Saturday, November 7, 2009
The Grievances in Bicycle Ownership
I had a moment in my life when I considered myself vaguely hipster. Yes, it was one of those moments when I found myself living in a cool vintage apartment with over painted white walls and hardwood floor. Sigh, those days are gone. But, during this time, in order to validate my hipness, I had a bike to ride about town on. A Peugeot. The name meant nothing to me, as I am an American and that brand is not well-known here. Nonetheless, I talked it up and bragged.
I rode about town on this old contraption and was quite content with it for some time. But, all good things must come to an end. And this thing wanted to bring itself to an end. The thing just started falling apart. And, eventually the gears broke and it was stuck in the most difficult gear. The chain was rusty and it became very uncomfortable to ride. The only way one could ride comfortably on it was at a frightening speed of 80 miles per hour, otherwise it was too much a trial to the quadriceps.
I had someone comment on how they had seen me riding through Tienanmen Square (not the real name of the square I was in) and the I was just zooming by. "I think it was you," they said. It was me, we talked about the day and time they saw me and I was, in fact there. They probably saw a flash or orange and recognized my orange coat. Well, I really had no choice but to ride fast and shout to the masses "Save yourselves!" My bike only rode fast and it was not preferable, even for me.
Anyways, one day, I went on an evening bike ride with Friend around the lake. We decided to stop and put more air in the tires. So, I let the air out of the tires and lo and behold, the pump Friend had didn't work with this thing called a "bike." So there I was with a crappy bike, that was as complicated as a Soviet Union microwave oven--circa 1967. So, what did I do? In another moment of frustration with this bike, I tied the bike to a post and left it there. I wanted to hurl it into the river as my way of saying "thanks for nothing!" As, it was a source for frustration and argument. But I didn't, I somehow had enough self-control. As I walked away from that post, I felt a great burden lifted from me. I jumped with joy and mused at my new found freedom. I was so glad to be rid of that bike! I've often wondered if the bike is still locked to that post.
Okay, enough of resurrecting old stories from the past. We're in the present now. But, I have a bike again. Yes, I am the proud owner of an old sturdily built bike.
I'm rather excited about embarking on a new life with this bike, it's a ruthless yet feminine bicycle. It has a cute basket where I can put a salad, some nickels or a teddy bear. It has a mirror, so, if you're behind me, well, I'm watching you but you can't tell because I don't have to turn my head...(I plan on using this bike in my detective career).
And it's blue. Blue is a color of power and serenity--a both powerful and serene bicycle. (I'm not mentioning the mod sheepskin cover on the seat, the retro rain guards or the kitschy kickstand).
The only drawback to the bike is that fact that it does not have a cup holder or seat warmers. But, I suppose I'll manage, I've been through more unsettling experiences with other bikes.
But, with ownership comes responsibility. Am I responsible enough for a bike? My previous bike ownership history points directly at "No!" When I'm frustrated will I just lock the bike to post and forget about it forever? I hope not. But we don't really know what we will do in certain situations until we are actually in the situation, now do we?
(Please enjoy the photo taken from my brother's album of his trip to Japan in 2007. This is an authentic Japaense bike and a proper Japanese dog).