road racing enthusiast guy I knew a few years ago got me back into biking. I never got anywhere near as crazy as him, mind you... I bought one decent, chunky Schwinn Moab, which, if it had a name, would have to be 'Bessie' or something equally evocative of a grizzled prospector's mule... it contains very little carbon fibre, but is highly tolerant of impacts, glancing collisions with trees, rocks, overweight pedestrians, buses, so on.

I used to commute with it, fairly regularly, in the summer, back when I commuted, with heavy rainproof painers for laptops et al. Now, it's still a great thing for short trips to the store, light grocery runs, coffee runs in which there are two or fewer cups coming back (one in hand, one in the bottle cage), taking children to and fro (got a good trailer), biking the little guy to sleep (he loves this... rides in the trailer). During certain crazy events they're fond of in this neighbourhood--like the massive neighbourhood garage sale that turns the whole place effectively into a pedestrian mall wherein cars are extremely slow and impractical--the bike is the only way to get anywhere with any speed. This city is great for bike paths, so more scenic, less purposeful jaunts are always an option, too.

AJ Milne said...

Erm... painers = panniers.

Holly said...

I hope this bike will be good for trips to the store. I have a large assortment of bags and luggage but nothing that's specific to bicycle transport. Coffee runs are out of the question at this point. I don't trust myself to drive with one hand yet.

Anonymous said...

The Ol' Schwinn got one humongous basket installed for the newspapers I carried. Getting it doubled my earning power. Didn't increase my pay; same old paper route, but I could do it in half the time.

For hauling a 100 pound gunny bag of potatoes, the buckboard is the better vehicle.