oiran: cherry blossom (Default)
Things I probably ought to talk about before I get to the bicycle: My parents' visit. Doing an end run around sister-in-law and renewing contact with niece and nephew. My hair disasters and repairs. Books I've read. Books I'm writing. "My" baby, AKA, Rhi's daughter. The Lucky 13th anniversary of my marriage to the Mr. So many pairs of shoes. Very welcome houseguests. Dogs. Ever-present reddish dust/dirt. New and shiny computer.

But, no. Let's just cut straight to the New Bike.

It is, of course, not identical to the Raleigh that was my first and most beloved (to this point) bicycle. However, it does have 3 speeds, coaster brakes, and it is blue, albeit a different (and better) blue. I am impatiently awaiting its delivery - they had a white one and a dark green one at the bike shop and, lovely as the white may be, I just have this stubborn mental equation that goes: me + white = grubby. And the beautiful, super-dark green was just...not what I wanted. At all.


Electra Amsterdam. And yes, it's a GIRL'S bike.

The coaster brakes will take some getting used to, just as the hand brakes on my first 10-speed required an adjustment period, though I was about twelve at that time and my ability to adapt to changing circumstances was probably better then. Clearly, I am overly nervous about this, and I am also worried about keeling over and dying in the heat, as a bicycle is necessarily used outside, which is an environment somewhat akin to hell here, at the moment.

The Raleigh was the present I got for my eighth birthday. I was one of the last kids at my elementary school to learn to ride a bike. This is part of a larger pattern: last to learn to tie her shoes, last to learn to tell time, last to know that I wouldn't be allowed to marry a girl if I wanted to, etc., etc. I made up for the delay in learning to ride by becoming especially adept in my own way, i.e., the bike was my circus horse, and I did tricks. I would coast into the school playground in the morning at high speed, standing on the left pedal with my right foot, often in an arabesque (HA!), rolling through the pre-class crowds into an open slot in the bike rack. No helmets, no locks and, in my case, no clear understanding of riding on the "right" side of the road.

I often saw adults riding bicycles against traffic, and with my bizarre and unproven belief that adults as a group were capable and correct, I assumed this meant that the "right" side of the road was determined at the beginning of the journey, i.e., it would be the side on one's right going to a place, and on one's left returning from a place. My worry was that I had this backwards, i.e., that the "right" should be determined by the return trip, not that I had it entirely wrong.

My parents were young and foolish and treated me as if I were a little adult most of the time, which means that many of my questions were answered with sarcasm or scoffing instead of actual answers. This is how I got to be a junior high student before I understood that the rules of the road that applied to cars also applied to bicycles. I was also very late to the understanding that the Washington state where I grew up was a separate thing entirely from Washington, D.C., though I think I can blame the schools I attended to some extent, since obviously we weren't being shown maps as early or often as we probably ought to have been.

While it is not flat like Manhattan or New Orleans here, the places I'm interested in riding, i.e., to coffee shop or grocery store, are a fairly level pedal, and everything is about a mile away, including the store where I bought the bike. As there was a point in time when I rode a fast 40 miles a day on a hilly trail, it's likely that I can overcome the unfamiliarity of coaster brakes and the punishing heat and get good use out of this very styling conveyance.
oiran: cherry blossom (Default)
Things I probably ought to talk about before I get to the bicycle: My parents' visit. Doing an end run around sister-in-law and renewing contact with niece and nephew. My hair disasters and repairs. Books I've read. Books I'm writing. "My" baby, AKA, Rhi's daughter. The Lucky 13th anniversary of my marriage to the Mr. So many pairs of shoes. Very welcome houseguests. Dogs. Ever-present reddish dust/dirt. New and shiny computer.

But, no. Let's just cut straight to the New Bike.

It is, of course, not identical to the Raleigh that was my first and most beloved (to this point) bicycle. However, it does have 3 speeds, coaster brakes, and it is blue, albeit a different (and better) blue. I am impatiently awaiting its delivery - they had a white one and a dark green one at the bike shop and, lovely as the white may be, I just have this stubborn mental equation that goes: me + white = grubby. And the beautiful, super-dark green was just...not what I wanted. At all.


Electra Amsterdam. And yes, it's a GIRL'S bike.

The coaster brakes will take some getting used to, just as the hand brakes on my first 10-speed required an adjustment period, though I was about twelve at that time and my ability to adapt to changing circumstances was probably better then. Clearly, I am overly nervous about this, and I am also worried about keeling over and dying in the heat, as a bicycle is necessarily used outside, which is an environment somewhat akin to hell here, at the moment.

The Raleigh was the present I got for my eighth birthday. I was one of the last kids at my elementary school to learn to ride a bike. This is part of a larger pattern: last to learn to tie her shoes, last to learn to tell time, last to know that I wouldn't be allowed to marry a girl if I wanted to, etc., etc. I made up for the delay in learning to ride by becoming especially adept in my own way, i.e., the bike was my circus horse, and I did tricks. I would coast into the school playground in the morning at high speed, standing on the left pedal with my right foot, often in an arabesque (HA!), rolling through the pre-class crowds into an open slot in the bike rack. No helmets, no locks and, in my case, no clear understanding of riding on the "right" side of the road.

I often saw adults riding bicycles against traffic, and with my bizarre and unproven belief that adults as a group were capable and correct, I assumed this meant that the "right" side of the road was determined at the beginning of the journey, i.e., it would be the side on one's right going to a place, and on one's left returning from a place. My worry was that I had this backwards, i.e., that the "right" should be determined by the return trip, not that I had it entirely wrong.

My parents were young and foolish and treated me as if I were a little adult most of the time, which means that many of my questions were answered with sarcasm or scoffing instead of actual answers. This is how I got to be a junior high student before I understood that the rules of the road that applied to cars also applied to bicycles. I was also very late to the understanding that the Washington state where I grew up was a separate thing entirely from Washington, D.C., though I think I can blame the schools I attended to some extent, since obviously we weren't being shown maps as early or often as we probably ought to have been.

While it is not flat like Manhattan or New Orleans here, the places I'm interested in riding, i.e., to coffee shop or grocery store, are a fairly level pedal, and everything is about a mile away, including the store where I bought the bike. As there was a point in time when I rode a fast 40 miles a day on a hilly trail, it's likely that I can overcome the unfamiliarity of coaster brakes and the punishing heat and get good use out of this very styling conveyance.

December 2011

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