Okay, it’s not such a great photo of my new bike. But it’s a fabulous pic of Arya praying to Ceiling Cat to please let this be the last time she’s forced to look cute in Beth’s new bike basket.
Here’s me on my new Giant Suede DX W 21-speed women’s bike with upright handlebars and nice wide padded seat. That’s what I’m talkin’ about. A bike I will actually ride.
Yes, I’m all about buying used. When my computer monitor died, I replaced it with a used one. When my hair dryer died, I learned how to fix it. When we’ve needed cat supplies or a kitchen door, we checked out Craigslist and Freecycle and Urban Ore. And I can’t even remember the last time I bought clothes that someone else hadn’t previously worn. But buying a bike was different.
Michael, a former bike messenger and owner of 5 or 6 bikes, has from time to time found used bikes for me and fixed them up. And they would collect dust. Oh, I did try to ride them at first. But I always felt like I was going to fall off. I was leaning too far forward. Or there was a bar in my way. Or I couldn’t get the seat adjusted right. Or riding for half an hour left my butt sore for three days. For whatever reason, these bikes felt like they were made for someone else’s body.
What’s the use of having an environmentally correct used bike that never gets ridden? I decided that if I ever found the perfect bike for me, I’d buy it, whether it was new or used.
Well, the first time I test-rode the Suede, which was recommended by Michael’s sister (Thanks!), I knew I’d found it. I experienced not a second of fear or awkwardness on this bike. In fact, I felt like I was 10-years old again riding my bike at my grandparent’s house during summer vacation. (Except that back then, no one wore a helmet or worried much about a locks.) I’m not a racer or a mountain biker. I just want to get around town and ride places for which I might otherwise rent a Zip Car or take a cab.
After picking up the bike on Sunday, Michael and I rode to downtown Berkeley to see a movie. We got there in 15 minutes! And honestly, I didn’t want to stop riding. I could have ridden all day, just like I used to do as a kid, for the sheer joy of feeling the wind on my face. I’m thrilled about this bike, and a little sad that I feel the need to bend over backwards justifying my decision to buy it new. On Friday, Crunchy Chicken wondered if going “no ‘poo” wasn’t hairshirt environmentalism. Not to me. But this agonizing over the nuances of even the decisions that feel right, that’s what I’d call hairshirt environmentalism, and I think I’m going to stop engaging in it right now and go ride my bike.
Oh, and P.S. That metal basket, which I bought separately, easily detaches and has a handle so I can take it to the farmer’s market or into the grocery store with me. Very cool, huh?