In Praise of the Humble Bicycle

I bought a bicycle. Yes, me, Ms. High-Maintenance.

Bought one and rode it too. And I’m in love, kind of way more than I ever expected since the last time I rode a bike was about 1995, and prior to that, probably about 1980. So let me explain this turn of events.

You see, my husband and I are very active people. We walk. A lot. We lift weights. We hike. And contrary to popular belief, we BOTH love being outdoors, even if one of us is sun-phobic and can’t really stand anything hotter than about 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Despite that, we find ourselves out and about with regularity, all year round. ‘Course, the southeast is good for that. 😉

We often combine walking with errand- and coffee-running; picking up toiletries at Target, Starbucking along the way. There’s also a nearby nature trail that is flat and bike-friendly, that Hubby has been convinced he must sample on two wheels instead of two legs. So he’s been talking about buying “some second-hand push bikes” (Aussie-speak for used bicycles) for quite some time. And I’ve been nodding my heading in classic wifely nonchalance.

Potentially spend $400+ on bikes? Um, THAT’S A BAG, is all I could process in my brain. I don’t need a bike. I have a BMW. And my sturdy legs.

Go in for a hat and come out with two bikes?

Then a couple weekends ago, I found myself with Hubby in Dick’s Sporting Goods, that man-Mecca of America, not looking for a bike, but for a particular sun hat. For him. As we passed through a couple departments heading toward the one we needed, he was inexplicably drawn to the bicycles, with me trailing along behind him.

We had a look, and he confessed his love for the retro, beach style cruiser bikes, and upon closer inspection, I had to admit: They were super cute. And practical. And with big ol’ seats that could handle this big ol’ Greek behind.

“You know, that would be typical me,” I said to Hubby. “Go in for a hat and come out with two bikes.”

But I did not, because two bikes for $400? Pffffffffffft, not. Even. Possible. More like two for $700, and that, my friends, is entry-level Louboutin. Uh, no. We didn’t like the hats either, and departed empty-handed, but it was too late. We were seized by visions of basket-studded crusier bikes dancing in our heads.

So you know what happened next. We got some bikes.

IMG_8293

My new Schwinn Riverside. Nothing fancy, totally faux retro, maybe even tacky, but I love it. I added the basket (Wald 520 rear basket), Schwinn bell, and lights. I have a feeling that this entry-level cheapie cruiser is going to be the beginning of an expensive obsession! Stay tuned.

IMG_8295

IMG_8292

Back in saddle…

The last time I rode a bike, as I mentioned, was about 1995, and it was mostly to please my second boyfriend who insisted that we take long rides (er, 13-20 miles at a time) on very busy streets, on trail bikes. I enjoyed the challenge but not the ride, and I certainly did not enjoy playing chicken with cars. Thus my ambivalence about procuring and riding more bikes, at age 40.

But two Sundays ago, that all changed. I had the right man by my side, the right bike in my grip, and lots of quiet suburban streets in proximity. You know what they say about riding a bike: you never forget how. So 18 years later, I hopped on the saddle and pushed out into the cul-de-sac and beyond, making my way through my neighborhood streets.

It was a muggy almost-summer-afternoon, but on a downhill coast, with the breeze blowing through my hair, I looked over at Hubby on his bike and became acutely aware of the massive smile on my face. The cool air was like flying; I was unencumbered and free of life’s irritations, my phone, everything. It was just me, Hubby, and the road. It felt like the innocence of childhood and it was the first time in years that I lost myself in something simple and wholesome, smiling unconsciously.

IMG_8289

Do you ride a bicycle?

 

18 comments

  1. Oh Vahni! YES! The summer spring after we moved to Cary, we bought bikes. I REALLY wanted a cruiser, but my husband and I had visions of riding in the woods and doing trails. And I did that, had a great time, but my unmentionables took a beating!! Riding over roots and flying down hills narrowly missing a tree…..I just can’t. HOWEVER! Riding the tobacco trail, parks, greenways (we have TONS of greenways! They call Cary a park with a city in it!), I’m all into that! So now, I’m thinking about taking out my bike today and riding it to the pool and start skooter pootin’ around here with it……then I could justify to myself spending a couple of hundred on a cruiser. You’ve inspired me girly! And BTW, one of the things I love about my husband is that we walk together SO much! There is just something so natural, relaxing, and unforced about walking. Like we’re doing what we were built to do, ya know? Enjoy your cute bike! Serene

    1. Hi Serene, thanks for your comment! Did you break out the bicycle? Hope so!

      And you know what they say…the couples that play together, stay together. It’s super that you and your hubby walk together. So do my hubby and I. Whenever we’re stressed, especially, we take a walk. It’s like free therapy!

    1. Thanks, lady! I love it so far. Unfortunately, it’s been so hot and rainy this summer that I have not had many opportunities to take her back out. But this fall, watch out!

  2. I’m big on cute and stylish bikes I live on a hill- so just sold my sweet Dahon Ciao- to a great couple who will ride and appreciate it. Got my eye on an e-bike- to help with my hill (it’s steeeep, trust me) and love you on your sweet ride. Way to go, gorgeous!

  3. Oh my, I have a super-bright fuchsia beach cruiser with white hibiscus flowers, and completely loaded, lol. I think I have just about every matching accessory for it there is. So much fun to ride on the beach trail!

  4. Yes! An red and white racer we picked up at Goodwill for cheap. And managed to anger someone else with an eye for it because he couldn’t make up his mind about it. SCORE! This thing has gotten me to work and back and taken me away from it all. I seem to have bad luck with tires, though. I always manage to find that one item laying out there that rips a hole in them. I spend more on tires than I will ever spend on maintaining the bike itself.

  5. You are not the first to rediscover the joy of coasting along on a bicycle. It seems as we grow we forget the fun stuff. Cruiser bikes are excellent at bringing back memories. Congratulations on rediscovering freedom!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *