Friday, March 27, 2009

Three is a Magic Number

Today marks the end of our third week commuting by bike. It's amazing how quickly and easily we have fallen into the bike pattern-- leaving home a bit earlier each morning than when we were driving the car and always first checking the weather reports to see if we'll need the rain tent or ear coverings under our helmets. Last night, it stormed and we had forgotten to put the bakfiets under its tarp. I panicked about midnight but didn't rush out to cover it up. I know it is incredibly sturdy and could handle the rainstorm (I've ridden it in the rain before), but I still felt a bit guilty leaving it out unprotected. I think I finally understand those fellows who love their sport cars so much they spend hours waxing them and take endless pictures of themselves standing in front of them, arms crossed over puffed-up chests, proud smirks crossing their faces.

It was a gray morning when we headed out. I was cheered, however, by the bright red of our rain tent and the warmer temperature, wearing a fleece instead of a parka. Riding along, I greeted the various school crossing guards we meet along our way (four), wishing them each a good weekend, and receiving good wishes in return. At one point, I spotted a fellow walking along the sidewalk with a bright pink toddler push bike swung over his shoulder-- the pinkness leaping out against the dank and drear. He spotted me and we did a quick, "Hey, cool bike" interchange that made me smile. The next block, one filled with cars parked one after the other, I enjoyed seeing our funny bakfiets and rider shadow dance up against the car sides as the sun hit us just right.

Each time I ride our bakfiets, especially when I think of how I would have likely driven in the past, I feel-- well, virtuous. It's the same feeling I get when I use the library instead of buying new books or when I bring along our reusable water bottles and shopping bags. It just feels good.


MamaVee said...

yay. good for you. I got very nervous about the stormy clouds and didn't bike. I should have though, I find biking makes cold and unperfect weather- really nice and cheerful.

next time. ( what I need is a rain coat and fast!!!)

Dottie said...

Because you *are* virtuous. :)

Terra said...

When you are prepared, the weather is nothing (unless there is lightening and high wind etc.) I really admire folks who ride rain or shine to work in here in DC. When I do commute by bike, I realized how UNstressed I am when I get there and when I get home!

MamaVee said...

Sara- yes, it's a townie with xtracycle free rad kit applied.

I like my townie a lot. But I haven't had many bikes. prior to the townie I had a fairly good but cheap mountain bike which I rode for a month over 10 years ago. ( back when I didn't know how to drive and lived and worked on cape cod for a month during grad school) That bike is in serious need of a tune up.

And before that was a tween/teen sized 10 speed that I had from age 10-21. rode that around my suburban town and on cape cod while working for a summer. gave it away when I couldn't fit it in my dad's car coming home junior year.

so- The townie feels like my first real bike. I like it, it's smooth, upright comfortable and rugged enough to withstand hills. It is tippy and with a co-pilot seat was prone to falling over when locked or standing around. ( I was always nervous when the kids climbed on it to ring the bell) My basket made it more tippy. I was willing to deal with it b/c I didn't know better. But now with the free rad it is SO much more stable I realize what a pain the tippiness was.

RE: gears- funny you mention complaints. Tell me what you've heard. I like the 21 gears and in my hilly town I use them all. However I often feel like the gears jump a little and sometimes as I down shift I don't feel like the gears are getting easier.

So I love the townie. It was a ok price. But I might rec you look into the Gary Fisher simple city bike. I hear good things - I think they are good for tall ppl too- it has a double kickstand for good stablitly and they have chain guard and fenders which I currently think are a requirement for a good city bike...

( and I'll be in town April 21-23ish!!)

hope that helps

Andrea said...

Just think of what a pleasant, sunshiney world it would be if we all traveled by bakfiets, instead of the grumpy, grumbly, road-ragey car world we do live in (hmmm, I can see it now: "Peak oil good for your psyche!"

Trisha said...

Hey, buying new books is totally virtuous (says the girl in publishing). But the rest, I am with you on. Got to have some reward for all those hills, right?

Travis A. Wittwer said...

Three is the magic number because of the 3 boys. I know. I have three boys and a bakfiets as well. Enjoyed roaming through your blog. Have favorited it for future reading. Thank you for adding to the world of reading.