It’s Mine Whether I Need It or Not
Jan. 30, 2011
“Do you want the good news, or the bad news?” Mr. Spoked asked in late December. This is a favorite question of his. The bad news can be anything from mildly annoying to pretty scary.
“The bad news,” I responded in a resigned manner. Best to get it over with.
“The bad news is that your present isn’t scheduled to arrive until after Christmas,” he said. “The good news is that it’s a bike.”
He got a shocked look in response. I’d bought a really nice bike in 2010 (the Sweetpea) and just given away an old one (the Specialized). I wasn’t thinking about a new bike, well, not yet (bicyclists are pretty much always thinking about new bikes).
Still trying to process the news, I stuttered, “Huh? What kind of bike?” He said, “You picked it out. Don’t you remember, when I was showing you those bikes on the laptop before Thanksgiving?”
It happens frequently in our house that Mr. Spoked shows me stuff he thinks is cool–bowling balls, fountain pens, bikes–and like any good wife I respond in the affirmative (“Yes, that’s nice”) while simultaneously planning the grocery list. And like any good husband, he does the same thing to me when I’m blithering on about something he doesn’t find interesting.
Slowly, over the next few days, the memories began to come back. I’d been telling him about my 2011 goal to cycle more errands around town, while expressing concerns about possible theft of the expensive Sweetpea at the grocery store. I thought I’d look into a cheaper cruiser sometime in the spring. What a surprise to realize a casual conversation had been taken seriously.
Christmas eve dawned to some good news–the bike had arrived on time after all. We drove to the local shop where I learned the bike I’d unknowingly selected was the Felt Cafe, a 7 speed cruiser with a dark blue frame and light brown seat and handlebar grips. I might not have chosen it if the decision had been made consciously, but I had to admit it was a nice looking bike. The riding position was quite a bit more upright than the Sweetpea. The shop owner pointed out the accessories–a handlebar bell and cup holder. Yes, a cup holder. I immediately imagined riding home from the Farmers Market with flowers in it.
The bike didn’t seem to fit on our car rack. While Mr. Spoked tried to puzzle out a solution, I pulled my helmet and lobster-claw gloves from under the seat where they’re kept for lunchtime ‘cross excursions. It was a gray and cloudy day, only one degree above freezing and with occasional snowflakes. That didn’t stop me from riding the bike home, gaily dinging the bell at cats and squirrels.
Since then, I’ve been prevented from riding it due to personal and professional commitments. This weekend I finally was able to take it on the first spin of 2011, cycling the Shunga Trail, dodging ridges of ice and splashing through slushy water. And today, remembering the new year’s goal, I loaded panniers and a backpack with plastic and rode to the recycling bin. It was 25°F, with a wind chill of 16, and the other recyclers looked at me like I was crazy.
There’s no way this bike will replace the Sweetpea. Despite being the right size for me, it still doesn’t fit well. I’ve been making adjustments and the problems have improved slightly, although I have the same issues I’ve always had with off-the-rack bikes. But it will take the place of the old Specialized, becoming a workhorse for trips to the grocery store and public library, maybe even a few commutes. It was a nice present, a big surprise. I didn’t really need it, but now it’s mine and I’m going to make the most of it.
Goals update: one trip to the recycling bins.