Of course, I could go on all day about the reasons having a bicycle (and dumping the car) has changed my life. There are lots of “wees” and zipping and bell dinging—freedom and fresh air and bohemian elitism and all that. But, listen. I’m a realist. I figured, after receiving this email from a friend, I had unfairly idealized the essence of cycling. And I don’t even live in a place with many hills.
i feel such a schmuck driving around here but i feel cooler and more urban listening to your tunes while i cruise the concrete utopia…
Ha, ha! She’s awesome. Which brings me to #1.
1. You can’t listen to music while you ride. I mean, you could, in theory, but this would most likely mean death.
[Still no basket. Woe is me.]
2. Dirty old men. They get a category of their own when it comes to motorists as a whole. There’s even one who extends his arm and points at me, like giving me a shout out, although I can’t remember ever returning the gesture. The rest just slow down and crane their necks to peer at my crotch. I imagine the inner dialogue, while I death stare them, is something like “Can I see something? I think I can see something. Can never be too sure, though, I always say. I think I spy a bloomer!” The expressions on the faces of the wives makes it okay, though.
3. Grumpy old ladies. What’s behind that droopy, devil-eyed mug? “How dare you ride a bicycle!” is my guess.
4. The Price Chopper parking lot, baking aromatically under the summer sun.
5. Distractions that always bring brushes with certain death. I’m talking specifically about that huge cart of Price Chopper eggs I was certain was rolling on its own accord. “Should I tell someone about this? I should tell someone about this,” and I crept perilously in front of a Buick with a #2 just as I noticed a #3 pulling the eggs like a kid with a wagon. DEATH.
6. Dressing around your commute. This could also be a positive, but since I’m dying to wear a pencil skirt… see #2.
[So, here’s this old polyester Paris print scarf I got for $8 from Need/Supply in Richmond, VA in, like, 2000. How any item of clothing survived that era of my life is beyond me. Although I haven’t given her a good sniff yet.]
7. Rain. Sad face.
8. No coffee for the road. No drive-thru windows. No shotgun spittoon! I made that last one up.
9. The drive-thru ATM is a considerably more stressful (and hot) experience.
10. The Gomer Pyle Syndrome: The slightest bit of traffic and/or highway-ish sort of road, completely unnoticed when you’re in an auto, I liken to being shouted at repeatedly. I always veer off these nightmarish roads and whimper in relief, red-faced and sad like Pyle after G.S. Hartman said, “Are you quitting on me? Well, are you? Then quit, you slimy f**king walrus-looking piece of s**t! Get the f**k off of my obstacle! Get the f**k down off of my obstacle! NOW! MOVE IT!”
The downs, in a nutshell.
Now go look at Copenhagen Cycle Chic and get all jealous again.